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Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Apply pictures as slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. You must ascertain whether the picture you are using will work well as a slide background, or not.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher



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Texture and picture fills for slide backgrounds have so much in common. In the previous tutorial we explored how you can use a texture filled slide background. While the same picture can be used for both a texture or picture fill, the main difference is how the results vary.

To learn the difference between picture fills and texture fills, look at Figure 1 below. The sample on the left uses a picture fill that fills the entire slide expanse while the sample slide on the right uses the same picture as a texture fill. You can see that multiple tiles of the same picture form a texture fill. We already covered texture fills, in this tutorial, we will show you how you can add picture fills for your slide backgrounds.

Same picture used as a picture fill and a texture fill
Figure 1: Same picture used as a picture fill and a texture fill

Follow these steps to learn how you can use picture fills for your slide background:

  1. We assume you have created a new presentation, or have opened one of your existing presentations. We also assume that you have summoned the Format Background dialog box, as explained in our Format Slide Background in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial. Alternatively, just right-click in an empty area of your slide and choose the Format Background option in the resultant contextual menu to bring up the same dialog box.
  2. Within the Format Background dialog box, make sure that the Fill panel is active in the sidebar. Then, select the Picture or texture fill radio button, as shown highlighted in red in Figure 2. Also make sure that the Tile picture as texture check-box (marked as C in Figure 2) is deselected.
  3. Picture or texture fill radio button selected within the Format Background dialog box
    Figure 2: Picture or texture fill radio button selected within the Format Background dialog box
  4. As soon as the Picture or texture fill radio button is selected, you can mark the Tile picture as texture check-box (marked as C in Figure 2) as deselected. Doing so will affect the Live Preview of your active slide. The background fill of the open presentation changes to a default, stretched picture fill.
  5. Your slide background will auto-update with any changes you make within the Format Background dialog box. The options within the Format Background dialog box as marked in Figure 2 are explained below:
  6. A. Texture

  7. Click the down-arrow located in this area to bring up the Texture drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3. Choose from any of these readymade textures to change the slide background of your slide. Note that any texture you select stretches itself to form your slide background in the Live Preview. These original textures are not high resolution, and may look blurred or pixelated when used as a fill, and thus are not too suitable for picture fills that span the entire slide background expanse. These however seem to work so much better as tiled texture fills, which we explained in the Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds tutorial.
  8. Texture drop-down gallery within the Format Background dialog box
    Figure 3: Texture drop-down gallery within the Format Background dialog box
  9. B. Insert from

  10. You can choose from three options:
  11. File

  12. Click this button to open the Insert Picture dialog box, as shown in Figure 4. In this dialog box, navigate to the folder where the picture to be used as slide fill is located. Select it, and click the Insert button (highlighted in red in Figure 4).
  13. Insert Picture dialog box
    Figure 4: Insert Picture dialog box
  14. Clipboard

  15. This option fills the slide background with the content of the Clipboard. If nothing is copied to the Clipboard, this button will be grayed out.
  16. Clip Art

  17. Allows you to select any clip art for your slide background. Clicking this option opens the Select Picture dialog box that you see in Figure 5. Enter any keyword in the Search text box (highlighted in red in Figure 5). Also, you can select the Include content from Office.com check-box (highlighted in blue in Figure 5) to search from a larger library that includes millions of clips. Note that you must be connected online for this option to work. From the search results, select any clip you want to use and click the OK button.
  18. Select Picture dialog box
    Figure 5: Select Picture dialog box
  19. C. Tile picture as texture

  20. When deselected, this check-box ensures that your selected picture is used as a picture fill (full expanse) rather than a texture. This also brings up the Stretch options that let you to further edit the picture fill. We explain this next.
  21. D. Stretch options

  22. These options show up in the Format Background dialog box only when the Tile picture as texture check-box is deselected. There are four (left, right, top, and bottom) Offset adjustments in percentage values that enable you to adjust the picture edges along the slide background edges. Tweak as required, if you don't like the results, you can set all these offset values back to their default 0% values.
  23. E. Transparency

  24. This option is used to control the transparency level of the picture you choose as a slide background fill. You can use either the slider or directly type in the required transparency value.
  25. Choose the picture fill you need. Thereafter, apply the chosen fill to your slides by clicking either of the following options:
  26. The Close button to fill selected slides in the presentation with the picture fill. If you don't have multiple slides selected, the picture fill will be applied to the active slide only.
  27. The Apply to All button to fill all slides in the presentation with the picture fill.
  28. More details about the Close and Apply to All buttons can be found in our Format Slide Background tutorial.
  29. In Figure 6, you can see the slide background of the entire presentation is filled with a picture.
  30. Presentation with a picture fill background
    Figure 6: Presentation with a picture fill background
  31. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Fills for Slide Background: Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds (Glossary Page)

Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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