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6 Easy Steps to Create a “Stand Out” Slide and Beat the Background Noise

6 Easy Steps to Create a “Stand Out” Slide and Beat the Background Noise

Anuj Malhotra

January 25, 2016

UPDATE: The effect explained in this article was created in PowerPoint 2013. Users of PowerPoint 2010 have to customize their PowerPoint Ribbon to use this hack. Please see the steps given at the end of this article to create this effect in PowerPoint 2010. 

 

 

There are many times when you need to highlight a particular area of the slide and fade out everything else in the background. It improves the aesthetics of the slide, definitely, but more importantly, you need this effect for one major reason:

 

To remove the background noise and focus on the portion that is the crux of the slide.

 

You don't need to learn Photoshop or CorelDraw to achieve this cool 'Highlight Picture Effect'. It can be easily done using the good old PowerPoint! This article will walk you through 6 steps to create such a slide wherein the actor or the most significant object in a slide stands out and grabs immediate attention of the audience.

 

Let's get started. Say you have a slide about the effective qualities of a team leader. You have 6 or 10 qualities that can be listed out on a slide in the old fashioned way like the one below:

 

Transform boring slides full of text

 

Now, how about presenting the same using a visual of a team with spotlight on the leader! Here’s what the transformation would look like:

 

Impressive PowerPoint Slide Design for Business Deck

 

The after slide not only looks better but is also easier to read and comprehend. The visual and the words complement each other to create the right impression.

 

This design is just 6 steps away. Open your PowerPoint presentation, move to the slide where you want to give such an effect and work with us step by step to pull it off. Here we go:

 

Step 1- Add an Image

There should be no trouble in finding a good, high resolution business team stock photo from the internet. Just cover the entire slide canvas with that visual.

 

Step 1- Add an image

 

Step 2- Insert a Circle and Merge the two Shapes

Draw a circle around the area you wish to highlight, the team leader in this case. Here are the steps to insert and draw a circle:

 

  • Click the Insert tab
  • From the Shapes menu, select the Oval shape
  • Press Shift and drag to draw a perfectly proportionate circle.

 

As you drag to draw the circle, you are able to clearly see if the area you require has been properly covered or not.

 

Step 2- Insert a circle

 

Fragment the Image and the Shape- We will now merge the image and the circle to cut the portion that we want to highlight. Here’s how you do it in PowerPoint:

 

  • First select the image showing on your slide
  • Press Ctrl and select the circle too
  • Go to the Format tab under Drawing Tools
  • Under the Merge Shapes menu, click Fragment

 

Step 2.1- Merge Shapes using Format tab in PowerPoint

 

You might assume nothing happened at all. But the leader’s face has now been fragmented as you can see in the selected portion below:

Fragmented shape

 

Step 3- Blur the Image

We will now blur the rest of the team members so that only the leader stands out bright and clear. Follow these steps:

 

  • Select the full size image, not the fragmented one
  • Go to the Artistic Effects menu under the Format tab and select the Blur option

 

Step 3- Blur the Full Image using Artistic Effects in PowerPoint

 

Now, only the fragmented image remains highlighted. Since the difference isn’t that stark to create an awesome effect, we’ll need to apply the fourth step too.

 

Step 4- Add a Transparent Shape

Adding a transparent shape serves a twofold purpose: it will make the fragmented circular image of the team leader stand out. Second, it will allow us to display our content that can be read with ease. To add such a shape, follow these steps:

 

  • From the Shapes menu under the Insert tab, choose the Rectangle option
  • Cover the complete slide with the rectangle
  • Right click on the shape and click Format Shape
  • The Format Shape box will open on the right
  • Select the No line radio button under the Line menu
  • Change the Solid fill to black and set the transparency at 25%

 

Step 4- Insert Rectangle

 

We now need to send this transparent shape backwards and the fragmented image forwards. To do that:

 

  • Select the transparent shape
  • Go to the Selection Pane under the Format tab (see screenshot below)

Step 4.1- Locate the Selection Pane in PowerPoint Ribbon

 

  • Locate the fragmented image from the panel on the right
  • Click the Bring Forward command (in the Format tab). Keep clicking till you see the highlighted face on the top.

Step 4.2- Click Bring Forward option

The highlighted circle will now pop out lending an awesome effect to the slide:

Highlight Effect is now visible

 

Step 5: Give the Highlighted Portion an Outline

This step is very simple. Insert a circle from the Shapes menu once again, this time larger than the highlighted portion. From the Format Shape menu, remove the fill color from the circle and change the outline to Gold or Yellow. You can increase the width of the line to make it more visible (for our slide we kept the width at 3 point). See the screenshot below:

 

Step 5- Give Circle Outline

 

To ensure that the gap between the outline and the image is evenly distributed, select the two objects, go to the Format tab, locate the Align menu and click Align Centre and then the Align Middle option. You’ll get a perfectly aligned outline with these steps.

 

Step 5.1- Use the Align command in PowerPoint

 

Step 6- Add Pointers to List Out Content

We come to the last step- add our content in the most effective manner. For that, we’ll create pointers that touch the circular outline and distribute them equally on both sides of the shape. This is what me mean by adding pointers to the edges of the outline:

 

Step 6- Add Pointers using Line shape in PowerPoint

 

And this is how these pretty pointers can be created in PowerPoint:

Step 6.1- How to add pointers

 

The tricky part is to distribute them evenly both horizontally and vertically. You can rotate them to give a slant by dragging the edges of the line. If you are facing trouble doing that, you can simply keep those pointers straight and have four on the left and four on the right side.

