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Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Apply transparency to shape fills in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Windows XP and higher






Shape fills such as solid colors, gradients, pictures, and textures can have a transparency attribute that lets you reduce the opacity of a fill so that the slide object or background behind shows through. Transparency is calculated in percentages and you can change its value all the way from 0 to 100%. Some fill options, such as pattern and slide background have no transparency options. Look at Figure 1 below, and you will see the original shapes on the left with their semi-transparent counterparts on the right, we intentionally placed all these shapes on a patterned background so that you can see through the pattern within the transparent shapes towards the right.

Original shapes and their semi-transparent counterparts, from top to bottom: solid color, picture, texture, and gradient
Figure 1: Original shapes and their semi-transparent counterparts, from top to bottom: solid color, picture, texture, and gradient

To set a transparency value for your shape, follow these steps:

  1. Select the shape that has a solid color, gradient, pictures or texture fill. Right-click the shape to bring up the contextual menu that you can see in Figure 2. Choose the Format Shape option.

    Format Shape option selected
    Figure 2: Format Shape option selected
  2. This brings up the Format Shape dialog that you see in Figure 3, options may differ depending upon the original fill of your selected shape, in this instance, our shape had a solid fill. You drag the Transparency slider, highlighted in red with Figure 3 to change the transparency value.

    Set transparency for solid fills
    Figure 3: Set transparency for solid fill

    Tip: You can even use the up or down arrows towards the right (highlighted in blue within Figure 3) to increase or decrease the transparency, also you can directly type in the transparency value within the box placed next to Transparency slider.
    The Transparency slider for Picture or texture fills is similarly highlighted in red within Figure 4, below.

    Set transparency for picture or texture fill
    Figure 4: Set transparency for picture or texture fill

    Tip: PowerPoint does not allow you to set a transparent value for inserted pictures, you can therefore use any picture as a fill for a rectangular shape, and then change the transparency value of the picture fill!
    Gradient fills work a little differently as far as transparency is concerned, you need to adjust the transparency value of every single color " stop" comprised within the gradient fill you choose. To do that, select each stop of your gradient, and change its transparency, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below.

    Set transparency for gradient stops
    Figure 5: Set transparency for gradient stops

    Tip: To learn more about gradient stops, explore our Gradient Stops in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial.
  3. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Transparency for Shape Fills in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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