Advanced PowerPoint:
Master Background Image

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101

Did you want: Working with Presentations: PowerPoint 2007,2010,2013,2016 or español

You may be satisfied with a simple colored background for your slides. On the other hand, you do have other choices, from simple to quite complex.

  • Solid color       

  • Gradient colors Gradient background

  • Textures           Background textures

  • Patterns            Background patterns

  • Single image   Background image of clouds

  • Compound image - Background using multiple images
    A background plus drawings or photos or text.

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Presentations

Before you start...

Project 1: PowerPoint BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: PowerPoint FormattingTo subtopics

Project 3: Advanced PowerPoint
    OutlineTo subtopics
    Images Arrow to Subtopics
    Icon: Step-by-StepMaster Background
    Icon: Step-by-StepMaster Image
    Icon: Step-by-StepSlide Image
    Icon: Step-by-StepAnimate Images
    Tables & ChartsTo subtopics
    FinishingTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics


Background Image

Dialog: Fill Effects | PictureDialog: Background - Fill EffectsYou can apply an image as the background of a slide or a master. From the menu:
 Format | Background... | Color Palette | Fill Effects | Picture | Select Picture

But sometimes the results can be quite unhappy! 

Problem: Background image is stretched out of shape.
Background image is cropped from the bottom.

Cause: Image does not have the same shape as the slide.

Dialog: Fill Effect - checkbox for Lock picture aspect ratioWhich result you get depends on whether or not you checked the box  Lock picture aspect ratio in the Fill Effects dialog.


Original - Double Rainbow

Master slide with photo background stretched to fit

Photo background with Locked Aspect Ratio

Original image Stretched -
Aspect ratio not locked
Cropped -
Aspect ratio locked

View of detail: Horses and shrub

Horses - original aspect ratio            Horses - stretched

Bush - stretched

Bush - original aspect ratio

WarningStretched images may look OK inside PowerPoint or even at full screen on your monitor. When projected onto a screen, the deformed shapes are much more noticeable.

Possible Solutions:

  • Image background - cropped to slide sizeCrop your image to approximately the same proportions as the slide.
  • Slide with image inserted and fill effects backgroundInsert the full image as a picture instead of as a background. Use a fill color or fill effect for the rest of the background.
  • Pick a different image!

Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step:Background Image

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to add a Title Master
to add a background image to title master
to format placeholder text

Start with: Icon: Class disk,  nz.ppt

In this lesson you will be adding a background image to the Title Master and formatting the Title text to show up well over the photo background.

Add Title Master

The presentation nz.ppt only has one slide master. You need to add a Title Master and then format it.

  1. Icon: Class diskIf necessary, open nz.ppt from your Class disk.
  2. One slide masterOpen the Master view. (View | Master | Slide Master)
    There is only one master - the slide master.
  3. Click the Insert New Title Master button on the Masters toolbar.
    Button: Insert New Title Master (with tooltip)

    Title and Slide mastersA new master appears with the Title layout and the same formatting as the slide master.

Title Master: Background Image

You will use a photo as the background for the Title Master. Photo backgrounds are hard to work with for normal slides, but for a title slide you should be able to position and format the text to be easy to read.

  1. Right Click Menu: BackgroundRight click on the background of the slide.
  2. Dialog: BackgroundFrom the popup menu select Background...
    The  Background dialog appears.

  3. Dialog: Background - Fill EffectsOpen the color palette by clicking the arrow at the right end of the color bar.
  4. Select Fill Effects and then the Picture tab.
  5. Dialog: Select Picture - beach.jpgClick the Select Picture... button. The Select Picture dialog opens.
  6. Navigate to the resource files on your hard drive and select the image beach.jpg or type in the full path to the image.
    The default location is -
     C:\My Documents\complit101\presentations\beach.jpg
  7. Dialog: Fill Effects - pictureCheck the box for Lock picture aspect ratio. This will keep the picture from being stretched out of shape. For this particular picture, you might not notice the difference unless you can see the two versions side by side.
  8. Click on OK to close the Fill Effects dialog and return to the Background dialog.

  9. Background PreviewClick the Preview button. Looks good inside PowerPoint!
  10. Click the Apply button.
    (NOT Apply to all!)
    You are returned to the Master view with a new background for your Title Master.

Title Master: Format Text

The green text is not showing well over part of the photo background. That is a common problem with backgrounds that have both light and dark areas behind the text. There are a few formatting tricks to help - font color, shadowing, place holder background color with transparency. For this one, you need to use all the tricks!

  1. Click in the Title placeholder to select it.
  2. Font Color: Change the font color to white using the Font Color palette Button: Font Color - white on the Formatting toolbar.
  3. Shadow: Click the Shadow button Button: Shadow to shadow all of the text.
  4. Dialog: Color - 50% transparent grayPlaceholder Background: On the Drawing toolbar, click the arrow beside the Fill button and choose More Fill colors....
    The Colors dialog appears.
  5. If necessary, select the Standard tab.
  6. Click on gray hexagon on the top row, 3rd from left.
  7. Set the transparency to 50%.
    Using a partial transparency allows the photo to show through but it won't compete as much with the text. A good compromise!
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Click out of the placeholder to deselect it and see the effect of your changes. Better! Now your text shows well over both the ocean and the forest in the photo background.
  10. Close the Master view and switch, if necessary, to show the title slide.

    Title Slide after formatting Title placeholder

  11. Pixelated imageClick the Slide Show button Button: Slide Show on the Views bar to see your title slide at full screen size.
    Hmmm. That photo is rather fuzzy. The detail at the right is at full size.  The effect will be even more noticeable when projected onto a wall screen. This presentation is intended to be viewed on a monitor, so this background would be acceptable, but not great.

    Why so fuzzy?? Two causes:
    • Enlarging: The image is only 485 x 318 pixels. PowerPoint enlarged the photo to fit the slide, about 960 x 720 pixels, which enlarged each pixel in the original.
    • Sharpening: The original photo was sharpened in a graphics program. This causes the outlines around edges. 
  12. Icon: Class diskSave As  nz-background.ppt to your Class disk.
    Full floppy disk How to handle a full Class disk

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Last updated: 30 Apr 2012