Sign in with Microsoft
Sign in or create an account.
Select a different account.
You have multiple accounts
Choose the account you want to sign in with.

In the Format AutoShape dialog box, you can change the color, pattern, outline, size, and other options.

What do you want to do?

Change the shape’s fill and outline (Colors and Lines)

To fill your shape with a solid color, click the color that you want. To add a multiple-colored background, click Fill Effects.

Choose a fill

Color    Click the color that you want, click No fill to make the shape the same color as the page background, or click More colors to create a custom color.

Fill Effects    Choose between a gradient that blends from one shade to another, a texture, a pattern, or a picture.

  • Gradient Click the Gradient tab to add a continuum of shades or colors.

    • Under Colors, click One color, Two colors, or Preset, and then click the colors or preset color combinations that you want from the list that appears.

    • Under Transparency, move the sliders to set transparency levels for each end of the gradient.

    • Under Shading styles, click the direction you want your gradient to flow.

    • Under Variants, click the version of the shading style that you want. You can see what it looks like in the Sample box

    • Select the Rotate with shape check box to retain the orientation of the gradient to the shape if you rotate the shape.

  • Texture    Click the texture that you want, or click Other Texture to choose one of your own pictures.

  • Pattern    Click the pattern that you want to use. In the Foreground list, click the color that you want to use for the pattern. In the Background list, click the background color you want. You can see a preview of the colors in the Sample box.

  • Picture    Click Select Picture, browse to the picture you want to use, and then click Insert.

  • To ensure that the picture maintain its proportions when you resize the shape, select the Lock picture aspect ratio check box.

    • To retain the orientation of the picture to the shape if you rotate the shape, select the Rotate with shape check box.

Transparency    If you want to be able to see through your shape, you can use the slider or enter a percentage to set the transparency level.

Change the outline color and style

Line color    Under Line, click the Color list, and then click the color you want.

Dashed lines    To use a dashed line for your shape outline, click the Dashed list and then click the line type you want.

Line style    Click the Style list and then click the line style and line weight that you want.

Weight    To adjust the line width of the style that you chose, enter a new value in the Weight box.

Special options for arrow shapes

If your AutoShape is an arrow, you can set the beginning style for the arrow and the ending style. Depending on the styles that you select, you can also change the size for the beginning and the end of the arrow.

Top of Page

Change the size

Click the Size tab to set sizing options. You can set a specific (absolute) measurement, or you can set the measurement as a percentage of the document page or margin.

On the Size tab, you can also set the shape’s rotation and scale.

Height and Width    In the Height and Width areas, you can do the following:

  • Click Absolute and enter a size.

  • Click Relative and enter a percentage. Then, in the relative to list, click Page or click the margin that the AutoShape size is relative to.

Rotate    In the Rotation box, enter the number of degrees to rotate the AutoShape in a clockwise direction. For example, entering 90 degrees rotates the shape a quarter turn clockwise.

Scale    Change the height or width by a percentage. To change both at the same time, select the Lock aspect ratio check box. Select the Relative to original picture size check box to make changes based on the original dimensions. If the Relative to original size check box is not available, click Reset.

Note:  When you click Reset, the shape takes on its original size, which might not be the same size that it was when you inserted it in your document.

Top of Page

Change the layout

Wrapping style    Click an option to specify how text wraps around the AutoShape.

  • In line with text    The Inline with text option places the AutoShape where you click in the document, as though the shape is the same as text. The line height will adjust to make room for the shape. The AutoShape will keep its position relative to the text around it.

  • Square    The Square option creates a rectangular shape that the text wraps around.

  • Tight    The Tight option wraps the text in close to the AutoShape’s edges.

    Note:  If your AutoShape is a square or a rectangle, this will look like the Square option.

  • Behind text    The Behind text option allows the text to flow over the AutoShape.

  • In front of text    The In front of text option allows the AutoShape to float on top of the text.

Horizontal alignment    Click an option to position the AutoShape on the page. The AutoShape will retain this position relative to the page even if you add more text around it.

Advanced    Click Advanced to access more precise options for shape-positioning and text-wrapping. For example, you can select the Move object with text check box to keep the image with the text to which it’s anchored even if you add more text above it.

Top of Page

Change the picture options

If you fill an AutoShape with a picture, you adjust that picture by making changes on the Picture tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box.

Image control    In the Color list, click Automatic, Grayscale (gradations between black and white), Black & White (no gradations), or Washout. You can use the sliders to adjust the picture’s brightness and contrast.

Compress    Click Compress to change the image resolution to Print or Web/Screen. You can also check the Delete cropped areas of pictures to further reduce the size that the picture adds to the file.

Reset    Click Reset to return the picture to its original colors.

Top of Page

Change the text box options

To add text to the shape, right-click the shape, and then click Add Text. After you add text, you can change the way the text appears inside the shape by using the options on the Text Box tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box.

Internal margin    Set the distance between the text and the left, right, top, and bottom edges of the text box.

Note:  Depending on the AutoShape, the edges of the text box might not correspond to the edge of the AutoShape.

Vertical alignment    Click an option to set the text position to the top, center, or bottom of the text box.

Word wrap text in AutoShape    Select the Word wrap text in AutoShape check box to keep the AutoShape the same size. When you clear this check box, the text box expands, and the AutoShape resizes to accommodate the wider text box.

Resize AutoShape to fit text    Select the Resize AutoShape to fit text check box to change height of AutoShape. The AutoShape becomes taller or shorter, depending on how much text is in the text box.

Format Callout    If the AutoShape is a line callout, you can click Format Callout to change the length of the line and other options.

Convert to Frame    If you need to include comments, footnotes or endnotes, or certain fields, you can convert the AutoShape to a frame. The shape might change to a rectangle when you convert it.

Top of Page

Add Alt text

If your shape contains text, Word automatically places that text in the Alternative text box. If your shape doesn’t contain text, or if you want to change the alternative text, click the Alt Text tab.

In the Alternative text box, type the text that you want to be available to screen readers or when picture display is turned off.

Top of Page

Need more help?

Want more options?

Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.

Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?

Thank you for your feedback!