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Recolor Picture Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows

Learn how to recolor a picture background in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows. The Recolor option lets you reduce the visual noise in any picture.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher




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Explore how they are different: PPT vs. PPS (or PPTX vs. PPSX)



One of the worst things that you can do to your PowerPoint presentation is to add a busy, multi-colored background to your slides. However, people do that all the time and in the process, they compromise the subtlety and contrast of any content on their slides.

Look at Figure 1 to see what we are saying.

Before and after Recolor -- sample thumbnailsTransparentBefore and after Recolor -- sample thumbnails

Before and after Recolor -- sample thumbnailsTransparentBefore and after Recolor -- sample thumbnails

Before and after Recolor -- sample thumbnailsTransparentBefore and after Recolor -- sample thumbnails
Figure 1: Before and after Recolor (sample thumbnails)

As you can see in the thumbnails on the left, it is difficult to read much of the text on the slides. Granted, these slides would normally be shown at a much larger size, but the contrast between the background picture and the text is still aptly demonstrated in the thumbnails that you see. Also do note that we have used three text colors: black, a medium grey, and white. Our aim is to work around a background that works with at least two of those three text colors, and we do agree that this is a slightly difficult task to accomplish unless you use the new Recolor options available for pictures in both PowerPoint 2007 and subsequent versions.

Until these options were made available in PowerPoint, the only resource was to do these edits in a program like Adobe Photoshop, save them, and then insert as backgrounds on a slide. And of course, those edits were not non-destructible in the sense that you could get back your original pictures. But within PowerPoint, all these edits are really non-destructible!

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Insert a picture to your slide either in the Slide Master or directly on a slide. Where you insert the picture doesn't matter now because we are just exploring the Recolor options in this tutorial.
  2. As soon as you select the picture, you can see the Picture Tools Format tab in the Ribbon area. Activate this tab, and choose these options depending on which version of PowerPoint you are using:
  3. For PowerPoint 2007 click the Recolor button in the Picture Tools Format tab of the Ribbon to view the dropdown gallery shown in Figure 2.
  4. Recolor gallery in PowerPoint 2007
    Figure 2: Recolor gallery in PowerPoint 2007
  5. In PowerPoint 2010 for Winodws, you click the Color button on the Picture Tools Format tab of the Ribbon to bring up the drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3.
  6. Recolor gallery in PowerPoint 2010
    Figure 3: Recolor gallery in PowerPoint 2010
  7. Hover your cursor over any of the recolor thumbnails in this gallery to see a Live Preview of how your picture will look when recolored. It's a good idea to place some text over the picture as we did with the samples in Figure 1 so that you can see for yourself how the background color and text contrast with each other.

See Also:

Pictures Basics and Adjustments: Recolor Picture Backgrounds (Glossary Page)

Recolor Picture Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Recolor Picture Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Recolor Picture Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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