Excel: Switch to the Format Tab to Format Individual Shapes

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Problem: Birds Eye Scene style notwithstanding, (see Fig 1344 above), I've found that most SmartArt formatted using the Design ribbon looks good. Fonts remain consistent throughout. Shapes have similar effects. While giving Microsoft control over font size will usually create a suitable graphic, sometimes I need to tweak the font used within one shape.

Strategy: All the tools on the Format tab of the ribbon will allow you to change elements of a SmartArt graphic.

To change elements of a SmartArt graphic, select a single shape in your graphic. The Shapes group will allow you to change the shape or size of the individual shape.

  1. Tweak size or shape of one element of a SmartArt graphic.

    With a single shape selected, you can use any of the tools in the Shape Styles group to change the shape formatting. You can use any of the tools in the WordArt Styles gallery to add effects to the text. You can use any of the formatting tools in the Home tab of the ribbon to change font or size.

    Gotcha: When you change shapes on the Format tab, Microsoft will often quit updating font sizes in response to text changes. You should get your graphic as close to finished using the Design tab before moving to the Format tab.

    Additional Details: If you find yourself making many changes on the Format tab, you will lose the continuity of the graphic. The graphic below shows some of the many changes possible with the Format tab.

  2. If you are not careful with the Format tab, chaos results.

    In this figure, each shape was changed using the Change Shape menu. The second shape was made larger, and the font size was increased on the Home tab. The Text Effects glow setting was used to apply a glow to text in the third shape. The green rotation handle was used to rotate the third shape. WordArt Styles, Text Effects, Transform was used on the text in the fourth shape, and Shape Styles, Shape Effects, Reflection was used to add a reflection. In the first shape, a preset from the Shape Effects dropdown was used.

    Although it is not recommended, you can use the Format tab to tweak many aspects of an individual shape.

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