Tutorial Video: Changing Background Images and Placeholder Shapes in PowerPoint

In today’s competitive market, with slide decks as the norm, branding your presentation can help your pitch, quarterly results, or product roadmap presentation stand out.

Our templates come with stock imagery already in place, but chances are you’ll want to customize some of this imagery. There are three situations that require different methods to replace images:

  1. Replacing Background Images
  2. Replacing Placeholder Shapes
  3. Adding Placeholder Shapes to Slide Layouts

In this tutorial, learn how to quickly change slide backgrounds and placeholder shapes in PowerPoint.

Need slide background images? We created a Free Slide Background template filled with a selection of background images from our new library of over 300k professional stock photos, icons, and backgrounds. Download the template for free HERE!

Note that we created the tutorial video on a Mac with the latest version of PowerPoint. If you’re a Windows user, you may notice slight differences in menu options. 


1. Replacing Background Images

Customizing background images from the Format Background panel is really convenient, especially when you have a lot of objects layered on top of the background image in the slide. We use this method in our templates because it minimizes the amount of arranging needed, as the image is essentially “stuck” to the background.

Step 1: Either right click on the slide or somewhere in the slide area and select Format Background. The panel will appear on the righthand side.

How to replace background images in PowerPoint

Step 2: You’ll see different options in the panel, such as filling the background with a solid color, a gradient, a picture, or a pattern. For this example, we’re going to select the Picture or Texture Fill option.

Step 3: Click the File button and select your desired image from the dialogue box. The image will appear as your slide background.

How to replace backgrounds in PowerPoint

PRO TIP: You can adjust settings for the image–such as color or saturation–by selecting the Picture option in the same panel and adjusting settings from there. If you want to adjust the transparency, click on the Fill paint bucket icon and use the transparency slider.


2. Replacing Placeholder Shapes

This step-by-step guide is for replacing images in shapes that are created as image placeholders in the Master view.

Step 1: Click on the shape/image you want to replace and hit the Delete key on your keyboard. Then, click on the small picture icon inside the empty placeholder shape.

How to replace placeholder images in PowerPoint

Step 2: Select your desired image from the dialogue box and right click to send the image to the back if there are any objects on top of it.

PRO TIP: If you want to resize an image, just click on the Crop menu item at the top of your application under Picture Format, and then drag the corners of the image to resize it within the placeholder shape.

How to change placeholder images in PowerPoint


3. Adding Placeholder Shapes to Slide Layouts

Step 1: If you want to change the slide layout to add another image placeholder, go to View > Slide Master.

Step 2: Duplicate the current Layout by hitting ‘Command D’ on Mac or right clicking the layout and selecting Duplicate Layout and renaming it.

Step 3: Click on the placeholder shape, copy/paste it, and arrange the slide to your liking.

How to add placeholder image to slide layout in PowerPoint

Step 4: Return to Normal View and select Layout from the top menu. Select the new layout you created, and the slide will adjust. Now, you can place your additional image.

Congrats! Now you know how to quickly replace background images and placeholder shapes in PowerPoint.

Need Slide Background Images? 

Download this free template, filled with curated slide background images from our new library of over 300,000 professional stock photos, icons, and slide backgrounds!

Free Background Images that Make Your Presentation Come Alive

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