Tables provide a more structured layout for your slides in PowerPoint but they are flexible too -- images and other types of media can be inserted as well as text and lists. Each cell within a PowerPoint table can use an image as a background, which is then automatically stretched or tiled to fit the dimensions of the cell. Alternatively you can choose a picture from disk which is then used as the background for the entire table.
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Open the PowerPoint presentation you wish to work with and navigate to the slide containing the relevant table. Click inside the cell where the picture is to be inserted.
Click or tap the "Design" tab on the ribbon menu under the Table Tools heading to open it, then select "Shading" and choose "Picture" from the drop-down menu.
Click or tap "Browse" by the "From a file" heading to choose an image from disk. Pictures can also be imported from the Office clip-art library, Bing search or an online service such as SkyDrive, Facebook or Flickr.
Select the cell containing the image as its new background. Open the "Layout" tab under the Table Tools heading and make adjustments to the Height and Width fields in the Cell Size section as required. The image is automatically stretched to fill the available space.
Right-click or tap and hold on the image, then choose "Format Shape" from the menu to bring up more options. Select the paint bucket icon to open the Fill menu, where you can change the transparency of the picture, opt to tile it rather than stretch it, and introduce margins at each side of the cell.
Tips and warnings
- You can also adjust the size of the cell containing the image (and therefore the size of the picture itself) by hovering the mouse cursor over the edges of the cell, then clicking and dragging to resize it. Text can be overlayed on top of your background image if required.
- Pictures loaded into PowerPoint via the Insert tab can be positioned and resized to fit into a table cell, but the cell does not adjust automatically in response. Unless you group the table and image together, they will not move together either.
- Choose "Table Background" and then "Picture" from the "Shading" drop-down menu to set a single image as the background to the entire table. The picture will only be visible behind cells that are set to have no other fill (either a colour or image).
- The steps above have been tested on Office 2013/365 the latest version of the suite as of April 2013. If you are using PowerPoint from a different version of Office the exact procedure may vary.
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