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Tutorial for Concepts 084 – Lightning Bolt

The lightning bolt graphics in this series are meant to be used as a conceptual graphic instead of clipart. You can, of course, format them to look like a piece of clipart, but they are much more functional than just clipart. They can receive all types of formatting (see series example). There is only one download containing many lightning bolts. Choose those that meet your needs and delete the rest.

The lightning bolt can be used as a concept illustration for a flash of brilliance, charging force, force of tremendous impact, etc. There are a few to choose from: some are symmetrical and imply a strategic, planned strike. There is a group of three other bolts that are nonsymmetrical, which implies a sudden and unexpected strike. There is also a set of differently sized bolts so that the bolts look identical if you're using them to strike many different objects at different distances from the origin. There is also a set of two bolts that can be used to convey "lightning striking twice."

Customizing the lightning bolts

Adjust size

You can resize or rescale these graphics as you see fit. They can be stretched and pulled into different shapes without loss of meaning.

Color variations

Choose yellow or white, depending on your background for a more realistic depiction of a lightning bolt, or stylize the color to match your template palette, assign colors and a legend if you wish to classify the bolts, or import a photograph (as in the series example – see below for instructions).

PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 options

A glow would work well. A yellow glow looks like the bolt is hot. Stylize the bolt with a bevel, etc.

3D variations

You can try to use a stylized version of the bolt formatted with 3D if you wish. Make sure that the depth of the 3D is not too large. Maybe 4 or 5 points at most.


Shadows tend to lift a graphic off of the slide, but bolts don't really have shadows, so use your own judgment on this one.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

If you wish to import a picture into the bolt, you can follow these instructions:

  1. Size the lightning bolt to the correct size for your use on the slide
  2. Click on the photograph you wish to import into the lightning bolt and crop it to the exact size of the lightning bolt. You may wish to turn on the "Snap objects to other objects" in the "Grid and Guides" menu.
  3. After you crop the photograph and while it is still selected, cut it (Ctrl x) so that it goes into your clipboard
  4. Right-click on the lightning bolt and select "Format Shape"Format Shape" menu
  5. Click on "Fill" in the list on the left side of the "Format Shape" menu
  6. Click on "Picture or texture fill"
  7. Click on "Clipboard" under "Insert from:"
  8. The photograph will be imported into the lightning bolt.


If you want to place the lightning bolt so it's top is behind another object (the other object being the origination of the lightning bolt), then you can use a very fast downward wipe. Maybe you want it to only flash really fast like a real lightning bolt. Format this as a very fast "Appear" and a fast "Fade" exit.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

CN084 – Concept 084 – Lightning Bolt

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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