How to blend images into the background in PowerPoint

You can blend images into the background in PowerPoint using a washout effect. This reduces the vibrancy of the colours, but the image stays visible. Using images with a washout effect is a good way of combining subtle information from pictures with a stronger text-based message.

Run PowerPoint. Click the “Insert Picture” icon, as it is known in PowerPoint 2003, or “Picture” icon in later versions. This shows an image of a mountain range beneath the sun. Alternatively, click “Insert,” slide the pointer through “Picture” and click “From File…”

Navigate to your picture. Click it. The picture appears on the PowerPoint slide. Reposition the image as required by dragging it. Resize the image by clicking and dragging the corner handles diagonally, one way or the other.

Right-click the image. Click “Format Picture…” Below "Image control" you will see "Color." It will probably be set to "Automatic." Click the down-arrow to the right of this. Select “Washout.” You can also adjust the brightness and contrast using the sliders, if you wish. Click “Preview” to see the effect. Click “OK” when the effect is as you want it.

Right-click the image again. Slide the pointer through “Order >.” Click “Send to Back.” The image now blends into the background. If you add text to the slide, it will be visible above the image.


You can make the image larger than the slide if you wish. Only the part of it contained within the slide will be visible when you run the presentation. However, this technique can be used to good effect.

A quick way to start a presentation is to press F5.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.