If you have visited many popular websites lately you probably noticed a new look which is loosely defined as Web 2.0. One of the main features of this look is bright color gradients and boxes with rounded corners.
This look is clean and the file sizes are small, but they have been hard to recreate in most basic graphics programs. Creating a rounded rectangle with transparent edges is a task usually found only in high end programs like Photoshop or Fireworks.
Surprisingly, this type of graphic is easy to make with a software program that you probably already have on your desktop. Just open up Powerpoint and in a few short minutes you’ll have an awesome Web 2.0 graphic or logo ready to publish to your web page.
Here is how you do it… (if you are in a hurry I’ve created three Powerpoint slides with many popular Web 2.0 styles already created. Look for the download link at the bottom of this post)
To create individual web 2.0 graphics in Powerpoint
Open Powerpoint (This tutorial is based on Powerpoint 2003)
On the right side menu click the “blank” layout box (this gets the annoying text boxes out of your way)
Right click on the slide and select background. Set the background color to a light gray so you can see the borders and details of your graphics.
Under the view menu select grids and guides. Select snap objects to grid and select 1/16th as the grid size. Make sure display grid on screen checkbox is checked.
Under the view menu select toolbars and make sure the drawing toolbar has a check mark next to it.
On the drawing toolbar select auto shapes, basic shapes, and select rounded rectangle
Draw a rounded box the size and shape you want. For this exercise I made one 2 grids tall and 2 grids wide
Right click on the rounded box and select Format Auto Shape
Click the color box and select fill effects
In the fill effects box select one color and set the shading style to horizontal
Set the color as red and select the dark to light gradient. Click OK
In the format auto shape box select line color as white, line type as solid, and line size as 3.
Click OK. You now have a very usable rounded box with gradient as shown above.
To Add Text: There are two basic ways to add text to your graphic. The first way looks good on the screen but produces non-aliased (jagged) text when saved as a PNG or GIF file. The second way is a little more involved using WordArt but produces awesome results.
Add Text: Basic Procedure
Right click on the graphic and select Add Text
Type your text into the box
Highlight your text and select the font, size, and color that you want from the formatting toolbar. Click Ok and select outside of your text to view the finished product.
(Please note this will produce jagged text results when saved as a PNG or GIF file)
Add Text: Using WordArt
Click on the WordArt icon on the Drawing Toolbar.
Select the top left WordArt style for normal looking text
Create your text in the WordArt box and select a font size of 24. Click OK
You will now see your WordArt on the screen
Click and drag your WordArt over your graphic and size and center it so it looks good.
Right click on your Wordart and select format WordArt
In this box you can select your main text color and select your border color and size
When you have your text formatted properly you’ll need to group it with your main graphic so you will be able to see it when your graphic is saved.
To group the objects, select the background of your graphic first (put the mouse over just the background and left click), Then hold down the shift key and select the WordArt. You’ll now see both items selected. Right click and select grouping/group from the menu. You’ll now have a grouped object that you can save.
Saving your completed graphic.
Select your completed graphic, right click, and select save as picture. Save your graphic as a .png or .gif file.
NOTE: .PNG files look better but may not have transparent corners in older browsers. You can also save the file as a .JPG file but the rounded edges will not be transparent and will default to black instead.
Viola! A Web 2.0 graphic with transparent edges, ready for your web page or other graphic application.
You can also cut and paste this graphic into MS Word, Excel, or other office applications
Download Resources: To save you time, I’ve created a download file containing three Powerpoint slides with numerous looks and styles on each. All of the text is WordArt so they will save with clean edges.
Download the Powerpoint Web 2.0 Graphics zip file
Unzip the file and save it to your computer
Open the file in Powerpoint.
You’ll see three slides on the left hand side of the screen.
Click on a slide to open it on the main screen.
To save a graphic as it is, select the graphic you want to use and select save-as from the main menu.
Save the file as a .PNG or GIF file to your computer.
To Change The Size: Click the graphic and use the handles that appear to resize it to any shape you want. You can also copy and paste a graphic to a new blank Powerpoint slide to give you more room.
To Change the Text: Double click the text and edit as necessary. To change the font, colors or border style, select the text and right click and select format WordArt. Change the settings in the appropriate boxes.
To Move The Text Around: The text on the graphics is grouped with the background graphic. To move things around you’ll need to ungroup them, edit as necessary and regroup them to save.
To ungroup the text, select the text, right click and select grouping/ungroup. Edit and resize your text as necessary.
Use the WordArt tool bar for many different text options.
When you are done, you’ll need to re-group the objects. To regroup, select the background of your graphic first (put the mouse over just the background and left click), Then hold down the shift key and select the WordArt. You’ll now see both items selected. Right click and select grouping/group from the menu. You’ll now have a grouped object that you can save.
To Save the Finished Graphic: select your re-grouped graphic and select save-as from the main menu.
Save the file as a .PNG or GIF file to your computer. (Please note: If the WordArt and the graphic are not grouped you will not see the text when it is saved as a .PNG or .GIF)
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