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How do I create my own background as a picture?

The Chart of the Month July 2009 focuses on concepts that employ a custom-made background saved as a picture, but you can find many uses for creating a custom background and then saving it as a picture: cutting it up as a puzzle, muting it like a watermark and placing it behind other graphics or text on a slide, etc.

You can include anything you want in these save-as-picture graphics: photographs, text, graphics. A couple things to remember, however. If you select a bunch of free-floating objects without an underlying field (we used a gray underlying field in the examples below), you will need to save the picture as a PNG. PNGs can be created with transparent backgrounds. If you try to save free-floating objects without an underlying field, the background of the picture will be black. Also, don't save as an EMF. EMFs can be ungrouped and the elements accessed, which makes the graphic very large and adds too much size to your slide/presentation.

Whether you are using PowerPoint 2003 or 2007, you'll be able to create custom backgrounds and save them as a picture.

PowerPoint 2007 and PowerPoint 2003 directions are the same

  1. Begin by creating a background, which in this case is a gray rectangle that extends beyond the slide's left and right borders (see below). The use WordArt to create your text (we've used "Day-to-day business"). Size the WordArt phrase and then duplicate the phrase field several times. Create an evenly spaced row of these phrases and place at the top of the background rectangle. Duplicate the row and offset it below the first row. Duplicate again and offset the third row. Continue to duplicate and offset the rows until you have a pattern that occupies the the full height of the background rectangle. You should, of course, apply colors to the background and WordArt from your template's color palette.

    Notice in the graphic below how the gray background and the rows of WordArt extend beyond the left and right borders of the slide.

  2. Select the background and the rows of WordArt, right click on one of the active fields, and select "Save as Picture." We chose to save the example background and rows of WordArt as a jpg. Remember to save it to a place you'll be able to find it on your computer.

  3. Bring the saved-as-picture graphic onto your slide. See below to see what the saved-as-picture graphic looks like when brought into your slide. The right side of the graphic has been cropped so that it fits perfectly on the slide. The left side hasn't been cropped yet, but should be before going to the next step.

You now have a picture of the background that you made. Pictures are easier to work with since there is only one field and sizing is simple.

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