How to Change the Background in Microsoft PowerPoint

The background of your PowerPoint slides can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of your presentation. Whether you want to use a solid color, gradient, image or even a video, customizing the slide background is a great way to add visual interest to your presentation.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about changing the background in PowerPoint, including:

1. Accessing the Format Background Menu

The first step to changing your PowerPoint background is accessing the “Format Background” menu. Here’s how:

  • Select the slide or slides you want to modify.
  • Go to the “Design” tab on the ribbon.
  • Click on “Format Background” in the “Customize” section.

Alternatively, you can right-click directly on the slide and select “Format Background” from the context menu. This will open the formatting options for just that individual slide.

2. Choosing a Solid Fill Background

The simplest background option is to use a solid color fill. Here’s how to do it:

  • In the Format Background pane, choose “Solid Fill” from the Fill menu.
  • Click the color box to open the color palette.
  • Select the desired background color.

You can also customize the transparency of the color using the slider. Dragging it left will make the color more opaque, while dragging it right makes it more transparent.

3. Using a Gradient Background

For a more sophisticated look, you can use a gradient background that transitions smoothly between two colors.

To do this:

  • Select “Gradient Fill” from the Fill menu.
  • Choose one of the preset gradient styles.
  • Click the gradient stops to change the gradient colors.

Use the transparency slider to adjust the gradient opacity. You can also rotate the gradient or change the shading style.

4. Adding an Image or Texture Background

Using a photo or texture as a slide background can really make your presentation pop. Here are the steps:

  • Choose “Picture or texture fill” from the Fill menu.
  • Click “File” to select an image from your computer.
  • Find and insert the desired picture.

PowerPoint will insert the image across the entire slide background. Adjust the transparency, positioning, tiling and other settings to get it looking just right.

5. Applying Video Backgrounds

You can also set a video as your PowerPoint background to add motion and interest – here’s how:

  • Select the “Video” background option from the Fill menu.
  • Click the “Video” icon to insert an MP4 video file.
  • Adjust options like trimming the start/end points and video looping.

Note that video backgrounds can increase file size and won’t work in older PowerPoint versions. Test carefully!

6. Using Theme and Texture Backgrounds

PowerPoint includes a selection of preset background textures and themes you can use as a starting point.

  • Click “Themes” in the Format Background pane.
  • Browse the textures and themes and select one to apply.
  • Customize it further using the other formatting options.

Theme backgrounds are a quick way to apply custom backgrounds with coordinated fonts and colors.

7. Removing Background Graphics

Some slide layouts come with default background graphics you may want to remove. Here’s how:

  • Go to the “Customize” section of the “Design” tab.
  • Check the box next to “Hide Background Graphics” to remove any existing artwork or shapes.

This will clear the background fully, allowing you to apply your own custom background.

8. Applying Backgrounds to Multiple Slides

By default, background changes only apply to the currently selected slide. But you can easily apply them to multiple slides:

  • After setting the desired background, click “Apply to All” in the Format Background pane.
  • Alternatively, edit the Slide Master to change backgrounds for all slides based on that master.

Using the Slide Master allows you to make global changes while still having different backgrounds per layout.

9. Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common background issues and how to fix them:

  • Background not applying properly: Save your background as a custom theme and reapply it.
  • Blurry or pixelated images: Use higher resolution source images or adjust transparency.
  • Unexpected background resizing: Check the “Scale” option in the Format Background pane.

Taking a bit of time to finesse your background formatting can really take your PowerPoint slides to the next level visually. Use the tips in this guide to quickly customize the slide background in your next presentation.

Let me know if you have any other questions!