Presentation slides have two components: the message and the look. The former is always more significant than the latter, but that does not mean that you should neglect the latter. Having said so, a simple looking presentation with a clean background is always a great idea since that doesn't overpower your message. Yet, there are plenty of opportunities to use a less restrained background. Your choice for a slide background should complement the content of your presentation. For example, you'll want a flashier background for slides created for kindergarten students, or if you were creating a PowerPoint greeting card. On the other hand, you may want a washed out, faded, or even a subtle patterned picture for a typical business presentation. PowerPoint 2010 does provide you with 12 default slide Background Styles which can be applied to both the Slide Master and individual Slide Layouts. Other than these default background styles, you can also opt to change the slide background to a solid color, a gradient, a pattern or texture, or even a picture.
Note that the process to change the slide background for the Slide Master or individual Slide Layouts is almost the same. The difference lies in what you select before applying these changes. For more background info, explore our tutorial on differences between the Slide Master and its Slide Layouts. For now, follow these steps to change the default slide background for Slide Master and Slide Layouts:
- Launch PowerPoint. By default PowerPoint opens a blank presentation. Access the View tab of the Ribbon and click the Slide Master button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.
Figure 1: Slide Master button within Master Views group of View tab of the Ribbon
- This opens the Slide Master View, as shown in Figure 2. In Slide Master view, you'll find that the left pane contains two distinctly different elements: a larger thumbnail representing the Slide Master (highlighted in red within Figure 2) and several smaller slide thumbnails below representing individual Slide Layouts (highlighted in blue within Figure 2).
Figure 2: Slide Master view within PowerPoint
- Now, based on your requirement select the Slide Master or any of the individual Slide Layouts. For this tutorial we have selected the Title Slide Layout (highlighted in red within Figure 3). Next, click the Background Styles button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).
Figure 3: Background Styles button within the Slide Master view
- This brings up the Background Styles drop-down gallery (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Within Background Styles drop-down gallery, select the Format Background option (highlighted in blue within Figure 4). Alternatively, you can also click the dialog launcher within the Background group, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 3, above.
Figure 4: Background Styles drop-down gallery
- Either of these options will launch the Format Background dialog box, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Format Background dialog box
- The options within the Format Background dialog box are explained below, as marked in Figure 5. You can use any of these options to change your slide background. These options listed below provide links to detailed tutorials:
- Adds a solid color background to your slide—you can use any of the Theme colors, Standard colors, or any other color of your choice. To learn more about this option, read our Solid Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial.
- Applies a gradient as a slide background -- a gradient is a blend of two or more colors merging into each other. For more information on this option, refer to our Gradient Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial.
- Allows you to use a picture or a texture as a slide background. More info can be found in our Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows and Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorials.
- Choose from 48 different patterns contained within PowerPoint for your slide background. Learn more in our Pattern Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial.
- If your slide background includes graphics which you want to hide for printing purposes, or another reason, you can select this check-box. Although the background graphics will remain part of your presentation, it will be hidden from view. Also note that this check-box is only active when you have selected a Slide Layout.
- You can also find this option within the Background Styles drop-down gallery with a slightly different name—Reset Slide Background (highlighted in red within Figure 6).
- This option lets you reset the Background Style of any Slide Layout to the inherited style from the Slide Master. Is the Reset Slide Background option grayed out when you select a particular Slide Layout? That indicates this particular Slide Layout already inherits the Background Style from the Slide Master. Also note that this button will be grayed out if you selected the Slide Master.
Figure 6: Reset Slide Background option within the Background Styles gallery
- Make changes as required, and click this button to apply the changes only to the active or selected Slide Layout(s) (or the Slide Master which will also influence all the Slide Layouts).
- Click this button if you want the changes made to be applied to all the Slide Layouts including the Slide Master.
- This will apply the selected custom background style to the selected Slide Layout, as shown in Figure 7 (compare with Figure 3 shown earlier on this page).
Figure 7: Background Style applied to the selected Slide Layout
- When done, click the Close Master View button on the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 7). This will get you back to Normal View, where you can see the new Background Style applied to any slide that uses this particular Slide Layout. You can similarly change backgrounds for other Slide Layouts, or even the Slide Master.
- Save your presentation often.
A. Solid fill
B. Gradient fill
C. Picture or texture fill
D. Pattern fill
E. Hide background graphics
F. Reset Background
H. Apply to All
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