You have already learned how to add different fills for shapes. While it may not be very obvious, you can also use your slide background as a shape fill. The Slide Background fill option is different from other shape fill options because instead of filling something into the selected shape, it makes the slide background area behind the shape visible into the selected shape.
So why would you want a shape filled with the same content as your background? Typically you would not want to use this option unless you have another shape or slide object placed between your slide background and the shape that is filled with the slide background, read this page further to understand this better. You may also want to see how PowerPoint MVP Glen Millar uses the Slide Background fill in animation, he calls it False Backgrounds, and we have an Indezine exclusive conversation with him at False Backgrounds: Conversation with Glen Millar.
Follow these steps to add the Slide Background fill to a shape:
- Select the shape that you want to change the fill for. Alternatively, if you just want to follow this tutorial step-by-step, launch PowerPoint. You will see the Presentation Gallery which allows you to set all attributes of your new presentation, such as a preset Theme or template. Make selections or just click Cancel in this gallery to open a blank presentation with a new slide, PowerPoint 2011 users can change the slide layout of this slide to Blank by selecting Layout | Blank within the Home tab of the Ribbon.
- In this tutorial we have used a presentation with a picture background and placed a rectangle shape covering half of the slide so that we can show you how exactly the Slide background fill works (see Figure 1). Do note that the area towards the right of the slide in Figure 1 shows the slide background while the area on the left has been covered with a rectangle shape that hides almost half of the slide background.
Figure 1: PowerPoint presentation with a picture background
- Within the Home tab of the Ribbon, locate the Insert group and click the Shape button to access the Shape gallery with different types of shape options that you can see in Figure 2. Select any shape option to access the related submenu, select the shape you prefer (we selected the Heart shape, as you can see in Figure 3).
Figure 2: Shape gallery in PowerPoint 2011
- Click and drag on the slide to insert the shape, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape. Select the inserted shape and right-click to bring up a context menu. From the context menu, choose the Format Shape option as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Format Shape option selected
- This opens the Format Shape dialog box, make sure that the Fill panel is active, and select the Slide background fill check-box as shown highlighted in red in Figure 4. Click OK to apply the Slide background fill to the selected shape.
Figure 4: Slide background fill option selected in Format Shape dialog box
- This will fill your selected shape with the Slide background content, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Shape with Slide background fill
- Now, if you move the selected shape to different areas of the slide you can see that the shape fill will change to the area of the slide background below it, in many ways, the Slide Background fill is thus a dynamic fill depending upon on which part of the slide you place the selected shape. In Figure 6 you can see that the heart shape has been placed above the rectangle shape that hides the slide background, but still the slide background area below is visible in the heart shape as it's fill.
Figure 6: Shape with slide background fill showing slide background area below it
- Remember to save your presentation often.
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