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How to Quickly Edit PPT Slide Background Graphics Using PowerPoint

This post is part of a series called How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Work With Images in PowerPoint (Complete PPT Picture Guide)
How to Use and Edit PowerPoint Master Slides

PowerPoint has plenty of tools and options to build great-looking slides. That includes using background images or graphics to create unique slide designs. Instead of using solid color backgrounds, use an image or graphic as the backdrop to your content.

Background images and graphics in PowerPoint
In this example, I've placed an image I shot that's available on Unsplash as a background image for a PowerPoint slide.

Here's what we'll cover in this tutorial:

  1. How to set a different background image for each slide in your PowerPoint presentation.
  2. How to add the same image background more permanently to a slide layout, so that you can re-use it.
  3. How to reduce the opacity of a background image or graphic so that it blends in with the slide color.

In this tutorial, you'll learn to use PowerPoint background graphics. Use these steps to discover to place a logo or small graphic on a slide or add a full screen background image. Let's get started.

How to Quickly Edit PowerPoint Background Graphics (Watch & Learn)

Check out the screencast below for a quick guide on how to add your own images to PowerPoint slide backgrounds. I'll walk you through adding an image to a single slide and adding it to a presentation layout for easy re-use.

In this tutorial, we use the powerful Be PowerPoint template from GraphicRiver. It includes several slide layout options that are ready to work with quickly. 

You can find plenty of professional PowerPoint templates on GraphicRiver, which you can buy individually for use. Or, discover more top PowerPoint designs at Envato Elements,  which is a monthly subscription to unlimited design assets. Browse through this collection to find the best of this year to make your presentation with: 

Now, read on for the illustrated guide to adding and editing image backgrounds in PowerPoint:

Where to Source Professional Images and Graphics for Your Presentation

It's helpful to have a library of images to choose from for your PowerPoint slide backgrounds. Here are helpful sources where you can get high-quality images for your PowerPoint presentations:

1. Premium - Envato Elements

Envato Elements is an all-you-can-download buffet for designers. With a subscription to Elements, you've access to hundreds of thousands of royalty-free stock photos. 

Elements royalty free stock photos
Elements royalty free stock photos.

Besides photos, a subscription to Elements includes other tools you can use with PowerPoint, like graphics and illustrations, and professional PowerPoint themes. If you use PowerPoint regularly, an Elements subscription is a must.

2. Free - Unsplash

Unsplash is a favorite amongst web and print designers. The reason? The images are free!

Check out Unsplash for free to use images
Check out Unsplash for free to use images.

How to Add an Image Background to a Single PowerPoint Slide

Once you've selected an image or a graphic, let's now make it a PowerPoint slide background. Start off by selecting the slide that you want to add a background image to.

Now, insert the image into the slide. Either paste it from your clipboard or go to the Insert menu and browse to where the image is saved on your device.

Image inserted into PowerPoint
To add an image to a slide, either paste it from your clipboard or use the Insert > Image option on the PowerPoint ribbon.

Now, resize and reposition the image so that it covers the entire slide. Grab the corner of the image (white circle on the corner) and click and drag to increase the size so that it covers the slide. 

In the example below, the image is actually larger than the slide after it's resized. That's no problem though; PowerPoint will only show the slide area when presenting.

Image covering slide background in PowerPoint
After resizing the image, it covers the entire slide background and beyond.

The image is now set for the background. Only one problem: our slide content is covered up!

To fix this, we need to send the image to the back of the slide. Your slide has layers and an order that things are stacked in. The image should be the bottom layer so that all your text and content sit on top of it.

To send an image to the bottom layer, right click it and choose Send to Back. The rest of your slide should come back into view as the image is now sitting on the bottom of the content stack.

Send to back in PowerPoint layers
Right click an image and choose Send to Back to move all content on top of the background image.

That's it! You've now set a full screen image as the slide background for a PowerPoint slide.

How to Add an Image Background Using PowerPoint Slide Layout

In the previous example, you added an image background to a single PowerPoint slide. Let's learn how to add an image background to a slide layout so that it appears each time you use that layout in your presentation.

