Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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 June 19, 2017)

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:

  • 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, which is 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 and 2010. 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. ...

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Comments

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What is three more than 5?

2015-02-14 10:40:20

Gregory

Turns out that one needs to double click the shape to have a pattern fill option. Right-clicking does not bring it up. Very clever, Microsoft, could not have done it any worse!


2015-02-14 10:21:58

Gregory

I am using Word 2010, and there is no option for pattern fill! Is it discontinued or hidden somewhere?
Thanks


2013-01-09 02:06:26

Daniel Louw

Hallo, I want to draw something using for example a mixture of lines and curves and then I want to (group and) fill the object with a colour. If I do that, it does not allow me to fill the object, even if I have used "Snap objects to other objects".
It seems the only way to do it is to use a curve, close the curve and edit the points and specify which segments should be straight. Is that the only way?


2012-02-25 08:53:48

Dick Margulis

Be careful of gradients. Word handles them very badly, and the result can be serious file bloat as well as locking up either when sending the file to a printer or saving it as a PDF. This problem varies with conditions. A single small gradient is not going to be a problem. Adding one to every other page of a long document is likely to.

If you really want to use gradients, either move the document to a proper page layout program (such as InDesign) or create the gradients as background images, using an image-editing program (such as Photoshop) and then inserting them as images in the Word document.


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