You have already learned how to add different fills for shapes. As you have seen in those shape fill tutorials, the Shape Fill gallery displays only 4 fill options: solid fill, picture fill, gradient fill, and texture fill. There is one more shape fill option, the Slide Background fill which you can't access from Shape Fill gallery. 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:
- Launch PowerPoint 2007. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation, PowerPoint 2007 users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Blank. In this tutorial we have used a presentation with a picture background and placed a box 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 is covered by a rectangle shape that hides almost half of the slide background.
Figure 1: PowerPoint presentation with a picture background
- Within the Home or Insert tab of the Ribbon, click the Shapes button to access the Shapes gallery that you can see in Figure 2. Select any shape, and then either drag and draw, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape (we used a heart shape with solid fill which you can see later in Figure 3. We have used light blue color as a fill just to highlight the shape. You can use any fill you want or just do nothing with the fill at this stage).
Figure 2: Shapes gallery
- Right click the Shape, and from the context menu that appears, choose the Format Shape option (or Format Picture, only one of these two options show up depending upon the fill type of the selected shape), as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Format Shape option selected
- This opens the Format Shape dialog box. Make sure that the Fill tab is selected, then click the radio button for Slide Background fill option (refer to Figure 4). Click Close to apply the Slide Background fill to the selected shape.
Figure 4: Format Shape dialog box with Slide background fill option selected
- Now you can see your selected shape is filled 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 show 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 shape has been placed above the box which hides the slide background but still the slide background area below is visible as the shape fill.
Figure 6: Shape with slide background fill showing slide background area below it
- Remember to save your presentation often.
Fills for Shapes: Add Slide Background Fill to Shapes (Glossary Page)
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