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Gradient Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Apply gradient fills as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






Like earlier versions, PowerPoint 2011 continues to provide an amazing array of options to format your slide backgrounds. We have already explored how you can format the slide background, including options to use solid color fills for slide backgrounds. This tutorial builds upon what you have already learned, and shows how you can cover your slide's background with a gradient fill. Gradient fills are typically blended fills between two or more colors that graduate from one color to another, they are sometimes also called fountain fills or blended fills in other programs. Follow these steps to add a gradient slide background:

  1. We assume you have already opened your presentation and summoned the Format Background dialog box, as explained in the aforementioned Format Slide Background tutorial. You can also right-click on an empty area of your slide, and choose the Format Background option in the resultant contextual menu to bring up the same Format Background dialog box (see in Figure 1 below).
  2. Within the Format Background dialog box, make sure that the Fill option is active in the sidebar. Then, select the Gradient tab that you can see highlighted in red within Figure 1.

    Gradient tab selected within the Format Background dialog box
    Figure 1: Gradient tab selected within the Format Background dialog box

    Within the Gradient tab, you can see that most of the options are grayed out. This is because the gradient style is set to None within the Style selection box (highlighted in blue within Figure 1, above).
  3. First of all, you need to select any of the available gradient styles. To do that, click the Style selection box (highlighted in blue within Figure 1, above) to open the Style drop-down list that you can see in Figure 2. In this drop-down list, select the required gradient style. In Figure 2, you can see the Linear style being selected.

    Style drop-down list within Gradient tab
    Figure 2: Style drop-down list within Gradient tab

    Note: As you can see in Figure 2, above, there are several gradient styles available in the Style drop-down list, such as Linear, Radial, Rectangular, Path, and From Title. All these styles, other than From Title are explained in detail within our Add Gradient Fills to Shapes tutorial.

    The From Title gradient style is unique to slide backgrounds, and does not show up in any of the other slide objects that can be filled with gradients. That's because only slides have titles, and depending upon the Layout you choose or customize, the title could be anywhere on the slide, it could be on the top, middle, or bottom of the slide. Depending upon where your slide title is located, the From Title gradient style applies a gradient fill to the background that begins from the slide title and ends on the edges of the slide. Figure 3 below shows variations in the various layouts when we applied a gradient slide background with the From Title style selected.

    Variations in different slide layouts when From Title gradient style is selected
    Figure 3: Variations in different slide layouts when From Title gradient style is selected
  4. As soon as we selected the Linear gradient style, the background of the active slide in the open presentation changes to match the selected gradient style, your slide background will auto-update with any changes you make in the Format Background dialog box. Also, note that you can now see all of the options (see Figure 4).

    Gradient style selected for the slide background
    Figure 4: Gradient style selected for the slide background

    We have marked all the options within the Slide Background dialog box in Figure 4, above. These individual options have been explained in detail within our Add Gradient Fills to Shapes tutorial (explore points 5-A through 5-H), although that tutorial is for shapes, gradient edit options do work similarly for both shape and slide background fills.
  5. Set the gradient fill as required using the options available, thereafter, apply the gradient fill to your slides by clicking either:

    i. The Apply button to fill selected slides in the presentation with the gradient fill. If you don't have multiple slides selected, the gradient fill will be applied to the active slide only.

    ii. The Apply to All button to fill all slides in the presentation with the gradient fill.

    More details about the Apply and Apply to All buttons can be found in our Format Slide Background tutorial.
  6. In Figure 5, you can see the slide background is filled with a gradient fill.

    Presentation with a gradient fill background
    Figure 5: Presentation with a gradient fill background
  7. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Gradient Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Gradient Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Gradient Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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