Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Adjusting Shadow Settings.

Adjusting Shadow Settings

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 23, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Word allows you to insert all sorts of simple graphic elements in your documents. This is typically done through the use of the Drawing toolbar. You normally display the toolbar, then choose a shape you want to create and place it within the document.

Word allows you to add shadows to your graphic shapes in order to give them a "three dimensional" look and feel. You add the shadows by selecting the graphic object, clicking on the Shadow tool on the Shape Effects drop-down list (in the Shape Styles group), and then picking the type of shadow you want applied.

That is all fine and good, but what if you want to move the shadow a bit to the left or change the color or density of the shadow? If you want to fine-tune your shadow, follow these steps once the shadow is in place:

  1. Right-click on the shadowed object to display a drop-down list.
  2. Choose Format Shape (near the bottom of the drop-down list). Word displays the Format Shape pane
  3. Click the Effects tool (the icon that looks like a pentagon). Word displays numerous options listed under the Shadow heading.
  4. Adjust the appearance of the shadow by changing any of the settings for color, size, angle, etc.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8710) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adjusting Shadow Settings.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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