How to Create Transparent Text in PowerPoint 2016

Creating transparent text in PowerPoint allows you to overlay text over images or background colors, adding visual interest to your slides. While PowerPoint doesn’t have a built-in transparency option for text, you can create the illusion of transparent text with a few easy steps.

What You Need

To create transparent text, you’ll need:

  • A background image or solid color to show through the text
  • Contrasting text that stands out against the background
  • A wide font so the background is visible

You can think of it as layers – the background is the bottom layer, the contrasting text in the middle, and the transparent text on top.

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to create transparent text in PowerPoint 2016:

Add Background Image or Color

First, add a background image or solid color fill to your slide. This will be the layer that shows through the transparent text.

To add an image:

  • Select the Insert tab
  • Click Pictures
  • Select your image file and insert

To add a solid color:

  • Select the slide background
  • Click Format Background on the Design tab
  • Choose a solid fill color

Add Contrasting Text Box

Next, insert a text box and add text in a contrasting color to the background image or fill color. This text will help the transparent text stand out.

  • Select the Insert tab
  • Click Text Box
  • Type your text
  • Format the text in a contrasting color using the Text Fill option

Make Wide Font Text Transparent

Finally, add a second text box with wide font text, such as Chiller, over the first text box. Then adjust the fill transparency to make this text appear transparent:

  • Insert a second text box
  • Type text in a wide font like Chiller
  • With text selected, go to Shape Fill on the Format tab
  • Adjust Transparency slider to desired transparency level

Formatting Tips

  • Use very wide fonts like Chiller, so the background shows through
  • Make sure background and contrasting text colors differ
  • Adjust transparency slider for different levels of see-through text
  • Add visual interest with a textured or patterned background image

Creative Ideas

Transparent text opens up many creative possibilities for your PowerPoint slides. Here are some ideas:

Overlay on Photos

Use transparent text to overlay words directly onto photos for an artistic effect. This works well for inspirational quotes or photo captions.

Emphasize Key Points

Make most text fully opaque, with only a few key words transparent to draw the viewer’s eye. The see-through text stands out and emphasizes those words.

Section Dividers

Use transparent text in large fonts as section headers over background images to visually divide your presentation.

Textures and Patterns

A textured or patterned background image, like water or wood, looks interesting under transparent text. The text takes on the texture or pattern.


If your transparent text looks blurry or hard to read:

  • Check that background & contrasting text colors differ
  • Use wider fonts and adjust transparency slider
  • Make sure no other effects are applied to the text

And that’s it! With just a few easy steps, you can create transparent text effects to make your PowerPoint 2016 presentations more visually compelling.