Use color or photos as the background for your slides


This article will tell you all you need to know about PowerPoint backgrounds. The background of a slide is one of the most important choices to make when you aren’t using a pre-defined theme or template. Or when you are creating a theme or a template.

Choosing the right background for your presentation

It's important to choose a background will improve the message of your presentation, not compete with it.

You want your presentation to be the focus, not your visuals. Using high-contrast colors in your presentation can take away from your audience's understanding of the information and enjoy your presentation.

If you are using Office 2010, you can still find useful information about background colors by looking at this article:
Choose the right colors for your PowerPoint presentation

Backgrounds and Watermarks

You can insert a picture, including (clip art: A single piece of ready-made art, often appearing as a bitmap or a combination of drawn shapes.), behind your entire slide as a background or behind part of your slide as a (watermark: A semi-transparent image often used for letters and business cards. In currency, a watermark is visible when you hold a bill up to the light.). You can also insert a color behind your slide as a background. By adding a picture as a background or watermark to one or all of your slides, you can make your PowerPoint presentation unique or clearly identify your presentation sponsor.

Background and watermark

Watermarks are flexible because you can change their sizes and their positions on a slide. You can apply a background or a watermark to some or all of the slides in your presentation. You can lighten your picture, clip art, or color so that it does not interfere with the content of your slide. You can also use a (text box: A movable, resizable container for text or graphics. Use text boxes to position several blocks of text on a page or to give text a different orientation from other text in the document.) or WordArt to make a text watermark.

Send to back

For more about Backgrounds and Watermarks see Insert a background picture, color, or watermark to your slides

You can also use a Picture as a background with the option to adjust the lightness or darkness using Transparency. 

To learn more about using a Picture as a background see: Use a Picture as a slide background

For more about Transparency and Picture color see: Change the color or transparency, or recolor a picture

How to delete a slide background

How to Delete a slide background:
  1. Click the slide that you want to delete the background for.

    To select multiple slides, click a slide, and then press and hold CTRL while you click the other slides and then follow these steps: 
  2. On the Design tab, in the Background group, click Background Styles, and then click Reset Slide Background.

To learn how to remove a slide background see this article: How to Remove the background of a picture

Printing PowerPoint Presentations

Printing slides that have a deep color or picture background – (the importance of removing it so that you can print)

Printing a presentation with a colorful background can needlessly waste printer ink and make the printouts difficult to read if the colors bleed together.

Check out the Set printing options and then print your slides or handoutssection of the following article to see how you can change the settings in PowerPoint to keep the background color from printing: Print your slides or handouts of your presentation

Printing your slides in color:

When you go to print your slide, the default option will be color. If you want to print your slides in color then you will need to have a color printer installed because not all printers have the capability of color printing. If you choose the Color option, but do not have a color printer installed, the printout will be similar to, but not of the same quality as printing in grayscale.

If you want to print your slides in black and white or grayscale see this article to learn how: Print a presentation in black and white or grayscale

You can also get help from the Microsoft Community online community, search for more information on Microsoft Support or Windows Help and How To, or learn more about Assisted Support options.

Article ID: 2726659 - Last Review: 19 Mar 2013 - Revision: 1