Shadows: PowerPoint 2010 Compatability

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010 8 comments

PowerPoint 2010Several of our visitors have contacted us to ask how to solve difficulties with drop shadows that have arisen when a file saved in earlier versions of PowerPoint is opened in PowerPoint 2010. We asked our design team to provide a solution to the compatability issues, and the answer is outlined below.

It is worth noting that it is best for PowerPoint users to avoid using 2003 files in PowerPoint 2010 when possible, as it seems to cause no end of issues. Microsoft may have proclaimed that the versions are compatible to a degree, but our designers have found that many features do not translate as expected.

PowerPoint 2010 Drop Shadow Compatability

When importing earlier versions of a file into PowerPoint, whether or not you experience issues with drop shadows depends on how you apply the shadow.

If you apply the shadow in 2003 using the text shadow options then you should not experience any issues when playing the file in 2010.

PowerPoint 2003 Text Shadow

The problem seems to occur after using the apply object shadow tool in 2003:PowerPoint 2003 Object Shadow

To rectify the problem in 2010 you must remove the non-compatible shadows and reapply them using 2010 shadow effects. If PowerPoint will not let you edit the shadow then you are probably running the slides in compatibility mode (PowerPoint 97 – 2003 presentation). This will limit 2010 functionality to that of a 2003 version. Remove compatibility mode by going to ‘save as’ and selecting pptx file type, which will be named ‘PowerPoint Presentation’.

You should then be free to edit, remove, and reapply 2010 shadow options and animations via the PowerPoint 2010 toolbar.

PowerPoint 2010 Shadow

Has this solved the probelm? Have you discovered more compatability issues within PowerPoint 2010, or encountered other PowerPoint difficulties in general? Leave a comment below with any queries you may have, and we’ll get m62′s design team on the case!

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8 Comments to Shadows: PowerPoint 2010 Compatability

  1. #1


    1:33 am, August 14th, 2011

    In the old PowerPoint program I was able to change the color of the text shadow and skootch the shadow around to where I thought it looked best. I keep trying and trying to figure out how to accomplish this in the 2010 version but being a bear of very little brain. . . . Do you think you could help me out?

  2. #2

    John Bevan

    9:50 am, August 15th, 2011

    Hi Karen, for precision shadow effects in 2010, forget using the ‘S’ shadow toggle button in the text formatting area of the Home tab. Instead, highlight the text you’re playing with, right-click and select Format Text Effects. In the formatting window, click Shadow, and you’ll be able to play around with the colour, Transparency, Size, Blur, Angle, and Distance of the shadow, or choose from a big menu of preset effects. Hope that helps!

  3. #3

    Richard Goring

    9:55 am, August 15th, 2011

    Hi Karen,
    The functionality that you are after is in the ‘Format’ tab on the ribbon. When you have text selected, the ‘Format’ tab will appear on your ribbon. Within this, you need to look at the ‘WordArt Styles’ section and select the ‘Text Effects’ drop down menu. Within this, choose ‘Shadow’ and then you have a variety of preset shadow options (none, outer, inner, perspective) and different positions of the shadow within these options. A screenshot of this option is in the article. To customise position or colour further, select the ‘Shadow Options’ button on the bottom of the drop down menu and this allows you to change all sorts of shadow effects and play around with what works best. Hope that this helps, but if not, let us know and we can work something out.

  4. #4


    11:07 pm, December 9th, 2011

    When I open ppt 2010 files and look at my graph’s all of the plots have shadows and the document was not opened in 2003. Any ideas?

  5. #5

    Jessica Pyne

    11:53 am, December 21st, 2011

    Hi Kristi, without further information we can’t be clear as to why this has happened, but the solution is to right click on the part of the graph with shadow and select Format Data Series, from where you can remove the shadow. If you are still having difficulties, please get back in touch with further details.

  6. #6

    Joy Williams

    4:31 pm, February 2nd, 2012

    I have tried saving this to a pptx file and still all the text effects are greyed out, I cannot change a thing, this is most frustrating and I am about to throw in the towel. How annoying this is when on a tight deadline!!!!!!

    Can someone please email to solve this!!


  7. #7

    Jessica Pyne

    9:48 am, February 14th, 2012

    Hi Joy, the solution has been emailed to you. If you are still experiencing difficulties, please do get back in touch.

  8. #8


    2:18 am, November 3rd, 2012

    I’ve tried all of these options. I’ve saved it in PPTX. I’ve deselected the S-Shadow in the Font Toolbar, I’ve Selected No Shadow in Drawing Tools-Format-Text Effects. But my text shadows (which don’t animate) remain.

    My only work-around (short of creating new text boxes, and re-animating the whole thing) is to create a dummy Text box with the exact same formatting I want (without the phantom Shadow) and use the Format Painter to apply the dummy text format onto the legacy format. I hope this helps somebody. Or next time I can’t remember how to fix it, I’ll google it, and find this page again.

    I refuse to go off topic and rant about the fact that I used this program fluently for 9 years prior to switching to 2010. And now after almost 2 years I STILL Can’t figure out how to do everything I used to be able to do with ease. Okay, I guess I don’t refuse.