When you want to format your slide background to look different from the default background styles available in PowerPoint, you can certainly explore both solid and gradient fills for slide backgrounds. We have already explained these two options in separate tutorials. In addition, you can also choose a picture or texture fill for your slide backgrounds. We cover picture fills for slide backgrounds in this tutorial, and will look at texture fills in a subsequent tutorial.
Before we go further, let us explore how picture fills are different from texture fills. Although both picture or texture fills work very similarly, choosing one option over the other can make the same background look so different. While a picture background results in your slide using a single picture as a backdrop, using a texture background can result in the same picture being tiled across the slide background. Also some pictures lend themselves better to being used as textures, especially if they are seamless.
To learn the difference between picture fills and texture fills, look at Figure 1 below. The sample slide 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.
Figure 1: Same picture used as a picture fill and a texture fill
In this tutorial you will learn how you can add a picture fill for your slide background in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:
- We assume you have created a new presentation, or you have opened one of your existing presentations and summoned the Format Background dialog box, as explained in our Format Slide Background tutorial. Alternatively, you can just right-click (or Ctrl + 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 2 below).
- Within the Format Background dialog box, make sure that the Fill option is active in the sidebar. Then, select the Picture or Texture tab, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.
Figure 2: Picture or Texture tab selected within the Format Background dialog box
- Now, click the Choose Picture button (highlighted in blue within Figure 2, above). This opens the Choose a Picture dialog box as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Choose a Picture dialog box
- In this dialog box, select the picture that you want to use as a fill for the slide background, and click on the Insert button. You will now see that the background of the active slide changes to the selected picture (see Figure 4, below). In addition, hitherto grayed out options within the Format Background dialog box now become available (see Figure 4, below). If you make changes using any of these options, your slide background will auto-update.
Figure 4: Transparency slider within the Format Background dialog box
- Once you have set a picture as the slide background fill, you can adjust the transparency value of the picture by using the Transparency slider, highlighted in red within Figure 4, above. If you do not want to use the slider, enter the values in the box next to the slider, or use the up and down arrows next to the box to increase or decrease the transparency percentage value as required, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 4, above.
- In addition, there are some more options you can optionally use:
- The Rotate with shape check-box is selected by default, and you can leave that option unaltered since you cannot rotate the actual slide!
- If you want the picture used as a fill to be tiled (as you saw in the sample slide on right, within Figure 1, earlier), select the Tile check-box which you can see below the Rotate with shape check-box in Figure 4, above. Now, the picture behaves like a texture. To learn more about texture fills refer to our Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
- After setting a picture as the slide background fill, if you find that the picture is too dark, or light, or if the text on it is not properly readable, you can make some corrections to it. Among the three picture editing options that you see within the sidebar of the Format Background dialog box (highlighted in green within Figure 2, earlier on this page), only the Adjust Picture option can be used to correct the picture used as a slide background fill. This option will be explained in a subsequent tutorial. The other two picture editing options: Artistic Filters and Crop don't work on the pictures used as slide background fills.
- Once you are done, apply the picture as a slide background fill for your slides by clicking either:
- The Apply 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.
- The Apply to All button to fill all slides in the presentation with the picture fill.
- More details about the Apply and Apply to All buttons can be found in our Format Slide Background tutorial.
- In Figure 5, you can see that the slide background is filled with the selected picture fill.
Figure 5: Presentation with a picture fill background
- Remember to save your presentation often.
Fills for Slide Background: Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds (Glossary Page)