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Microsoft PowerPoint Backgrounds: Artistic Addition to Your Presentation

written by: KennethSleight•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 6/1/2011

One way to add a bit of artistic expression to a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation is to use a themed background. In this article, we'll explore several ways that this powerful tool can be used to enhance any slide show.

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    What are PowerPoint Backgrounds?

    In Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, a background is a visual representation of an object, design, or sponsor’s logo that is placed behind the text in your presentation or on each individual slide. The background feature complements the context of your presentation and demonstrates its uniqueness to your audience.

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    To Use or Not to Use: That is the Question

    Should you use a background on your PowerPoint presentation? The answer depends on your audience. For example, if you are a college professor and use PowerPoint to deliver your lecture material, the addition of a background could break up the monotony of viewing slide after slide; the use of colors and objects with text is more stimulating to the eye than stark white space. This would, in turn, increase the interest of the students in your presentation/lecture. Another example where you could use backgrounds effectively, includes a presentation on behalf of your company/institution. The use of your company’s logo, colors, etc., reinforces the fact that the information being presented is exclusively created and managed by your sponsoring institution. This will give your presentation credence and demonstrate expertise in the field in which your presentation is focused on. On the other hand, there might be a situation that dictates the simpler the presentation, the better. For example, presentations to professionals in the medical field would be more effective if they were simple and straightforward. The use of backgrounds to this particular audience would be more of a distraction rather than an enhancement to your presentation.

    The most important thing to take into consideration in whether to use a background in your PowerPoint Presentation is the audience to whom you are presenting. One must demonstrate not only expertise on a particular topic, but also sensitivity to the nature of the group that will be viewing your information.

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    Adding a Graphic-Enhanced Background to Your Presentation

    In Microsoft PowerPoint 2007, there are numerous backgrounds to choose from that contain graphics or can be a solid color. In addition, you also have the ability to upload a graphic and insert that into your background selection. You can further manipulate your background to change design, boldness, fonts, and effects.

    Once you open PowerPoint 2007, click on the Design tab. This will take you to the background selection of templates – or themes. You can customize these templates accordingly by adjusting color, font, effect, and style.

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    Changing Color Choices

    If you choose a background (theme) but you don’t care for the color combinations, you can click on Color and change the canvas.

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    Changing Font

    Being able to change the font type for the header and subtitles is also a great way to customize your presentation. To accomplish this, click on Font and select the appropriate font that would work best with your background.

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    Adding Effects

    The Effect button in PowerPoint 2007 is a tool that can give your presentation color depth and definition.

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    Altering Style

    If you don’t like the color combination of your background, you have the ability to adjust and change the color. By clicking on Background Styles, you can select a variation of color combinations of the given template. There is also a box you can check to Hide Background Graphics if you decide to hide any given graphics with your background. From this same window, you can also click on Format Background to further specify the background fill.

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    Adding a Company Logo to the Background

    For many business-focused presentations, it is important to include your company logo if the presentation is supported and endorsed by your corporation. To add the logo, be sure that you have saved the logo graphic as a .jpeg file. Why? The .jpeg file type is easily incorporated so that color, lines, and borders are distinct and not blurred as can happen with other file extensions such as .bmp file extension.

    After you have saved the logo graphic, click on Background Styles. Then click on Format Background. From here, click on Fill and then select the radio button next to Picture or Texture Fill. At this point, you can either copy and paste your logo into the background or insert the picture from a file by clicking File and locating the logo graphic file. In addition, you will notice that you can also import clipart to add to your PowerPoint background presentation by clicking on Clipart in this window.

    Once you have inserted the logo or clipart, you can fine tune the picture by adjusting the stretch options and transparency. To further adjust your insert, you can click on Picture on the Format Background window to adjust color, brightness, and contrast. To finish, click on Apply to All to activate your modifications before you close out of this window.

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    Adding Color to a Slide Background

    What if you don’t want the entire presentation to have a colorful or graphic-based background? You have the flexibility with Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 to only add background to selected slides. This is a great tool to put specific emphasis on certain slides of information rather than the entire presentation.

    To add color to the slide of your choice, click on the slide that you wish to add the background color to. If there are multiple slides in which you want to highlight with color, click on a slide, then press and hold down the CTRL key while you click the additional slides.

    The process of adding a solid colored background is the same for singular/multiple slides as it is for the entire presentation. You would click on the Design tab that will take you to the background tools. From here, you would click on Background Styles and then on Format Background. When you reach this step, you would click on Fill and then on the radio button next to Solid Fill.

    To select the color palate, click on the icon. The variety of colors can also be customized by clicking on More Color. Please note that custom-selected colors that are on the Standard tab are not updated if you decide to change the document theme at a later date.

    From this step, you can adjust the strength of the color by adjusting the background transparency by moving the slider to the desired brightness and opaqueness percentage. To apply your selection to the slide(s) that you selected, you would then click on Apply to All and click Close.

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    The use of Microsoft PowerPoint Backgrounds with your presentation can engage your audience on a visual platform in ways that reinforce the information being delivered. The use of colors, graphics, and logos as a background provides distinction and professionalism to your presentation.