First, it might help to understand what a slide layout is. Layouts can be found on the Home tab on PowerPoint's ribbons. 

There's a layout drop-down where you can select a layout, which is a set of placeholders for your slide. Choose a layout to put these placeholders on a slide and fill it with your content.

Slide layout in PowerPoint
Choose a slide layout from the Layouts drop-down to add a slide design to your active slide.

Layouts are re-usable. If you want a background image to appear each time you use a slide, it's best to add it to a slide layout.

Let's go to the View menu and choose Slide Master. On the left side, you'll see thumbnails for each of the slide layouts in your theme. Select one of these layouts on the left side to add a background image to it.

Slide Master in PowerPoint
Go to View > Slide Master view and choose a layout on the left side to add a background image to the selected layout.

With a layout selected, paste or insert the image as the background. Then, send it to the back (right click > Send to Back) just as we did in the first example.

Background image added in PowerPoint
Add the image to your slide and send it to the back of the slide to make it a background image.

Now, leave Slide Master view by going to View > Normal. Return to the Layouts drop-down and you'll see the new master view with a background image added.

Layout with background image in PowerPoint
You can see the layout with a background image added from the Layouts thumbnails.

All the same tricks we discussed above work as well. You'll need to use Slide Master view if you want to have an image appear each time you use the layout.

How to Change the Opacity of an Image Background in PowerPoint

Now, let's learn how to dim an image or graphic when it's placed on a slide. If you want the image to fade into the background and be less visible, we'll need to change the opacity of it. We'll make the picture partially transparent.

To use this trick, we'll need to draw in a shape, then set an image as the background for this shape.

Let's start off by grabbing the shape tool. Go to the Insert tab on the ribbon and find the Shapes drop-down. For this example, choose the Rectangle shape.

Insert Rectangle shape in PowerPoint
Go to the Insert tab on PowerPoint's ribbon and choose Shape. Then, choose the rectangle shape.

Go to the Insert tab on PowerPoint's ribbon and choose Shape. Then, choose the rectangle shape.

Now, draw in a rectangle shape on your slide. Draw a rectangle that covers the entire slide. 

Draw shape in PowerPoint
With the rectangle tool selected, draw the shape over the entire slide to create a background image placeholder.

Now, right click on the shape and choose Format Shape. This opens a new menu on the right side where we can set an image background to the shape.

Format Shape in PowerPoint
Right click the shape and choose Format Shape to open a new menu on the right side.

Now, you'll need to set an image as the background for the shape. Choose the Picture or texture fill box. Now, set the image you want to use for the background by clicking on File to browse for an image. Or use Clipboard to paste in the image that you've copied to your clipboard.

Set image as slide background of PowerPoint shape
Choose Picture or texture fill. Then use the Insert picture from options to add an image from your computer or clipboard.

Now, adjust the opacity of the picture using the Transparency slider. Pull this slider up to dim the image and reduce the opacity.

Control the Image transparency in PowerPoint
Pull the transparency slider up to reduce the opacity of the background image, fading it into the slide background.

Leave the Tile picture as texture box so that the image isn't stretched in the window and covers the entire shape area.

It takes some extra steps to get this right, but it can create a great effect. Start with a shape, set an image as the background. Then dim the transparency.

How to Quickly Delete Background Images in PowerPoint

This section will help you solve two of the key causes that might slow you down in PowerPoint while you remove background graphics. Let's learn how to delete background graphics in PowerPoint so that you can customize it. For this part of the tutorial, I'll use the Moob - Creative PowerPoint template from Envato Elements.

How to Delete Background Images That Can't Be Selected

One frustration that many PowerPoint users encounter is that they can't select the background image. 

That's because this image is on the PowerPoint slide master. That means that the image is added to a "lower-level" design that isn't specific to the selected slide. You can't select this image until you switch to Slide Master view.

Go to View > Slide Master to select a background image on the master.

Update slide master in Moob
Having trouble selecting a background image? Check the Slide Master on the View > Slide Master menu, then delete it.

