Text shadows vs shape shadows

PowerPoint has a two different types of shadows: text shadows and shape shadows.

Text shadows are added by clicking the shadow icon on the Formatting toolbar (PPT 2003) or the Home tab (PPT 2007).



You can also add text shadows in PPT 2007 on the Drawing Tools Format tab, under the Text Effects | Shadow options. This is especially useful if you don’t want the typical drop shadow that’s offset to the bottom right.

Text Shadow: Note that I’ve used the shadow settings in the Text Effects options, not in the Shape Effects options.

Shape shadows are added via the Shadow Styles button on the Drawing toolbar (PPT 2003) or on the Drawing Tools Format tab, under the Shape Effects | Shadow options (PPT 2007).



Shape Shadow: Note that here I’ve used the shadow settings in the Shape Effects options, not in the Text Effects options.

Now, this is all well and good, but if you apply a shape shadow to an unfilled textbox, the text receives the shadow. So you may not realize you’ve applied a shape shadow, and not a text shadow.

This is not usually a problem…until you animate the slide. And it still isn’t really a problem in PowerPoint 2003, as the shadow animates with the text, no matter which shadow it is.

However, in PowerPoint 2007, shape shadows don’t animate when you animate text. So if you see your text shadows appearing on a slide automatically before the text animates, this is the problem. You need to apply a text shadow and remove the shape shadow.

Here’s a sample file so you can see the problem. Open it in 2007, and you’ll see that the shadow on Slide 3 does not animate. Change it to a text shadow, and it will.