Use a gradient fill in PowerPoint to add interesting effects to circle shapes

Susan Harkins shows you how to add a gradient fill pattern to add interesting layers to a circle shape within a PowerPoint slide.

Adding a gradient fill to a circle can add interesting elements to the shape. For example, the following slide is a simple circle with gradient fill using four position stops and three colors. The result renders a three-dimensional layered effect. I recommend that you play around with this feature to see what it has to offer. The effects can be quite remarkable.

To create this particular circle, do the following:

  1. Insert a circle onto a blank slide. Click the Insert tab. Then, click the Shapes dropdown in the Illustrations group. Circle is in the first section. Hold down the [Shift] key while inserting the shape to create a perfect circle. In PowerPoint 2003, you'll find AutoShapes on the Draw menu.
  2. Right-click the shape and choose Format Shape.
  3. Select Fill in the left pane.
  4. Click Gradient Fill
  5. Choose Path from the Type dropdown.
  6. The position stops and their settings will determine the effect. To recreate the example, use the settings (stops are left to right) in the table just below.





Medium Blue 0% 40% 0%
Medium Brown 58% -50% 0%
Medium-Light Brown 84% -25% 0%
Medium Brown 98% -50% 0%

I also set the slide's background to medium blue. I've really just given you someplace to start though. Experiment by sliding the stops. That way you'll learn how the stop positions impact each layer. Then, change the transparency and brightness settings to make the switch between layers more subtle or abrupt. Don't forget that you can change each layer's color and add more stops.

Changing the transparency setting will allow the background color to bleed thru. Changing the brightness will add the lighter to darker ring effect. The key is to experiment and learn.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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