What goes best with a PowerPoint presentation? Perfectly designed slides.

Images, shapes, and diagrams are an essential part of PowerPoint slides. But imagine formatting the perfect shape, with the right fill, outline, and font, and then having to do the same for 20 more shapes in your presentation. Sounds terrible, right?

You don’t have to go through all that trouble. Format Painter can seriously cut down on the process time of formatting.

How Format Painter works

Format Painter in PowerPoint allows you to copy the format of an object once, then apply the format to other objects.

You can find the Format Painter command on the Home tab Clipboard group next to the Copying and Pasting commands – it’s basically the copy and paste of formats.

Format Painter location in PowerPoint

To use the Format Painter command, use the following steps:

  1. Click on the object from which you want to copy the formatting.
  2. Go to the Home tab and select the Format Painter command in the Clipboard group. Notice the mouse pointer changes to a paintbrush icon.
  3. Click the object you want reformatted and you’re done.

What Format Painter cannot do

Format Painter is great, but not almighty. Its limits are logical: they only concern formatting. This means the Format Painter command only copies style characteristics: text font size, font type, shape colour, outlines, and effects.

Can you spot all elements that were formatted and those that were not in this example?

Format Painter example: spot the difference?

Format Painter does not change anything that is not part of the object’s format: the type of shape, the size of the shape, or the actual text.

Double-click to apply multiple times

When you have several shapes to reformat in the same way, you can do it all in one go. The steps are like the process above, but with a small twist:

  1. Click the formatted shape to select it.
  2. On the Home tab, go to the Clipboard group and double-click Format Painter.
  3. Click the shapes you wish to format.
  4. Press Esc to stop formatting.

See the magic below:

GIF: Applying PowerPoint's Format Painter to multiple shapes

More to come

PowerPoint has loads of shortcuts and easy-to-use functionalities that can speed up the construction of your slides, and we have some insider tips and tricks that are used less frequently.

With over 100 different PowerPoint Challenges, if you want to learn more about PowerPoint shortcuts when designing slides, sign-up at 5miles for a free two-week trial now.