Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Understanding Fill Effects.

Understanding Fill Effects

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 7, 2018)

4

Word is not a specialized graphics program, but you can apply a few fancy effects to your drawing objects when you fill them with a color. To see the available effects, follow these steps:

  1. Select the drawing object you want to modify.
  2. Make sure the Format tab is selected on the ribbon. (This tab is only visible if you select the drawing object in step 1.)
  3. Click the down-arrow at the right side of the Shape Fill tool in the Shape Styles group. You'll see a drop-down list of choices that includes the fill options available; select one.

These are the four fill options you have at your disposal in Word 2007 and three in Word 2010 or a later version:

  • Picture. This option allows you to pick a picture that is used to fill your drawing object. Depending on the picture you use, this can create some very interesting special effects.
  • Gradient. This option is used to modify the density of the color used in various parts of the drawing object. You should experiment with these to get the desired effect.
  • Texture. This option displays many different surface textures you can use to fill your drawing object. There are some great marble, fabric, and wood textures provided with Word.
  • Pattern. This option, available only in Word 2007, presents many different patterns you can use in conjunction with whatever fill color you have used. Many of the patterns are reminiscent of the patterns you can use in designing your Windows desktop.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11390) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Fill Effects.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Aligning a Paragraph in a Macro

If you are applying formatting from within a macro, you may want to change the alignment of various paragraphs. Here's ...

Discover More

Putting a Different Date in a Header

Today's date is easy to add to a header, but what if you want to add a date that is adjusted in some manner? Adding ...

Discover More

Dealing with Circular References

Circular references occur when a formula includes a reference to the cell in which the formula appears. Here's how you ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Flipping a Drawing Object

Place a drawing object in your document, and it doesn't have to stay that way. You can flip a drawing object in either of ...

Discover More

Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front

Drawing objects can be placed in a document in such a way that they overlap with each other. If you want to arrange those ...

Discover More

Changing a Shape

Got a drawing shape you previously added to a document, but you now want to change to a different shape? You can change ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven more than 3?

2018-04-21 06:00:10

AlanP

The Pattern option is not only available in Word 2007.
In Word 2016, I found that if you right click then select Format Shape (or click on the arrow in the bottom right of the Shape Styles group) to open the Format Shape dialog box, the Pattern option is there under the Fill group of options!
Also, using this method, you can change both foreground and background colours of the Pattern fill!


2018-04-08 16:48:22

Allan Poe

You are right Allen, I was trying to fill an image not a shape.
Sorry.
I look forward to your daily nuggets.
Thanks.


2018-04-07 14:49:10

Allen

Allan,

Looks like you are trying to do a fill on a picture, not on a shape. This tip is about filling shapes created with the Shapes tool on the Insert tab of the ribbon.

Once created, you can select the shape, as described in step 1 of this tip. Then, you'll see the Format tab of the ribbon appear, but right above it you'll see the words "Drawing Tools." In your screen snippet the words above are "Picture Tools," which is why I said that it appears you are trying to fill a picture, not a shape.

-Allen


2018-04-07 14:42:35

Allan Poe

There is no Shape Fill tool or Shape Styles group in my Word 2007.
See the attached image of what is in my Word 2007.
None of these tools have "...the fill options you have at your disposal in Word 2007 ".
(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. My Word 2007 Format Tools.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.