How to Use PowerPoint Backgrounds

This is the PowerPoint tutorial for beginners that will help you learn how to download and use PowerPoint backgrounds. We will show you how to set PowerPoint templates from our or any other website.

The difference between PowerPoint backgrounds and templates

First, you should know the difference between PowerPoint template, theme and background. Although these three terms are often considered as synonyms, there is a significant difference. Microsoft says that PowerPoint template is a pattern of a slide or group of slides that you save as a .potx file. Templates usually contain layouts, theme colors, fonts, effects, background images or styles, but they also can contain some pre-made content. On the other side, PowerPoint backgrounds are simple background images in .png, .jpg and similar formats. People usually look for a PowerPoint template before they start making presentation because these templates usually have well designed slides and backgrounds with adjusted fonts and color schemes. They contain slide layouts that can be a good starting point for creating well organized slides. PowerPoint backgrounds can be a good way to enrich existing presentation. You just need to apply a background image to slides and to do some font and color scheme adjustments. To give your presentations additional quality look you can use a PowerPoint theme. Themes contain coordinating colors, a matching background, fonts, effects and layouts. You can use default themes that come with PowerPoint or you can create your own themes.

How to download and use backgrounds for PowerPoint

1. Find PowerPoint background that fits your needs. There are many sites with free  PowerPoint templates and backgrounds on the internet. You just need to do some research to find the perfect background for your presentation. You can start with our collection of free PowerPoint templates and backgrounds.

Find a PowerPoint background

2. Look for a download button.

Look for a download button

3. Save the background to your local disk. PowerPoint background can come as an image file or it can be packed into some types of compressed folders. If you download the compressed folder (for example .zip) you should extract them as it’s described in the next step.

Download the background

4. Extract files. PowerPoint backgrounds are sometimes compressed into zip folders. You will need to extract the files. To do that you can use some free programs from the internet such as 7 Zip, but you should also be able to do it by using the option in windows explorer. Just find the folder where you saved the background and click the right mouse button to show the options. There should be option to extract all the files like on the image bellow.

Extract files from zip folder

5. Open PowerPoint and look for a “Format background…” option. After you’ve extracted your background(s) you need to open existing PowerPoint presentation that you want to apply the background to, or you should create the new presentation. There are many ways to change the background in PowerPoint. Right click on the slide(s) in the left sidebar is probably the easiest one. You can also use the option in the Design tab.

Look for a Format Background option

6. Select picture. After you’ve clicked the “Format background…” option, dialogue box should open (in newer versions of PowerPoint it’s right sidebar). Check the “Picture or texture fill” and click the “File…” button.

Select Picture or texture fill

7. Browse to find extracted files. If there are multiple backgrounds choose the one that fits the most of your slides. Later you can change the background of any slide.

Browse to find extracted backgrounds

8. Apply to all slides. Click the button “Apply to All” to apply the background you’ve chosen to all slides.

Apply to all slides

9. Choose other backgrounds for front slide (or any other). If there are multiple backgrounds you may want to choose different backgrounds for some slides such as the front slide. Just select specific slide(s) and repeat steps 5, 6 and 7.

Choose another background for front slide

10. Adjust colors and font settings. Depending on the every specific background you should probably do some fonts and color adjustments to make the slides look better and be readable. You can do it by using the colors and font settings in design tab or by using the slide master view.

Adjust colors and fonts settings

Check our tutorial “How to Use PowerPoint Templates” to learn how to properly download and start using PowerPoint templates. Also, check for more free PowerPoint tutorials here.

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