What did I learn today: Keyboard shortcuts for editing gradients

Just found an extremely useful
way of editing complex gradients. Try it out NOW.  You will love it.

editing gradients

Estimated reading time 3 min


Insert a shape. Select It – Drawing Tools tab – Shape Fill dropdown – Gradient Fill – More Gradients.

Now the dialog opens. (This will work 2010 onwards).

The gradient is basically a horizontal line with multiple STOPS. If you use the Preset Gradients, there will be three stops. Each stop can be a different color. Up to TEN stops are allowed.


We have covered gradients in detail earlier. Refer to these articles.
High Impact Presentations: Using Gradients
High Impact Presentations: Gradients – Part 2

Complex gradients have multiple stops

If you have multiple stops, the available area is not enough to manipulate them.


The solution is to resize the width of the pane (the window which appears on right side).


This is much better. But the adjustments are done by dragging each stop with mouse.

For finer adjustments, Mouse is not very useful. It is difficult to control the mouse drag movement.

Due to this, lot of trial and error may be required to get a perfect gradient.

I just found a brilliant but extremely simple way to do these finer adjustments.

The picture I have shown above (the blue disc) was created using this technique.

Use Keyboard

First click on any color stop. Now leave the mouse aside.

You can navigate between each color stop by using the left SNAGHTML4b8fbd1  and right SNAGHTML4b8a3ed[4]  arrow keys.

And to do extremely fine adjustment just use the Up SNAGHTML4b962b8  and Down SNAGHTML4b9b53d  arrow keys.

It gives extremely refined control for adjustments. Even if you have two stops which are very near each other, you don’t have to worry. Just navigate to the right stop and use up /down keys.

It was an amazing experience. So I wanted to share it with all of you.


This was the gradient used to create the disc above. There is a black stop behind the blue stop. You cannot see it. But you can still manipulate it. That is the beauty of this approach.

Try it out and let me know if you like it.


5 thoughts on “What did I learn today: Keyboard shortcuts for editing gradients”

  1. Its very useful. Had used arrow keys for moving objects (after turning off snap to grid). but did not strike me to use arrow keys for gradient. Please correct… its also available in Office 2007, in this article its mentioned 2010 onwards.

Comments? Suggestions? Wish list?