Remove unwanted text shadows in iWork programs

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If you use the iWork applications, or other programs that use their own font styling features and the system-wide Fonts panel, here’s a little potential “gotcha” that may sneak up on you some day. Assume you’ve been doing work with text, including using the floating Fonts dialog (Format -> Font -> Show Fonts, or Command-T, in iWork programs). At some point, you add some text, and notice it has an unwanted shadow—or maybe you notice that your text actually has a double-shadow, something like this:

Double shadows in Keynote

(I’ve made the double-shadow clear here for purposes of demonstration, but the reality is that they may be more subtle—especially if both shadows are on the same side of the letters.)

To remove the shadows, you open the Inspector panel, select the Graphic tab, and (if you’re seeing one shadow) find that the Shadow box isn’t checked. (If you’re seeing two shadows, it will be checked, but unchecking it removes only one shadow.) So where’s the extra shadow coming from?

The culprit is the Fonts panel, which has its own, separate shadow controls: somehow, the shadow on the Fonts panel has also be enabled. Confusingly, you can’t actually see these controls in the default Fonts panel; it’s too narrow.

(This begs the question of how those shadows get set when you can’t see the buttons in the first place. I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know it happens, based on the number of times I’ve seen this come up in forums and via e-mail.)

Font shadows
If you expand the panel to the right, though, you’ll see the shadow setting buttons appear.

The button on the left turns the shadows on or off; the others control (from left to right) opacity, blur, offset, and angle.

To remove the extra shadow, click the leftmost box to disable text shadows completely. iWork’s shadow feature provides the same settings for opacity, blur, offset and direction, so you don’t give anything up by using the built-in shadow features instead of those on the fonts panel.

This same fix should work in any other program where you see unwanted or double shadows, and that use both their own font styling features along with the system-wide Fonts panel.

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