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Change Background Styles for Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to apply Background Styles to individual Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






When you change Background Style of the Slide Master, the Background Style for all dependent Slide Layouts will also change. However, it is not necessary for all your Slide Layouts to possess the same Background Style as the Slide Master. Each slide Layout can have its own independent Background Style, as you will learn in the rest of this tutorial. Follow these steps to learn more in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Launch PowerPoint. You will see the  Presentation Gallery. Here, select the  Blank Presentation to open a blank presentation with a new slide.
  2. Blank presentation with Office Theme applied
    Figure 1: Blank presentation with Office Theme applied
  3. Typically the blank presentation has Office Theme applied. If your presentation is using another Theme, apply the Office Theme since this is a basic and clean Theme that lends itself best to changes and edits that we discuss later in this tutorial. If you do not know how to apply a Theme, explore our Applying Themes in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel 2016 tutorial.
  4. Now, access the View tab of the Ribbon and click the Slide Master button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.
  5. Slide Master button
    Figure 2: Slide Master button
  6. This opens the Slide Master view, as shown in Figure 3. In Slide Master view, you'll see that the left pane contains two distinctly different elements: a larger thumbnail representing the Slide Master (highlighted in red within Figure 3) and several smaller slide thumbnails below representing individual Slide Layouts (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).
  7. Slide Master View within PowerPoint
    Figure 3: Slide Master and Slide Layouts within PowerPoint
  8. Note: In hierarchy terms, Slide Layouts are dependent for their appearance on the Slide Master although you can individually override these dependencies.
  9. Now, select any of the Slide Layout(s) for which you want to change the Background Style. For this tutorial we have selected the Title Slide Layout. The orange highlight around the layout thumbnail indicates that it has been selected, as shown in Figure 4. Next, click the Background Styles button (highlighted in blue within Figure 4).
  10.  Background Styles button within Slide Master view
    Figure 4: Background Styles button within Slide Master view
  11. This brings up the Background Styles drop-down gallery with 12 default slide background styles (highlighted in red within Figure 5). Click on the style of your choice to apply it to the selected Slide Layout. In Figure 5, you can see Style 11 being selected. Also you can see a Live Preview of the Background Style being selected on the active slide.
  12.  Background Styles drop-down gallery
    Figure 5: Background Styles drop-down gallery
  13. Note: These 12 default styles change when you apply a different Theme to your presentation. Also, do you see the Format Background and Reset Slide Background options (highlighted in blue within Figure 5, above) below the Background Style thumbnails? These options are explained in our Custom Backgrounds in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial. In the same tutorial, we also explain the Reset Slide Background option, which is used to reset the slide background to its original status, on a particular slide layout.
  14. This will apply the selected background style to the selected Slide Layout, as shown in Figure 6 (compare with Figure 4 shown earlier on this page). Note that any changes you made to the Slide Layout do not influence the Slide Master or even any other Slide Layout. However, if you change the Background Style of the Slide Master now, that will reset the Background Styles of all Slide Layouts irrespective of any changes you may have made to them individually.
  15. Background Style applied to the Title Slide Layout
    Figure 6: Background Style applied to the Title Slide Layout
  16. Click either the Close Master View button (highlighted in red within Figure 6, above). This will get you back to Normal view, where you can see the new Background Style applied to your slide. Note that for this tutorial we selected the Title Layout within the Slide Master view. Now, within the Normal view, you can see the changed background slide since the first slide of a presentation typically uses the Title Layout.
  17. Save your presentation often.
Note: Do you want to use a background for your Slide Master that's not part of Background Styles (maybe something you created or even a picture)? You can learn how to do that in our Custom Backgrounds in the Slide Master in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

See Also:

Change Background Styles for Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Change Background Styles for Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Change Background Styles for Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Change Background Styles for Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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