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Word 2010 and Word 2013 have a greater range of text effects than earlier versions of Word. There’s an array of color, outline, shadow, reflection and glow options. Enough to satisfy most people and also enough for most people to make horrible design choices.
Text effects start with a gallery of pre-set choice. In Word 2010 the gallery looks like this:
For Word 2013, the gallery was changed to less garish and probably more useful options.
In addition, the OpenType features (Number Styles, Ligatures and Stylistic Sets) were added to the Word 2013 Text Effects menu. The same OpenType options are available in Word 2010 but didn’t get a place on the menu (look under Font | Advanced instead). Office-Watch.com has a separate feature on OpenType Ligatures but we’ll note here that under the Stylistic Sets menu item there’s a preview of the available sets.
Fast Text Effects
There are so many text effect options that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Those of us with little design sense (like your humble correspondent) can make something that looks really garish and horrible.
The trick is to keep the effects simple and not use too many effects at once.
That’s where the gallery options are useful. Not only do they give you some presets to work from but they’ve been created by experts.
You can use the presets unchanged but they are better used as a starting point for your own variations.
Text Effects has multiple gallery presets. There’s the main one in the ribbon pull-down list. Hover over one of the options to see a tooltip with details of the settings:
Some of the effect options have their own preset galleries. Glow, Shadow and Reflection.
Under Outline, there are presets for Weight and Dashes.
To get a good and quick effect, type in the text you want formatted and make it the approximate size you want it to be, select the text then go to the Text Effects gallery. Choose the effect that’s closest to what you want. In this example, the shadow/mirror effect looks good, leaving the rest of the text quite plain.
Next try adding an outline. The thicker outlines look quite bad but the thinnest outline adds a bit of definition to the letters.
Finally change the color from the Font Color pull-down list.
Keep it simple
You can be very creative and experiment with host of permutations and combinations using all the text effects. In general you’re better off using only a few subtle effects.
For a single line of text you can choose different effects for each word in the sentence or even choose different effects for each letter in the word.
Though why you’d want to create such horribly messed up text is another matter beyond the control of MS Office
All the options
The menu/gallery is just the tip of the proverbial. For all the text effect options go to Home | Font, click the arrow on bottom right then click the Text Effects button.
In the “Font” window that pops open click on “Text Effects” link located at the bottom of the window.
In Word 2010 you can see all the text effect options like this:
In Word 2013 there’s a redesign of the dialog into two parts. The text fill and outline:
With the rest of the options on a second pane.
The Word 2013 dialogs have a lot of options that often scroll down below the usual dialog box size. If you’re looking for the more obscure tweaks, remember to scroll down the dialog box.
For a detailed look at all the Text Effect options go to More Text Effects in Word 2010 which also applies to Word 2013.
There are some extra text formatting choices in earlier versions of Word see Text Effects in Word 2003 and Word 2007.
Happily, Text Effects can be saved and applied as a style.
Format some text the way you like then choose ‘Create New Style from Formatting’ at the bottom of the Style pane. Or adjust the Text Effects from the Format | Text Effects menu in the Style dialog.
Text Effect settings can be complex, so having them ‘wrapped up’ in a style is very useful for management as consistency.
Some Live Preview
What would be extremely useful with text effects is some type of preview so you can see how any changes look as you make them. You’d expect to have a preview since Microsoft has made so much noise about Live Preview in Office. Despite all that, Microsoft has have NOT implemented it for consistently for Text Effects.
In Word 2013, there is NO live preview if you open the Text Effects dialog from the button on the Font properties dialog. The nearest to a preview is when you click out of Text Effects. On the Font dialog there’s a small and mostly inadequate preview on at the bottom.
But, if you access the same settings as a pane on the right of the document, then there is Live Preview. Go figure. For example, go to Shadow Options from the Text Effects menu
Then the shadow options appear as a pane rather than dialog box. With the pane option, you get Live Preview.
The presets on the menu also use Live Preview.
You’d think these same text effects would be useful in PowerPoint but they are noticeably missing.
Text in Word with text effect formatting can be pasted to Powerpoint but the effects aren’t copied across.
The only way to get Word text effects into PowerPoint is to make the text in Word, take a screen-shot of the formatted text and paste an image of the formatted text into PowerPoint. A nasty workaround.
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