Tame your computer - keep in shape

In her regular series for Cambridge Network members - now in its 15th year - software training expert Karen Roem offers handy tips to help you 'Tame your computer'. This week she describes how to make your transparent circles and shapes the default in all new files (Microsoft PowerPoint).

Roem tip tine logo

Do you ever use transparent shapes - such as circles or a rectangle-  in a presentation to draw attention to a particular part of the slide? Perhaps you even animate it to make it more noticeable?

If so, you might know that you can “save” the settings so that you don’t have to format the shape every single time.  But I put double quotes around the word save as the Set as Default Shape option only works during the time you’re logged on.

I’m pretty sure that some time ago it kept it for every presentation, but nowadays there are a few extra steps you have to do – once.

Here’s how:

[[{"fid":"296482","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"shape screen shot","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"shape screen shot"},"link_text":false,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","alignment":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"shape screen shot","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"shape screen shot"}},"attributes":{"alt":"shape screen shot","title":"shape screen shot","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]


  1. Apply a transparent fill colour and preferred shape outline, as normal. (Or open a presentation that contains one of your formatted shapes.)

  2. Right-click the shape and select Set As Default Shape.

  3. Press F12 (or File, Save As if you prefer).

  4. Type Default theme.

  5. Press TAB.

  6. Type the letter O or select the ninth option labelled Office Theme from the Save as type drop-down list.

  7. Press ENTER or click Save.

Next time you add a shape (any shape!) it’ll be using the formatting you applied in step 1. Happiness is.

By the way, following a recent PowerPoint Hints and Tips webinar one of my delegates asked me to highlight the fact that approximately one in 10 men are red/green colour-blind. (Apparently it’s only around one in 200 women.) He told me that, for example, red against a green background can cause great issues for people with colour vision difficulties. So please keep this in mind! That said, he told me that a red circle around a menu item is going to be clearly visible; people might not see it as red, but they will see the shape.

Related tips

Make text look like it was marked with a highlighter pen (Word and Outlook)

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