Format, style, and color stencils
Once design elements – stencils, templates, images and icons – are added to the page, they are called Objects.
All objects, including Stencils, are styled and customized in the Format Panel – and they share many of the same formatting controls. Once you have learned to format stencils, formatting templates, images and icons will be a breeze.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the Format Panel, and show you how to customize stencils to create your design.
Go to the Right Sidebar and click the Format Tab. The tab will turn blue, and will open the Format Panel. The Format Panel also opens automatically when you double-click on any non-text stencil (whereas double-clicking on a text stencil will open the Quick-Format Text Window).
The Format Panel is divided into Sections with specific formatting controls. The sections are collapsible, so clicking on a section’s name will hide or reveal that section.
The panel will always display the default sections that are common to all stencils: Size & Position, Fills & Strokes, Opacity, Drop Shadow, and Blur.
Some stencils come with specific styling capabilities. In this case, the panel will display an additional section with those options. We cover these capabilities in the Specific Stencils article
Select, Size, Position, Rotate, and Flip
When you select a single object, that object’s name is displayed at the top of the panel, just above its coordinates. This makes it easy to locate and identify that object in the Outline Panel.
When you select multiple objects, the panel displays the number of objects in that group, in order to help you confirm your selection before applying any style changes or transformations.
Size, Position, Rotate, and Flip controls are grouped together below the coordinates, and each of these actions can be performed both in the panel or on the page.
On the page, use the resize handles to change the size of the object.In the Format Panel, use the Width & Height inputs for precise values and fine-tuning, and use the arrow keys, on the keyboard, if you want to change these values incrementally.
Lock an object’s proportions with the Lock Aspect Ratio button. After an object is locked, you’ll have to unlock the aspect ratio if you want to resize it on the horizontal or vertical axis.
On the page, select an object and drag it to the desired position.
In the Format Panel, set the object’s position by entering the exact coordinates in the input fields. Your object’s position is measured in pixel-distance from both the left and top margins. You can use your keyboard’s arrow keys to change these values incrementally.
- Once an object is selected on the page, the arrow keys move objects pixel by pixel – for fine adjustment.
- Shift + arrow moves objects 10 px
On the page, click the rotation handle at the top of the object and drag to rotate.
In the Format Panel, enter the degree-value in the Rotation Input Field. You can change the value by using the keyboard’s arrow keys.
You can flip an object both horizontally and vertically.
On the page, select a Resize Handle and drag it across the centerline of that object to simultaneously resize and flip.
In the Format Panel, the vertical and horizontal Flip Buttons flip the object while still maintaining its size and aspect ratio.
Text Font, Style, and Auto-Sizing
Text-Based stencils allow you to add written content to your designs. There are two types of text stencils:
- Multi-line text stencils – such as the Paragraph, Text Area, and Note – allow for paragraph returns, bullet points, and numbered lists.
- Single-line text stencils – such as the Label, Heading, and Text input – allow only one line of text.
If you want a solid background behind your text, the Text area and Text input stencils will allow you to add fill and stroke colors.
When you paste text directly onto the page, Moqups will automatically place that text within a Paragraph stencil – just make sure to click on an empty space on the page before you paste!
To format text stencils, you can use either the Quick or Advanced formatting tools.
The Quick Format Text Window and the Text Section of the Format Panel work independently of one another, so any styling applied in either of these must also be undone in that same location.
You can quick-format text within stencils by double-clicking on the text area. The Quick-Format Text Window will pop up above the stencil, with the following options: Bold, Italics, Underline, Strike-through, Numbered and Bulleted lists, Link and Clear formatting.
The key thing about this method of formatting is that it allows you to style individual words or parts of a text.
For advanced formatting, go to the Text Section of the Format Panel. Here, you can choose the Font family, Weight, Color, Size, Style – and you can set both the Vertical and Horizontal Alignment.
Click the Gear Icon (to the right of the Vertical Alignment buttons) to expand the Text Section. Here you can choose Line height, Letter spacing, All caps/Small caps, and Auto or Fixed Sizing for stencil Width and Height.
Styling applied in the Text section of the Format Panel can only be applied to the entirety of the text within the object. To apply formatting to a single word of group of words, use the Quick-Format Text Window described above.
Whenever the text within a stencil exceeds its boundaries, you'll see a [+] icon on its bottom-center selection handle. Double-clicking this icon will adjust the height of the stencil so that it fits the text exactly.
- When you apply Auto Width Sizing to multi-line text, the stencil will adjust to the longest line.
- With single-line stencils, auto sizing will adjust to the full character count of the included text; you cannot add paragraph returns to a single-line stencil.
