Change the Background of One or More Slides in a PowerPoint Deck

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated April 5, 2020

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

In PowerPoint, you can change the background of individual slides, selected slides based on a layout, or all slides based on a slide master. Slide backgrounds can be changed to a color, pattern, gradient, texture or picture. In this article, we’ll look at applying color, gradient and picture backgrounds.

It’s important to understand that every PowerPoint presentation has a  document theme applied to it. A document theme (or overall theme) includes a font theme, a color theme, an effect theme and a slide master with a set of layouts. Some themes may contain multiple slide masters. You can apply a theme by clicking the Design tab in the Ribbon. and then clicking a theme in the Themes gallery. If you change the document theme, you may change the background of all of your slides.

Recommended article: How to Remove the Background From an Image in PowerPoint

Note that applying slide backgrounds is different from inserting a picture on a slide, resizing it and sending it to the back.

In this article, we’re using the Format Background task pane to change slide backgrounds, not the Ribbon.

Changing the background of a single slide in Normal View

To change the background color of a single slide:

  1. Go to Normal View (you may need to click the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen).
  2. Display the slide with the slide background you want to change.
  3. Right-click on a blank part of the slide. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  5. Click Solid Color and then select a color from the color drop-down menu. Do not click Apply to All.

In the example below, a solid color is selected for the background:

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with solid color selected.

To change the background of a single slide to a gradient:

  1. Go to Normal View (click the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen).
  2. Display the slide with the slide background you want to change.
  3. Right-click on a blank part of the slide. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Click Gradient fill.
  5. If you would like to use a Preset gradient, select one from the Preset drop-down menu.
  6. If you would like to change the type of gradient, select a type from the Type drop-down menu. These include Linear, Radial, Rectangular or Path.
  7. If you would like to change the direction of the gradient, select a direction from the Direction drop-down menu.
  8. If you would like to set an angle (for linear gradients), select an angle from the Angle drop-down menu.
  9. If you would like to change the color of a gradient stop, under Gradient stops, click the stop and select a color from the Color drop-down menu. Repeat for other gradient stops. To delete a stop, click it and click the Remove Gradient Stop (x) to the right of the gradient stops. It’s usually easiest to have 2 stops. You can also change the Position, Transparency and Brightness settings for each gradient stop. Do not click Apply to All.

In the Format background task pane below, note there are two stop points with different colors:

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with gradient stops with different colors.

To change the background of a single slide to a picture:

  1. Go to Normal View (click the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen).
  2. Display the slide with the slide background you want to change.
  3. Right-click on a blank part of the slide. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  5. Click Picture or Texture Fill.
  6. In PowerPoint 2013 or 2016, under Insert, click Picture from File. If a dialog box appears, click Offline. In PowerPoint 2019 or 365, under Picture Source, click Insert. A dialog box appears. Click Insert from File.
  7. Navigate to the folder with the picture you want to use.
  8. Double-click the picture. Do not click Apply to All.

Note that Picture or texture fill is selected for the background in the following example (in PowerPoint 365 which is similar in 2013, 2016 and 2019):

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with a picture selected for the background.

Changing the background of all slides in Slide Master View

If you change the background of a slide master, all of the layouts based on that slide master (in the slide master set) should change unless an individual layout’s background has been changed. In most presentations, there is only one slide master and its associated layouts but there can be more than one slide master. Here, we’ll assume there is only one slide master and the backgrounds of the layouts have not been changed.

To change the background color of all slides in Slide Master View:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the slide master on the top left in the thumbnails (this thumbnail is larger and normally appears with a 1 beside it).
  4. Right-click on a blank part of the slide in the area on the right. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  6. Click Solid Color and then select a color from the color drop-down menu.
  7. Go to Normal View by clicking the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen to view the changes.

In the example below, a solid color is selected for the background:

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with solid color selected.

To change the background of all slides to a gradient in Slide Master View:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the slide master on the top left in the thumbnails (this thumbnail is larger and normally appears with a 1 beside it).
  4. Right-click on a blank part of the slide in the area on the right. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  6. Click Gradient fill.
  7. If you would like to use a Preset gradient, select one from the Preset drop-down menu.
  8. If you would like to change the type of gradient, select a type from the Type drop-down menu. These include Linear, Radial, Rectangular or Path.
  9. If you would like to change the direction of the gradient, select a direction from the Direction drop-down menu.
  10. If you would like to set an angle (for linear gradients), select an angle from the Angle drop-down menu.
  11. If you would like to change the color of a gradient stop, under Gradient stops, click the stop and select a color from the Color drop-down menu. Repeat for other gradient stops. To delete a stop, click it and click the Remove Gradient Stop (x) to the right of the gradient stops. It’s usually easiest to have 2 stops. You can also change the Position, Transparency and Brightness settings for each gradient stop. Do not click Apply to All.
  12. Go to Normal View by clicking the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen to view the changes.

In the Format background task pane below, note there are two stop points with different colors:

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with gradient stops with different colors.

To change the background of all slides to a picture (stored on your hard drive or a shared drive) in Slide Master View:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the slide master on the top left in the thumbnails (this thumbnail is larger and normally appears with a 1 beside it).
  4. Right-click on a blank part of the slide in the area on the right. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  6. Click Picture or Texture Fill.
  7. In PowerPoint 2013 or 2016, under Insert, click Picture from File. If a dialog box appears, click Offline. In PowerPoint 2019 or 365, under Picture Source, click Insert. A dialog box appears. Click Insert from File.
  8. Navigate to the folder with the picture you want to use.
  9. Double-click the picture.
  10. Go to Normal View by clicking the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen to view the changes.

