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Gradients enliven an object by gently morphing from one color to another. You can apply gradients to shapes, text boxes, and even the text itself. When using the gradient as a fill you can use PowerPoint's presets or adjust the colors to your liking. Let's go down to the Slide 3 and we are going to apply gradients to the people's positions. I'll click on Executive Director, hold down the Shift key, and click on the other positions. Now notice I do want to have a four-headed arrow when I click. I'll click on Executive Director, hold down my Shift key, and click on the other positions as well.
Now let's go up to the SmartArt Tools. Note that if we weren't in a SmartArt, if we were on a regular shape or box, this would say Drawing Tools instead. Then I will click on the Format tab and then we will come over here to Shape Fill. If I hold my cursor over Gradients, I can see a number of different gradients here. Sometimes you may see light or dark variations. We are going to come down here to More Gradients where we can control the gradients ourselves. I am going to move the dialog box over to the left so we can see what we are doing.
We are already in Fill and now I will come over here and I will click the radio button in front of Gradient fill. Our first option are Microsoft's Presets. You can use these as is or further modify them using the steps we are about to take. I am going to click off. I don't want to use a preset right now. Now Type and Direction work together. Let's take a look at the four types. This one is Linear, here is Radial, Rectangular, and Path. Notice that it affects the shape of the gradient and I'll bring this to Radial.
Next is the Direction of the gradient and I can click on each of the four From the Bottom Left-hand Corner, From the Center, From the Top Right-hand corner, or the Top Left-hand Corner, and I'll leave it on that last option. Next, let's take a look at the Gradient stops. This affects the colors across the gradient. Right now it came up as a blue, but that doesn't really match our presentation. So I'll click on my first stop, and come down here to Color, and I'll choose the darkest of my Aquas.
I'll take the middle stop and click on the middle of the Aquas. Then I will click on the last gradient, click on color again, and choose the lightest of the Aquas. You can slide these gradient stops to affect the transition of the color. You can also Position them manually by clicking the Up and Down Arrows or by typing the number that you want. In addition, you also have Brightness and Transparency sliders. If I slide to the left, it will go to black and if I slide Brightness to the right, that color will go towards white.
I will find a happy medium. Transparency will actually allow you to see any shapes behind. I'll bring that back down. You can also add additional color stops simply by clicking inside the Gradient Bar and then you can change those as you like as well. To really see this one in action, I'll color it green. If you have a Gradient stop that you don't like, you can delete it using the red X on the far right, Remove gradient stop. So now we have a really attractive gradient.
Last, there is a checkmark here for Rotate with shape. While it's on, if I rotate my shapes, the gradient will travel with the shape itself. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z to undo that. If I uncheck the box, when I rotate the shape the gradient will actually stay where it is on the page and just my shape will rotate inside that gradient. See the difference? I will go ahead and I will leave it back on and then I will click Close.
Taking control of your gradients allows you to specify the exact shades of color and the rate of transitions across the shape.
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