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Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Apply transparency to shape fills in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






Shape fills such as solid colors, gradients, pictures, and textures can have a Transparency attribute that lets you reduce the opacity of a fill so that the slide object or background behind shows through.

Transparency is calculated in percentages and you can change its value all the way from 0 to 100%. Some fill options, such as pattern and slide background have no option to change Transparency. Look at Figure 1 below, and you will see the original shapes on the left with their semi-transparent counterparts on the right. We intentionally placed all these shapes on a patterned background so that you can see the pattern through the semi-transparent shapes on the right.

Original shapes with various fills and their semi-transparent counterparts
Figure 1: Original shapes with various fills and their semi-transparent counterparts

To learn to set a Transparency value for your shape in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Select the shape that has a solid color, gradient, pictures or texture fill. Right-click (or Ctrl+click) the shape to bring up the contextual menu that you can see in Figure 2. Within this menu, choose the Format Shape option.
  2. Format Shape option selected
    Figure 2: Format Shape option selected
  3. This brings up the Format Shape Task Pane that you see in Figure 3. Options may differ depending upon the original fill of your selected shape. In this instance, our shape had a solid fill. You drag the Transparency slider, highlighted in red within Figure 3 to change the Transparency value.
  4. Set transparency for solid fills
    Figure 3: Set Transparency for solid fill
  5. Tip: You can even use the up or down-arrows towards the right (highlighted in blue within Figure 3, above) to increase or decrease the Transparency. Also, you can directly type in the Transparency value within the box placed next to Transparency slider.
  6. The Transparency slider for Picture or texture fill is similarly highlighted in red within Figure 4, below.
  7. Set transparency for picture or texture fill
    Figure 4: Set Transparency for picture or texture fill
  8. Tip: Unlike in previous versions, Office 365 versions of PowerPoint 2016 allow you to set a transparency value for inserted pictures. Of course, if you are using a perpetual version of PowerPoint 2016, you can still use the older workaround to use any picture as a fill for a rectangular or any other shape, and then change the transparency value of the picture fill within the shape!
  9. Gradient fills work a little differently as far as Transparency is concerned. You need to adjust the transparency value of every single color Stop comprised within the gradient fill you choose. To do that, select each Stop of your gradient individually, and change its Transparency, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below.
  10. Set transparency for gradient stops
    Figure 5: Set Transparency for gradient stops
  11. Tip: To learn more about gradient stops, explore our Gradient Stops in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac tutorial.
  12. Set the Transparency value as required. In Figure 6 you can see the Fill Transparency of the shape that we selected earlier, set to 50%.
  13. Fill Transparency changed for the shape
    Figure 2: Fill transparency changed for the shape
  14. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


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