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Tutorial for

Design Elements 011

Photo/Icon Frame

Using the Design Element

These elements are nice little design flourishes and help to elevate the look of a presentation. They can be used to add interest to a slide or as a snazzy way to to structure bulleted text. The design element used in the series example (to the right) is backed by a photograph and has strong visual appeal. This example was produced entirely in PowerPoint – even making the rectangular photo an oval – it's pretty simple (see below for instructions). In addition to the oval, there are also three other shapes in this series for you to use: horizontally oriented rectangle, a triangle, and a hexagon. The ovals and rectangles are perfect for use with photos, and the triangles and hexagons are more for icons and numbers.

Each of these design elements have been developed two ways: one for a light background and one for a dark background. The thumbnail for each will help guide your selections. Be aware, however, that the PowerPoint downloads will have both the horizontal and vertical versions of the design element you select. We do this to help promote consistency in your presentations. We like consistency.

Customizing the design elements


Size the design elements by holding the shift key down to scale. When using multiples, size them together for consistency.


You cannot apply color to these frameworks by selecting fill or line colors. They are PNGs and do not take that type of formatting. If you'd like to add color and you are using a pre-PowerPoint 2007 version, place an colored oval, rectangle, hexagon, or triangle behind the design element as appropriate.

If you are using PowerPoint 2007, however, you can change the color by recoloring the design element as a photograph: make the design element active, click on "format," click on "Recolor," and choose your color.

For more on how to color PNG images read the FAQ - How can I recolor the PNGs in the Design Elements Category?

3D variations

These frameworks cannot accept 3D effects.


Don't use shadows with these design elements.

Gradients, patterns, and pictures

Gradients and patterns cannot be added to these design elements. You can use photographs to back the design elements, however; but they need to be brought in as a separate field instead of applying a picture through formatting in the fill effects menu.

We don't normally provide PowerPoint tutorials, but learning how to create an oval photograph from a rectangular photograph is important to know when using the oval version in this design element series.

First of all, you want to keep this in mind: only a horizontally oriented photograph can be used to produce a horizontally oriented oval. If the orientations are mixed, the photographs will skew and become unusable.

  1. Identify the photo(s) you wish to convert to ovals and click insert - picture - New Photo Album from the menu (see below).

  1. Click on File/Disk button and navigate to the photo you wish to make oval. Double click on the photo or select insert.
  1. In the Album Layout section: choose 4 pictures for picture layout and oval for frame shape and click create at the bottom of the screen.

The picture will show up in a newly created PowerPoint document, from which you can copy the newly "ovalized" photograph into your presentation and size it to fit with the oval design element. Easy.


There is no downloadable animated example for this series. Since it is a design element, which can also be used as a bullet alternative layout, simple reveals are all that are needed.

Animations should be selected that will enhance the meaning of the message, not merely to add interest to the slide. Do not animate the design element separately from the photograph/graphic/text with which it is associated.

Click on a name for more information.
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger image