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If you can’t find the slide background that you’re looking for in PowerPoint’s presentation library, you can use any image of your own choosing. PowerPoint makes this possible in just a few simple steps. Here’s how.

A word of caution before you begin. The image you select will be stretched to fit the slide size. If you use an image that’s too small, the image will be distorted when used as the background. Be sure to pick an image that works. High-resolution images work best.

When you’re ready, open the PowerPoint presentation that you would like to add a background image to. Once open, head over to the “Design” tab.

Click the design tab

In the “Customize” group, select the “Format Background” button.

Format background option in customize group

The “Format Background” pane will appear on the right-hand side of the window. Here, select “Picture Or Texture Fill” from the “Fill” group.

Picture or texture fill option

Once selected, more options will appear below. Under “Picture Source”, select the “Insert” button.

Insert image

The “Insert Pictures” window will appear, presenting three different options for inserting an image.

Insert picture options

RELATED: How to Get a Picture Behind Text in PowerPoint

From a File

Selecting this option will bring up File Explorer (Finder for Mac). Here, navigate to the location of the image you’d like to insert, select it, and then click the “Insert” button.

Select and insert image from Finder

Online Pictures

Selecting this option will bring up an online image search powered by Bing. Enter the type of image you’d like to locate in the search bar, or select a topic beneath the search bar to open a library of related images.

Searching online images

Whichever method you choose, locate and select the desired image and click “Insert”.

From Icons

Selecting this option will bring up the “Insert Icons” window, showing a large library of available icons. Select the icon you’d like to use as the background and click “Insert”.

Select icon from library


Regardless of which method you used to locate the image, once you’ve selected “Insert”, the image will appear in the background of your presentation.

Background image

As you can see, the image we selected makes it pretty difficult to see the text in our slide. To fix this, adjust the “Transparency” slider until the image works well with the text. You can also fine-tune the percentage (by 1% increments) by clicking the up and down arrow to the right of the slider.

Transparency slider.

The end result should leave your slide looking much better.

Transparent background image

Finally, it’s important to note that inserting the background image only takes place on the selected slide.

Only selected slide changed

If you’re wanting to reflect these changes to the entire slideshow, select the “Apply To All” option at the bottom of the “Format Background” pane.

Apply to all

Once selected, you’ll notice the background has been applied to all slides in the presentation.

background applied to all slides

Marshall Gunnell Marshall Gunnell
Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He's currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.
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