You can use abstract images to create interesting, textured backgrounds for slides or shapes. For example, Nancy Duarte’s signature slide uses a textured image background. You can see an example here. (If you have PowerPoint 2010, you have this presentation. Choose File> New> Sample Templates> 5 Rules.)
Here’s an example, using abstract images as a fill for the shapes of a diagram.
First, you have to find an abstract image. That’s fairly easy. For example, go to stock.xchng and enter abstract in the search box. Find some images whose legal agreement allows you to use them the way you want (most are pretty liberal on that site) and download them. Here are 3 that I downloaded:
Another easy technique is to take your own abstract photos! Any object with a texture that is mostly one color works well. Here are some ideas:
- A close-up of a piece of fabric
- A close-up of the hair of a pet
- A piece of wood or furniture
Then use the images as a background for a shape or slide.
Use an abstract image as a shape background
To use an image as a fill for a shape, follow these steps:
- Double-click the shape to display the Picture Tools Format tab.
- Choose Shape File> Picture and double-click the picture file that you want to use.
- If you want to remove the outline (I often do), choose Shape Outline> No Outline.
Use an abstract image as a slide background
To use an image as a slide background, display either the slide or the slide master. If you want to apply the background to all layouts in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, click the top, larger layout in the left pane.
- Right-click an empty area of the slide or slide master and choose Format Background.
- In the Format Background dialog box, for the Fill category, choose Picture or Texture Fill.
- Click the File button and double-click the picture file that you want to use.
In PowerPoint 2010 only, in the same Format Background or Format Shape dialog box, you can do the following: (These are a great new feature of PowerPoint 2010 that people don’t often point out–the ability to edit a background image in the same way you can edit an inserted image)
- Use the Picture Corrections category to soften or sharpen the image, as well as change the brightness and contrast.
- Use the Picture Color category to change the saturation or tone, or to recolor the image.
- Use the Artistic Effects category to choose one of the preset effects.
Here you see the Picture Corrections category of the Format Background dialog box in PowerPoint 2010.
These options give you unlimited possibilities!
How do you use abstract images?