Color Fills & Strokes, Gradients, and Replace Color
You can apply color changes to object Fills and Strokes by using the Color Picker in the Fills & Strokes section of the Format Panel. As you add colors, the Project Colors list at the bottom of the picker will aggregate those swatches.
To fill an object with color, go to the Fills & Strokes section and click on Fill Color to open the Color Picker Popover.
Select the Swatches Tab to choose a color scheme from Moqups Classic, Material Design, Bootstrap or iOS 8. This tab also displays the colors you’ve already used in your project.
Select the Picker Tab to create your own custom colors.
In both tabs, you can…
- Enter the Hex value for a color
- Adjust the fill-color opacity
Stroke refers to the line of the object itself.
To adjust the stroke color, go to the Format Panel, and in the Fills & Stroke section, click on Stroke Color. Here, you can also set the stroke opacity.
Under the color settings, you can choose the Stroke Width, and set Stroke Style to Solid, Dotted or Dashed.
Gradients create gradual color blends between two or more colors. They can be applied to both Fills and Strokes.
To apply a gradient…
- Click on the Fill or Stroke Color
- At the top of the Color Picker Popover, you can choose from three Fill Types: Solid,Linear gradient, and Radial gradient.
- For gradients, select either Linear or Radial gradient.
- The Gradient Slider has two default Stops that can be moved back and forth to adjust the start and end point of the gradient.
- Click on a Stop to apply a color from the Color Field. The Stop will remain blue while active. You can make further color adjustments below by using either the Hue or Opacity sliders, or by selecting from a range of color swatches derived from the currently active color.
- To add more stops, hover over the Gradient Slider until you see the ‘+’ icon; click on the slider to add a new stop.
- To remove a stop, drag it downward until it disappears.
- Use the Flip icon on the right of the Gradient Slider to reverse the order of colors.
The controls in the upper-right corner let you adjust the gradient’s Angle (for Linear) or Center (for Radial). For even more precision, you can set the Linear Angle by degree, or the Radial’s Center by X/Y coordinates in the accompanying input fields.The Radial gradient also has a Stretch option that expands the Radial gradient to the margins of the object.
The Replace Color section appears in the Format Panel only when all objects on the page have been deselected.
In the Replace Color section you can apply a color change to your current page, or to an entire project.
This feature makes it possible to quickly update your color scheme as you move from lo-fi wireframes to hi-fi mockups – and finally to polished designs and prototypes.
To replace a color…
- Click on the project color you wish to replace
- Select the replacement color from
- Project colors
- By entering a hex code
Opacity, Shadows, and Blur
The Opacity slider adjusts the global Opacity of a whole object, or group of objects. If you want to customize opacity more precisely, you can also adjust the Fill & Stroke opacity (see above), together with global Opacity, for a combined visual result.
To add a Drop Shadow to an object, navigate to the Format Panel and open the Drop Shadow section.
Enable shadow to set the color, opacity, angle, distance, and size of the shadow.
You can round an object’s corners both from the Format Panel, in the Rounded Corners section, as well as directly on the page, using the object’s custom handles.
To round corners from the Format Panel:
- Use the Rounded Corners section and enter values in the inputs. By default, the four input fields are synced. Entering a value in one input will propagate that value to the other corners.
- To enter differing values for each corner, deselect the Sync all corners icon located between the four inputs.
- Enable Scale Radius if you want the rounded corners to scale proportionally as you resize an object.
To round corners directly on the Page:
- To round all corners simultaneously, drag any of the light-blue custom handles towards the center of the object.
- To round a specific corner (Rectangle stencil only) hold Option/Alt and drag the relevant handle towards the center.
Copy and Paste Styles
Once you have customized an object, you can apply that customization to another object or group of objects.
To copy and paste styles:
- Select the object from which you want to copy the styles
- Right-click and choose Copy Styles or press Alt/Option + C
- Select the object where you want to apply those styles
- Right-click and choose Paste Styles or press Alt/Option + V
Set Default Styles
When you set a project’s Default Style, every new object you add to the pages of that project will adopt that style.
You can set the Default Style for a project from the Format Panel, or by using the right-click Context Menu.
To set the Default Style from the Format Panel:
- Click on the empty area of any page
- Open the Format Panel
- Set styles
To set the Default Style from the right-click Context Menu:
- Right-click on any object (including diagram Connectors)
- Select the Set Default Style option
To clear a Default Style, click the Clear Default Style link at the top of the Format Panel.
Questions & Answers
How can I see examples of stencil that have already been formatted – either on a page or within a project?
Our website has a whole section dedicated to Use Cases. There, you’ll find pre-made templates in three categories: Wireframes and Mockups, Diagrams and Flows, and Charts and Graphs. Clicking on any of these templates will open them within the Moqups app, and will let you experiment, customize, and save them.