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Microsoft Expression PNGs for PowerPoint


May 28th 2004

See Also:

PowerPoint and Alpha Channels
Photoshop TIF and Alpha Channel Export for PowerPoint

In this tutorial, we will learn how to export a PNG graphic from Microsoft Expression with an alpha channel that PowerPoint can import. I have used the new Microsoft Expression 3.3 for Macintosh. The PowerPoint version used is PowerPoint X for Macintosh. The same techniques should work with the Windows version.

Presently, you can download free versions of Expression for the Mac and Windows from the Microsoft website...

  1. Launch Expression and choose File | New - Expression will create a new document.

  2. Open or create a simple drawing that uses a transparent gradient. For this tutorial, I created three rectangles with a 'red to transparent' fill. I also applied a repeating Stars stroke to the rectangles. Save your drawing.

    If you rather not draw the rectangles and apply the fills and strokes, you can download the file used in this tutorial here (pngexport.xpr).... Just open it in Expression and proceed with the rest of this tutorial.

  3. Choose File | Save as Bitmap...(see screenshot).

  4. Choose a name and location to save the graphic. Within the Format drop down box, choose 'PNG'. Click the Save button.

  5. You'll now see the Bitmap Setting dialog box. Check all the three options listed on the bottom left: Keep Aspect Ratio, Save Alpha Channel and Anti-Alias. Click OK - in the next dialog box, clck OK again ito save the drawing as a PNG bitmap (see both the screenshots). Save your document and exit Expression.

  6. In PowerPoint, create a new presentation or open an existing one. On a blank slide, just insert the exported PNG using the Insert | Picture command - the screenshot below shows you how the transparent areas reveal themselves.

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