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Add Picture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how you can use a Picture to fill selected shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher






Picture fills may appear convincing or confusing depending upon the type of picture you use for the fill. Do remember that using a detailed or crowded picture as a fill for a small shape will get you no awards for slide design! It is best to use pictures that have one focused object or are subtle in nature for this purpose. Any shape on your slide in PowerPoint 2016 can be provided with a picture fill in the same way as you add or change solid fills or gradient fills.

Scroll down this page to see a sample presentation that contains shapes with picture fills. Then follow these steps to change or apply a picture fill to a shape:

  1. Open your presentation and select the shape that you want to change or apply the fill to.

    Alternatively, if you want to start from scratch, launch PowerPoint. You will see the Presentation Gallery -- here, select the Blank Presentation to open a blank presentation with a new slide -- you can change the Slide Layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Blank option. Then, insert a shape and select it.
  2. We selected a Heart shape, as shown in Figure 1. Selecting the shape brings up the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.

    Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 1: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon

    Note: The Drawing Tools Format tab is a Contextual tab. These tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  3. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the right-side portion of the Shape Fill button (highlighted in red within Figure 2). This bring up the Shape Fill drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 2. From the Shape Fill drop-down gallery, choose the Picture option highlighted in blue within Figure 2.

    Shape Fill drop-down gallery
    Figure 2: Shape Fill drop-down gallery
  4. This brings up the Insert Pictures dialog box, as shown in Figure 3. Within this dialog box you'll find options to insert picture from a file (highlighted in red within Figure 3) and insert online pictures (highlighted in blue within Figure 3). For this tutorial we used the From a file option.

    Insert Pictures dialog box
    Figure 3: Insert Pictures dialog box
  5. Click the Browse hyperlink within the Insert Pictures dialog box (area highlighted in red highlighted within Figure 3). This opens the Insert Picture dialog box as shown in Figure 4. Navigate to where you have saved pictures to be used as fills.

    Insert Picture dialog box
    Figure 4: Insert Picture dialog box
  6. Select the picture and click the Insert button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4, above.

    Note: You can also choose to link the picture instead of inserting it. To access the options to link the picture, click the down arrow next to the Insert button, as shown in Figure 5, below. To learn more about the difference between various Insert options, refer to our Insert and/or Link Pictures in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    Do you want to link rather than insert a picture?
    Figure 5: Do you want to link rather than insert a picture?
  7. Whichever option you choose, the result will be that the picture will form a fill for the selected shape, as shown in Figure 6, below (compare with Figure 1, shown earlier on this page).

    Shape with picture fill
    Figure 6: Shape with picture fill
  8. Remember to save your presentation often.
Note: Once you add a picture as a fill for a shape as explained above, you might want to explore some advanced tricks that prevent rotation of the picture fill when the shape container is rotated -- or you may want to look at stretch and offset options -- these are explained in our Advanced Picture Fills Options in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

Sample Presentation of Picture Fill in Shape.

Click below to view this presentation on SlideShare

Click below to view this presentation on YouTube

See Also:

Add Picture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Add Picture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Add Picture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Add Picture Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Add Picture Fills to AutoShapes in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 for Windows

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