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Tutorial for Design Elements 032 – Patterns

PowerPoint 2007 does not have the capability to use patterns. This series provides a couple of basic patterns to help you regain this capability. The series tutorial will show you how to work with this series and, more importantly, how to create your own patterns for use in PowerPoint 2007.

Sometimes you just really want to use a pattern, especially in data-driven charts. Also, the series example more vividly illustrates a concept using patterns than using semitransparent overlays. The patterns have different attributes than the pattern palette in PowerPoint 2003: they can be used as see-through overlays. Patterns in PowerPoint 2003 do not have the capability of "no fill color" for the background or foreground colors in patterns. Therefore, these have a distinct advantage. See the Feature Article for August 2008 (Lisa, need link to Feature Article here) for a complete analysis of pattern capabilities in both PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 and guidance on how to develop and use patterns in PowerPoint 2007 (also found in this series' tutorial).

A more complete discussion of patterns is found in the Feature Article for August 2008.

Working with the DE032 patterns

Step 1: copy the patterns in series DE032 into your presentation. Select the patterns you wish to use and delete the rest.

It's important to understand why you need a full slide of the pattern. Each shape to which you apply the pattern will be a different size: some are large and some are small. A very large block of the pattern will ensure that you can crop the pattern to the correct size of a shape, regardless of its size. You won't need to size the pattern block to match the size of a shape and, therefore, you'll always have a consistent looking pattern from shape to shape, slide to slide, and document to document.

Step 2: Save the pattern contents of the slide (make sure that there are no other fields on the slide – no text or other fields) as a PNG picture. To do this:

  1. Select all of the lines
  2. Right-click and select Save as Picture…
  3. Route the picture to a folder that will be easy to find
  4. Name the new picture something other than Picture1
  5. Choose PNG in "Save as Type:"
  6. Click "Save"

The good news is that once you create the PNG picture of the pattern, you won't have to do it again. Just save the formatted PNG and import it the next time you want to apply a pattern that reflects your company's color scheme.

Step 3: Apply the "picture" pattern to an object:

  1. Draw, copy, or import a shape that you wish to fill with the pattern you just created (make sure it is the size you want)
  2. Drag the PNG pattern that you just created onto your slide
  3. Crop (not size) the PNG pattern so that it is the same size as your shape (click on the Format tab on the ribbon to find the crop tool)
  4. Cut (Ctrl x) the newly cropped PNG pattern so that it goes into your Clipboard

If you have more than one object on the slide to receive this pattern, then copy (Ctrl c) the newly cropped PNG pattern instead of cutting it (Ctrl x). That way it will still be on the slide so you can apply it to the next shape. To apply it to the next shape: crop the PNG pattern so that it fits the next shape – do not move it to the new shape and resize. If you crop it to the next shape, the alignments will be perfect – this is important

  1. Right click on the shape to receive the pattern. If it is a data-driven chart, right click on the segment of the chart to receive the pattern
  2. Select "Format Shape…"
  3. Click on Fill in the left-hand list on the Format Shape menu
  4. Click on Picture or texture fill
  5. Click on "Clipboard" in the Insert from: section of the menu.

This is the same procedure you've probably already used to import photographs or pieces of photographs into shapes. So this really isn't a new process, just a new application!

Color variations

Apply line colors from your company's color palette or complementary colors.

PowerPoint 2007 options

Do not apply any formatting effects to the lines.

3D variations

No 3D.


No shadows.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

No effects in these categories.

Other useful FAQs might include:

These FAQs address the same type of technique of importing a picture into a shape.


Apply animation as you would for any other formatted object.

Series that relate to this tutorial:

DE032 – Design Element 032 – PPT 2007 Patterns

Possible use example

Links to instructions for getting the framework into your presentation

  1. Determine the best file type for your needs
  2. Download the file
  3. Import the framework into your presentation
    1. Importing a PPT file
    2. Importing a EMF or PNG
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