Learning how to delete background graphics in PowerPoint sometimes depends on switching to the master view.

How to Remove Hidden Background Images

Sometimes, the image is hard to select but isn't added to the master. In this case, it might be hidden behind another layer.

This is a popular technique when a color overlay is added as you saw in the section above. Before you can delete the PowerPoint background, you'll have to shuffle the layers to select the proper one.

Choose the color overlay layer, then right-click it and choose Send to Back. After you do this, you can select the image directly.

Send to Back background image
Send any layers on top of your background image to the back with the Send to Back option.

Now, you can edit the "true" background image. That helps you totally customize your slide with ease.

The Best Source for PowerPoint Background Graphics in Templates (With Unlimited Downloads)

You don't have to design a PowerPoint with background graphics from scratch. With the help of Envato Elements, you can download an unlimited number of PowerPoint templates. A single flat-rate subscription gives you the best designs for a low monthly cost.

It's simple to use Elements. Just start your subscription. You can instantly download every template in the library! That saves you time and helps you create your best presentation yet.

Envato Elements PowerPoint templates
Use Envato Elements to source the best PowerPoint templates with background graphics built in.

Not only will you unlock PowerPoint templates, but you'll also gain access to plenty of extras. That includes stock photos and other visual elements you can add to your presentation.

5 Top Templates With Great Backgrounds on Envato Elements

Envato Elements has a massive library of PowerPoint templates. Let's check out five of the best options included with your flat-rate subscription.

1. Enjoy PowerPoint Template

Enjoy PowerPoint template

As you work in PowerPoint, remove background graphics with a powerful and stunning template like this modern offering. Inside, you’ll find 100 custom slides with a variety of unique designs. Free fonts are used throughout to bring text to life.

2. Moob Creative PowerPoint Template

Moob Creative PowerPoint Template

With 30 slide layouts and vector elements, you can add background graphics PowerPoint designs in a flash. MOOB includes a complete set of image placeholders and features that are quickly customizable. Master slide designs drive the theme, enabling rapid bulk edits.

3. Self Creative PowerPoint Presentation

Self Creative PowerPoint Presentation

As you search for a PPT design, are you wondering how to delete background graphics in PowerPoint? With a selection like this, you’ll find resizable shapes, custom design features, and more. Plus, widescreen layouts make your slides look great on any display.

4. Bolo PowerPoint Template

Bolo PowerPoint Template

Looking for versatility in a PowerPoint slide template design? Bolo includes a wide variety of features, such as infographics, timelines, charts, and more. Each one is completely customizable with just a few clicks.

5. Ciri PowerPoint Template

Ciri PowerPoint Template

Charts and creative layouts characterize the Ciri PowerPoint Template. It's all presented in a modern style. The minimalist aesthetic ensures any message you present will maximize audience engagement. Help files are included to help you get started.

Check out even more templates that help you add background graphics to PowerPoint:

Learn More About Using PowerPoint

Background images and graphics can create beautiful backdrops for your slide content. They're easy to add to a single slide or the slide master for repeated use. Both are effective techniques to add background graphics to PowerPoint.

At Envato Tuts+, we're building a library of PowerPoint content that'll help you quickly and confidently make PowerPoint presentations. Check out our guide, How to Use PowerPoint (Ultimate Tutorial Guide.) Also, check out these top tutorials:

Add and Delete Background Graphics in PowerPoint Easily

As a presenter, you need every tool at your disposal to create a great presentation. It helps when you understand how to add and remove background graphics as you saw in this tutorial.

Don't forget, you can source PowerPoint templates with beautiful built-in backgrounds. Save time when you add background graphics to PowerPoint by using an Envato Elements template. Or, pay-as-you-go with a template from GraphicRiver.

How do you use images and graphics in your own slide backgrounds? Let me know in the comments section below. If you haven't already made use of PowerPoint background graphics, why not download a few and get started?

Note: This tutorial was originally published in August of 2017. It's been comprehensively updated with the assistance of Andrew Childress.

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