Note that Picture or texture fill is selected for the background in the following example (in PowerPoint 365 which is similar in 2013, 2016 and 2019):

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with a picture selected for the background.

Changing the background of slides using a specific layout in Slide Master View

In a PowerPoint presentation, every slide is assigned a layout. If you change the background of a slide layout in Slide Master View, all slides using that layout should change. However, if a slide background has been changed for an individual slide in Normal View, it no longer follows the background of its associated slide layout.

To apply or change a slide’s layout:

  1. In Normal View, display the slide with the layout you want to change
  2. Click the Home tab in the Ribbon and select Layout in the Slides group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Click the layout you want to apply.

To change the background color of slides using a specific layout in Slide Master View:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the desired slide layout on the left in the thumbnails. When you point to a slide layout, a pop-up appears with the name of the layout.
  4. Right-click on a blank part of the slide in the area on the right. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  6. Click Solid Color and then select a color from the color drop-down menu. Do not click Apply to All.
  7. Go to Normal View by clicking the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen to view the changes.

In the example below, a solid color is selected for the background:

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with solid color selected.

To change the background of slides using a specific layout to a gradient in Slide Master View:

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the desired slide layout on the left in the thumbnails. When you point to a slide layout, a pop-up appears with the name of the layout.
  4. Right-click on a blank part of the slide in the area on the right. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  6. Click Gradient fill.
  7. If you would like to use a Preset gradient, select one from the Preset drop-down menu.
  8. If you would like to change the type of gradient, select a type from the Type drop-down menu. These include Linear, Radial, Rectangular or Path.
  9. If you would like to change the direction of the gradient, select a direction from the Direction drop-down menu.
  10. If you would like to set an angle (for linear gradients), select an angle from the Angle drop-down menu.
  11. If you would like to change the color of a gradient stop, under Gradient stops, click the stop and select a color from the Color drop-down menu. Repeat for other gradient stops. To delete a stop, click it and click the Remove Gradient Stop (x) to the right of the gradient stops. It’s usually easiest to have 2 stops. You can also change the Position, Transparency and Brightness settings for each gradient stop. Do not click Apply to All.
  12. Go to Normal View by clicking the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen to view the changes.

In the Format background task pane below, note there are two stop points with different colors:

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with gradient stops with different colors.

Note that Picture or texture fill is selected for the background in the following example (in PowerPoint 365 which is similar in 2013, 2016 and 2019):

  1. Click the View tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click Slide Master in the Master Views group.
  3. Click the desired slide layout on the left in the thumbnails. When you point to a slide layout, a pop-up appears with the name of the layout.
  4. Right-click on a blank part of the slide in the area on the right. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. Select Format Background. The Format Background task pane appears.
  6. Click Picture or Texture Fill.
  7. In PowerPoint 2013 or 2016, under Insert, click Picture from File. If a dialog box appears, click Offline. In PowerPoint 2019 or 365, under Picture Source, click Insert. A dialog box appears. Click Insert from File.
  8. Navigate to the folder with the picture you want to use.
  9. Double-click the picture. Do not click Apply to All.
  10. Go to Normal View by clicking the Normal button on the bottom right of the screen to view the changes.

Note that Picture or texture fill is selected for the background (in PowerPoint 365 which is very similar in 2013, 2016 and 2019):

Format background task pane in PowerPoint with a picture selected for the background.

Summary and considerations

You can use the Ribbon to apply backgrounds as well but the Format Background task pane offers the most flexibility.

if you want to change the background of multiple slides, it’s usually best to change either the slide master or layouts in Slide Master View.

A picture background can be problematic if you want to format, crop or animate the picture. As an alternative, consider inserting a picture and sending it to the back as opposed to changing the background to a picture. You an insert pictures on a slide in both Normal View or on a slide master or layouts in Slide Master View.

If you are having difficulty editing slide backgrounds, you may have multiple masters and associated layouts. In Slide Master View, scroll down on the left in the thumbnails to see if there are more masters and associated layouts. Right-click on any masters and / or layouts that you don’t need and select Delete from the drop-down menu. Note that you cannot delete a layout or master that is being used by one or more slides in Normal View.

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.

Related

10 Great PowerPoint Drawing Tricks and Shortcuts

PowerPoint Slide Show Shortcuts (50+ Keyboard Shortcuts)

How to Add Slide Numbers in PowerPoint

Recommended Microsoft Office courses

Microsoft PowerPoint: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft PowerPoint: Design for Non-Designers

Microsoft PowerPoint: Animations Bootcamp

Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Our instructor-led classroom courses are delivered at our downtown Toronto location at 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada (some courses may also be delivered at an alternate downtown Toronto location). Contact us if you’d like to arrange custom training at your office on a date that’s convenient for you.

To request this page in an alternate format, contact us.

Copyright 2020 Avantix® Learning 

You may also like

How to Insert Today’s Date in Microsoft Word

How to Insert Today’s Date in Microsoft Word

You can insert today’s date into a Word document as a static date or as a dynamic date field that updates when a document is opened or printed. Word picks up the current date from the system date and the default formatting from your computer’s regional settings.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning | 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1W7 | info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
How to Change the Background of Your PowerPoint Slides
Article Name
How to Change the Background of Your PowerPoint Slides
Description
In PowerPoint, you can change the background of individual slides, selected slides based on a layout, or all slides based on a slide master.s. Slide backgrounds can be changed to a color, gradient, texture or picture.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning Inc.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This