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Tutorial for Design Element 012 – Balls with Reflections

Sometimes the only way to add a little design value to a slide is by dressing up a text list in some way. This is a nice option. These balls are fully customizable. They are a great way to add a little interest to a text-heavy slide, help establish structure (both in the numbering/lettering and via colors). They're unique and don't look like a "canned" PowerPoint shape. The series example uses different colors for each ball. This color can then be established as the color scheme for the section. This is a way to use color as a tracking device in presentations.

Customizing the Balls with Reflections

Adjust size

They can be sized to any size, so they can be small icons or large text containers. The balls are comprised of three fields:

  1. The circle is a solid color, which is what you change when you want to create another colored ball (see below).

  2. The gradient on top, which is semitransparent white (you needn't adjust color or any formatting for this element)
  3. The gradient at the bottom, which is semitransparent white (you needn't adjust color or any formatting for this element)

If you use the blank ball, you can group it (should be already grouped) and size it to any size you wish. Then simply overlay middle- and center-aligned text over the ball.

The numbers and letters in the balls are WordArt and can, therefore, be sized along with the ball group – no need to worry about changing text size, regardless of which PowerPoint application you are using.

Color variations

Changing ball color is as simple as changing the circle color. The reflections don't need to be changed. The three elements that make up the ball are grouped, and you don't need to ungroup the ball to recolor. Just click on the group and then click on the circle. To make sure you get the circle and not the reflection elements, click on the upper right edge of the circle. So, again, to select the circle 1) click on the group, 2) click on the upper right edge of the circle, and 3) change the color of the circle. Easy.

PowerPoint 2007 options

Don't use any extra formatting options except maybe the drop shadow.

3D variations

Not needed


PowerPoint 2007 shadows, especially when they drop well below the balls help further create the 3D illusion. Select "Shape Effects" from the "Format tab, Shape Styles, Shape Effects, Shadow. Then select from Outer or Perspective shadow choices. Do not choose an Inner shadow.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

No gradients are needed, nor patterns or pictures. The reflection elements of the balls provide enough design value.


Animate as simple reveals with associated text or graphics.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

DE012 – Design Element 012 – Balls with Reflections

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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