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Custom Backgrounds for Slide Master and Layouts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to apply custom backgrounds to both the Slide Master and Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






Content and look are the two major components of presentation slides. Among them, the former is always more significant than the latter. But that does not mean that you should neglect the latter. 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 go beyond a plain background and use a less restrained background instead. 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 2011 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 use a custom slide background such as 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 Slide Layouts within Slide Master View in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial, which explains the 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:

  1. Launch PowerPoint. By default, PowerPoint opens a blank presentation. Select the View | Master | Slide Master menu option, as shown in Figure 1.
  2. Slide Master option within the View menu
    Figure 1: Slide Master option within the View menu
  3. 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).
  4. Slide Master and Slide Layouts within PowerPoint
    Figure 2: Slide Master and Slide Layouts within PowerPoint
  5. Now, based on your requirement, select either the Slide Master, or any of the individual Slide Layouts. For this tutorial we have selected the Title Slide Layout (highlighted in blue within Figure 3). Next, click the Styles button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).
  6. Styles button within the Slide Master view
    Figure 3: Styles button within the Slide Master view
  7. This brings up the Styles drop-down gallery. Within the Styles drop-down gallery, select the Format Background option, as shown in Figure 4.
  8. Styles drop-down gallery
    Figure 4: Styles drop-down gallery
  9. Alternatively, you can right-click (or Ctrl+click) the selected Slide Layout (or the Slide Master), and from the context menu, select the Format Background option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5.
  10. Format Background option to be selected
    Figure 5: Format Background option to be selected
  11. Either of these options will launch the Format Background dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.
  12. Format Background dialog box
    Figure 6: Format Background dialog box
  13. The options within the Format Background dialog box are explained below, as marked in Figure 6, above:
  14. A. Solid

  15. 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. Learn more about solid fills for slide backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.
  16. B. Gradient

  17. Applies gradients as slide background -- a gradient is a blend of two or more colors merging into each other. Explore more in our Gradient Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial
  18. C. Picture or Texture

  19. Allows you to use a picture or a texture as slide background. To learn more, read our Picture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac and Texture Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorials.
  20. D. Pattern

  21. Choose from 48 two-colored patterns contained within PowerPoint. In our Add Pattern Fills for Slide Backgrounds in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial you can explore more about this option.
  22. E. Hide Background Graphics

  23. This option is meant for individual Slide Layouts. It is used to hide or show any graphic that you might have inserted into master view, on a particular slide layout.
  24. F. Cancel

  25. If you want to abandon all changes you made to the slide background, click the Cancel button.
  26. G. Apply to All

  27. Make changes as required, and click this button if you want the changes to be applied to all Slide Masters and Slide Layouts within the active presentation.
  28. H. Apply

  29. Click this button to apply the changes made only to the active Slide Masters and Slide Layouts.
  30. I. Background Picture Editing Options

  31. If you have used a picture as a background (or as a part of the slide background), you can make adjustments to that picture with the help of the Adjust Picture option that you can see in the sidebar of the Format Background dialog box (highlighted in green within Figure 6, above). To learn more about this option, refer to our Adjust Picture used as Slide Background in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
  32. Choose any of these options to change your slide background. This will apply the selected custom background style to the selected Slide Layout or the Slide Master. In Figure 7 you can see a texture applied to the Title Slide Layout since we had selected that Layout earlier (see Figure 3 on this page). If you had selected the Slide Master, all Slide Layouts following that Slide Master will be applied with the selected custom background style.
  33. Custom Background Style applied to the selected Slide Layout
    Figure 7: Custom Background Style applied to the selected Slide Layout
  34. Click the Close button (highlighted in red within Figure 7 above) or the Close Master button (highlighted in blue within Figure 7 above). This will get you back to Normal View, where you can see the new Background Style applied to any slide (or slides) that uses this particular Slide Layout.
  35. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Custom Backgrounds for Slide Master and Layouts in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Custom Backgrounds for Slide Master and Layouts in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Custom Backgrounds for Slide Master and Layouts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Custom Backgrounds for Slide Master and Layouts in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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