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Change Background Styles in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to change Background Styles within the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher






The Slide Master is something that influences the layout and look of all slides in your presentation. The simplest change you can make to your Slide Master is changing the Background Style used so that all slide layouts and actual slides in your presentation use a new slide background. In this tutorial, we will explore how you can change between any of the 12 available Background Styles to apply to the Slide Master.

Note: You can also have more than one Slide Master in your presentation, and any of those multiple Slide Masters can influence the actual slides in your presentation.

Follow these steps to learn more:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2010. PowerPoint typically opens a blank presentation with the Office Theme applied. You can see the name of the active Theme within the Status Bar as highlighted in red within Figure 1, below. If you see another Theme name here, make sure you apply the Office Theme since this is a basic, clean Theme that lends itself best to changes and edits that we discuss later in this tutorial. If you do not know how you can apply a Theme, explore our Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2010 tutorial.
  2. Slide Master button within Master Views group of View tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 1: Slide Master button within Master Views group of View tab of the Ribbon
  3. Next, access the View tab of the Ribbon, and within the Master Views group, click the Slide Master button, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 1, above.
  4. This opens the Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 2. Here, within the pane on the left, you'll find one large slide thumbnail that represents the Slide Master (highlighted in red within Figure 2), and the several smaller slide thumbnails below represent individual Slide Layouts. For now, do understand that changes made to the Slide Master influence all the Slide Layouts, and in turn, that influences all slides within your presentation.
  5. Slide Master view
    Figure 2: Slide Master view
  6. Note: In hierarchy terms, Slide Layouts are dependent for their appearance on the Slide Master although you can individually override these dependencies.
  7. Now, make sure you select the Slide Master (highlighted in red within Figure 2) and click the Background Styles button (highlighted in blue within Figure 2).
  8. This brings up the Background Styles drop-down gallery with 12 default slide background styles (highlighted in red within Figure 3). One of these 12 styles may be highlighted. This indicates the current background style of the Slide Master. Hover the mouse cursor on any other style to see its Live Preview. Thereafter click on the style of your choice to apply it to the Slide Master.
  9. Background Styles drop-down gallery
    Figure 3: Background Styles drop-down gallery
  10. Note: These 12 default styles change when you apply a different Theme to your presentation. Also, do you see the Format Background (highlighted in blue within Figure 3) and Reset Slide Background options below the Background Style thumbnails? The former option is explained in our Custom Backgrounds in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial. The latter option is meant for individual Slide Layouts and is always grayed out when you select the Slide Master.
  11. This will apply the selected background style to the Slide Master and all the Slide Layouts belonging to that Slide Master as well, as shown in Figure 4 (compare with Figure 2, shown earlier on this page).
  12. Background Style changed within Slide Master view
    Figure 4: Background Style changed within Slide Master view
  13. Click the Close Master View button on the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 4 above). This will get you back to Normal View, where you can see the new Background Style applied to all your slides.
  14. Save your presentation often.
  15. Note: Do you want to use a background for your Slide Master that's not part of Background Styles—maybe something you created, or even a picture? You can learn how to do that in our Custom Backgrounds in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial.

See Also:

Change Background Styles in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Change Background Styles in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Change Background Styles in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Change Background Styles in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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