How to Change Background in PowerPoint

Giving presentations in PowerPoint is common in business, education, and many other settings. The visual design of your slides, including the background, is an important part of effectively communicating your message. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to customize PowerPoint backgrounds.

Why the Background Matters

Choosing an appropriate and visually appealing background sets the tone for your entire presentation. It influences how your audience perceives and absorbs the information. Consider these factors when selecting a background:

  • Purpose – Match the background to your presentation goals. For example, a lighthearted background for a casual talk versus a more serious style for a workplace report.
  • Branding – Use colors, logos, textures, and images to reinforce company or product branding throughout the presentation. This builds familiarity and recognition.
  • Readability – Ensure adequate contrast between the background and text/graphics so your slides are easy to read. This improves retention and prevents eye strain.
  • Visual interest – An interesting background makes your slides more dynamic and engaging, while a boring one can lose audience attention.

Access Background Customization Options

The background customization settings are located on PowerPoint’s Design tab. Here are the main ways to access them:

  • Click the Format Background button in the Customize group.
  • Click the arrow below Background Styles to display the gallery.
  • Click the More button at the bottom-right of the Background Styles gallery.

This opens formatting options to change the current slide or all slides.

Select a Solid Fill Background

For a simple, professional look, apply a solid color fill to your slides:

  1. On the Design tab, click Format Background.
  2. Choose Solid Fill.
  3. Click the desired color in the theme or standard color palettes.
  4. Adjust the transparency if needed.
  5. Click Apply to All to update all slides or Close for just the current slide.

Consider light neutral tones like beige or gray so your content pops. Bolder colors can also work well depending on your presentation style and topic.

Use an Eye-Catching Background Image

Images make more visually compelling backgrounds than plain fills:

  1. On the Design tab, click Format Background.
  2. Choose Picture or Texture Fill.
  3. Click File to select an image from your computer.
  4. Navigate to the image file and insert it.
  5. Consider applying artistic effects under Picture Corrections.
  6. Adjust transparency to prevent a busy background.
  7. Click Apply to All or Close.

Images related to your presentation topic or business are great choices. Place images strategically so they don’t interfere with text.

Apply a Themed Design Template

PowerPoint includes many pre-designed themes featuring colors, fonts, and background graphics tailored to different presentation purposes:

  1. On the Design tab, expand the Themes gallery.
  2. Mouse over a theme thumbnail to preview it.
  3. Click the desired theme to apply it.
  4. For more themes, click More at the bottom.

While templates provide a quick customization method, beware of overused default themes.

Remove a Background Image or Color

To revert to PowerPoint’s basic white background:

  1. On the Design tab, click Background Styles.
  2. Select the top-left Blank option.

You can also right-click your slide and choose Format Background > Solid Fill White.

Tips for Great Backgrounds

Keep these best practices in mind when selecting and designing PowerPoint backgrounds:

  • Use high-quality images that match your content and brand.
  • Prioritize readability with adequate contrast between background and text.
  • Avoid distracting backgrounds that pull attention from key information.
  • Limit strong colors, gradients and effects if presenting in a darkened room.
  • Be consistent with background theming throughout your presentation.
  • Balance simplicity with some visual interest to engage your audience.

With the right background choice and customization, your PowerPoint slides will look polished, cohesive and compelling. Carefully incorporate the various background design elements to create presentations that effectively convey your ideas and make an impact.


An intentional, strategic approach to choosing and formatting backgrounds is key to PowerPoint success. Follow this guide to access and apply colors, textures, images and themes using the built-in tools. Combine these design elements thoughtfully to enhance visual appeal and keep your audience engaged from start to finish. With compelling, professional-looking slides, you can present your ideas with confidence and authority.