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Add Slide Background Fill to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn to add the Slide Background itself as a fill for selected shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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






You have already learned how to add different fills for shapes. Just like the Pattern fill option, there is one more hidden shape fill option which you can't access from the Shape fill gallery -- yet this is one of those fantastic PowerPoint features that you have to use to believe! The Slide Background fill option is different from other shape fill options because instead of filling something into the selected shape, it makes the slide background area behind the shape visible into the selected shape.

So why would you want a shape filled with the same content as your background? Typically you would not want to use this option unless you have another shape or slide object placed between your slide background and the shape that is filled with the slide background -- read this page further to understand this better. Follow these steps to add the slide background fill to a shape:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016. 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. In this tutorial we have used a presentation with a picture background and placed a box covering half of the slide so that we can show you how exactly the Slide background fill works (see Figure 1).

    Do note that the area towards the right of the slide in Figure 1 shows the slide background while the area on the left is covered by a rectangle shape that hides almost half of the slide background.

    PowerPoint presentation with a picture background
    Figure 1: PowerPoint presentation with a picture background
  2. Insert a shape or just use an existing shape on your slide. Select this shape and right-click to bring up a contextual menu -- from this menu, choose the Format Shape option, highlighted in red within Figure 2 (or Format Picture -- only one of these two options show up depending upon the fill type of the selected shape).

    Format Shape option
    Figure 2: Format Shape option
  3. This opens the Format Shape Task Pane that you can see in Figure 3. Make sure that the Fill tab is selected (highlighted in red within Figure 3), then select the Slide background fill radio button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).

    Format Shape Task Pane
    Figure 3: Format Shape Task Pane
  4. Now you can see your selected shape is filled with the Slide background content, as shown in Figure 4.

    Shape with Slide background fill
    Figure 4: Shape with Slide background fill
  5. Now, if you move the selected shape to different areas of the slide you can see that the shape fill will change to the area of the slide background below it -- in many ways, the slide background fill is thus a dynamic fill depending upon on which part of the slide you place the selected shape. In Figure 5 you can see that the circle shape (with slide background fill) has been placed above the rectangle shape (with solid fill) that hides the slide background, but still the slide background area below is visible in the circle shape as its fill.

    Shape with slide background fill showing slide background area beneath
    Figure 5: Shape with slide background fill showing slide background area beneath
  6. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Add Slide Background Fill to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Add Slide Background Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Add Slide Background Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Add Slide Background Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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