Capturing & Applying Color and Formatting

Ever see a color in your Publication, an object, or a favorite picture and wish you knew what it was so that you could apply it to other items in your publication? You can! Ever wish there was an easy way to grab all of the formatting off of one object and just paint it onto another one?  Well…there is!

The “Eyedropper” and “Format Painter” are two tools in Publisher that help you easily capture colors and formatting from one object and apply it to other objects as you wish.

The “Eyedropper” Tool

Using the Eyedropper tool, you can  sample color from anywhere in the publication document until you find the perfect color for you, grab it, and apply it to another object that you feel deserves an opportunity to wear that color, too.

Where’s this Eyedropper tool located?

You can find this tool in several locations depending on what you wish. to apply color to.

Fill Color ...

Fill color

Line Color ...

Line color

Font Color ...

Font color

Shadow Color ...

Shadow color

3-D Color ...

3-d color

How to Use it

Let’s say you want to grab a color out of an image in your publication and apply that color as a fill to a shape or object.

1.       Select the shape or object you want to apply the desired color to

2.       Drop down the Fill color toolbar

3.       Select “Sample Fill Color”

a.      The Cursor will change to an “Eyedropper”

4.      Left click and drag the cursor around until the large zoomed display is focused on the color you want

object to apply color to            

Grabbing the color with the eyedropper                              

5.       Release the mouse

The color will be applied to the shape or object you selected.

How you can find out the color value of this desired color -

A color’s value is its ID#, so often you may find it useful to have this handy. The good news is that now that you have grabbed a sample of the color you wanted, this color will appear in the MRU of the Color toolbar dropdown.  If you hover over this color swatch, it’s value will appear!

Finding the color ID

Also, the other good news is that now that this color is in your MRU, you can access it easily and apply it to other shapes and objects in your publication as you wish.


The “Format Painter” Tool

This handy tool will do just what it says – grab formatting off of one object and paint it onto another like object.  It comes in really handy when you desire to make the formatting in your publication consistent or when you just want to apply similar formatting from one object to the next. No longer will you have to spend extra time applying formatting to each object individually if you don’t want to.

Where’s the Format Painter tool located?

The Format Painter is located on the standard toolbar:

finding the format painter

How to Use it

Just about all formatting can be copied from one object to another like object using format painter.

Let’s say you want to copy the fill, line color, and shadow effect currently applied to a rectangle autoshape in your publication to an oval autoshape.

Example before format painter is used

1.      Select the rectangle autoshape

2.      Select Format Painter

a.      The Cursor will change to a “paintbrush” when it is over an object that the formatting can be painted onto 

Same as above but showing the format painter icon 

3.      Click onto the oval autoshape

The formatting that is currently applied to the rectangle is applied to the oval shape:

Applied formatting to shape

You can also use format painter to paint text formatting into another object--

You can add  formatting to text

1.      Select the text with desired text formatting in it (in this example, the text within the rectangle shape)

2.      Select the Format Painter icon from the Standard Toolbar

3.      Left Click and drag cursor over all of the text you want to apply the text formatting onto

Text with formatting applied via format painter 

I use these tools ALL the time when I want to coordinate the formatting of my publications, and I hope you find them handy when you want to easily apply consistent color and formatting throughout yours. Happy formatting !

Mwanza Russell
Software Design Engineer in Test II


About the contributor: Mwanza Russell is a Software Development Engineer in Test on the Publisher team. She has worked for Microsoft for 9 years and believes that life without color  and formatting just isn’t life at all.

Comments (3)

  1. Meemee says:

    Can Publisher do something like this

    Since even if the shapes is not retangular, the text inside it is still aligned within rectangular frame.

  2. pubteam says:

    Meemee –

    Just replied to your similar comment/question on the Beta post. The short answer is that Publisher does not natively support text tight-wrapping to the inside contours of a shape, but this effect can be built up from multiple shapes as Mary Sauer, a Publisher MVP, describes under "Text Inside a Circle" here:

    Jeff Bell

  3. Carin says:

    We are trying to send an email blast out to our customers, but seem to have trouble with some of the email formats it is sent to.  In my gmail I can open the hyperlinks up, but not in  Is there something different we need to do?

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