How to Format Custom Backgrounds in PowerPoint

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PowerPoint presentations can often look the same or appear dull since many people stick to the basic backgrounds the program offers. If you're looking for more with your next presentation, learn how to format custom backgrounds that make your presentation stand out.

  • Open a blank template in PowerPoint. To do this, have PowerPoint open and under the Format menu, choose "Slide Design." A Slide Design window should pop up on the right side of PowerPoint. Scroll to the bottom, choose "Browse," and select the blank template from your default template folder.

  • Select "Format" from the main menu and then select "Background." Once the Background menu box pops up, choose "Fill Effects" from the drop-down menu located under the smaller picture of the slide design.

  • Customize your background. Choose either "Gradient," "Texture," "Pattern" or "Picture."

  • Use gradient if you want to fade one or two colors across the slide. Modify the direction of the fade using "Shading Styles," which you can find under the "Gradient" tab.

  • Give your presentation a more tactile feeling with "Texture." The options range from paper, wood grains and even woven fabrics. If you have previously made a texture using a drawing program such as Photoshop you can choose "Other Template" and select the texture you have made as well.

  • Create a background with a repeating theme like dots, lines, or grids by picking "Pattern." However, use this function in moderation because if either the color or pattern is too bold it can be distracting and even cause eye strain for the viewer.

  • Add a picture to the PowerPoint presentation by choosing "Picture." The "Picture" option allows you to add company logos, landscape pictures or images that evoke the theme of the presentation or slide topic. Click the toggle box to lock the aspect ratio of the picture so the dimensions aren't distorted in the presentation.

  • Choose the customization you want and click "Apply" to apply the changes to the active slide or select "Apply to All" to apply the changes to the all the slides. You now have a background that stands out from other PowerPoint presentations.

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