 

Last but not the least, put each bullet points next to a pointer. Make your heading bold and large, you can even give the text box a solid fill for added impact. Simply select the text box, right click on the shape, click Format Shape and give it a Solid Fill color of your choice. That’s it, your super awesome slide is ready to amaze:

 

Effective Qualities of Team Leader PowerPoint Design

 

Where Can You Use This Design Layout:

You can apply this highlight picture effect on any presentation slide where you need to put spotlight on one portion of the image and dim out the rest.

 

  1. Introduce your team
  2. List out product features
  3. Highlight key services offered by your business
  4. Explain potential solutions/benefits of your products
  5. Flaunt business milestones
  6. Point out your corporate goals, company mission and vision, targets for the new financial year etc.

 

Taking an example, you can highlight the features of Apple iWatch using this stand-out effect:

 

Apple iWatch Features Slide Design

 

How to Create This Effect in PowerPoint 2010:

 

The 'Merge Shapes' feature in 2013 version is hidden in PowerPoint 2010 and is called 'Combine Shapes'. Please follow these steps to integrate the functionality in your Ribbon:

 

1. Click the File tab (extreme left corner in the PowerPoint Ribbon)
2. Click Options
3. Select the "Customize Ribbon" option
4. Under the "Choose commands from" drop-down menu, select "Commands Not in the Ribbon"
5. Now, locate the "Combine Shapes" command from the list
6. Create a New Group within an existing tab or create a New Tab using the dialog box on right.
7. Add 'Combine Shapes' to the new tab or group you have created
8. Click Ok to save the changes you have done.

Customize Ribbon in 2010

 

The 'Combine Shapes' feature will now be permanently integrated within your Ribbon. You'll however still face one problem- the combine shapes options will be grayed out when you select the image and the shape. PowerPoint 2010 allows you to apply this effect on shapes only. But there is a workaround. We will convert the image into shape! Here's how:

 

  • Insert a rectangle from the Shapes menu and cover the complete slide with it.
    Cover the complete slide with rectangle
  • Now right click, Format Shape, Click Picture Fill and fill the rectangle with your image.
    Use Picture Fill to fill the shape with your image
  • Now insert the oval shape from the Shapes menu and cover the area you wish to highlight.
    Cover the area you wish to highlight with circle
  • Select the rectangle, then the oval and in Combine Shapes, click Shape Intersect. You'll be left with the fragmented image.
    Fragmented Shape

You'll have to insert the full visual once again in PowerPoint 2010 and send it backwards. The rest of the steps will remain the same as explained in the article above.

 

How did you like the PowerPoint tutorial? Please share your feedback in the comments below. 

Share this knowledge with your friends and followers; here's a pre-populated tweet to make it easier for you.

 

If you are facing trouble anywhere in your PowerPoint presentation and need a professional touch, you can get in touch with our expert PowerPoint Presentation Design Services Team. Get a single slide or the entire deck designed or redesigned for a flawless look and feel.  

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48 thoughts on “6 Easy Steps to Create a “Stand Out” Slide and Beat the Background Noise”
  1. Zilmar Pereira
    Very professional and inspiring. Thanks for sharing..
    1. slideteam
      Our pleasure Zilmar! Glad you liked it. :)
  2. festus muruja
    Guys you are inspiration to the world, me included. kudos........
    but it unfortunate am using office 2007 which do have some features.
    1. slideteam
      Your compliment is heartening to hear, Festus. And you are right, 2010 and 2013 versions are indeed more powerful than 2007. Upgrade soon, you won't regret. :)
  3. Gino
    Excelente... lo compartire
    1. slideteam
      Gracias Gino!! :)
  4. Lore Kozachuk
    Amazing tutorial Anuj...but I can't seem to see the Merge Shapes/Fragment option under Drawing Tools Format. I have Office 2010 and in an earlier post you indicated that 2010 & 2013 has this functionality. Any ideas why these options are not showing up?
    1. Anuj Malhotra
      Hey Lore,

      Thanks for the compliment and pointing it out (Don't know how it skipped our mind!)

      The feature is there but hidden in PowerPoint 2010. Follow these steps to permanently integrate the functionality in your PowerPoint Ribbon:

      1. Click the File tab (extreme left corner in the PowerPoint Ribbon)
      2. Click Options
      3. Select the "Customize Ribbon" option
      4. Under the "Choose commands from" drop-down menu, select "Commands Not in the Ribbon"
      5. Now, locate the "Combine Shapes" command from the list
      6. Create a New Group within an existing tab or create a New Tab using the dialog box on right.
      7. Add 'Combine Shapes' to the new tab or group you have created
      8. Click Ok to save the changes you have done.

      http://www.slideteam.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Customize-Ribbon-in-2010.png

      PowerPoint 2010 provides 4 options under Combine Shapes: Shape Union, Shape Combine, Shape Intersect, and Shape Subtract.

      Use the Shape Intersect option that will serve the same purpose as Fragment option in PowerPoint 2013.
      1. Alice
        I got the new toolbar item for Combine (thanks!) - but it is grayed out when selecting both the shape and the picture. If I add two shapes, and select, it is fine.

        Is there another format of the picture that works - did not on .jpg or .bmp.
        1. slideteam
          There's a workaround Alice. Insert a rectangle from the Shapes menu and cover the complete slide with it. Now right click, Format Shape, Click Picture Fill and fill the rectangle with your image. Now insert the oval shape and follow the same steps as in the blog post. Select the rectangle, then the oval and in Combine Shapes, click Combine Intersect. It'll work! Sorry for the late reply.
      2. Andrew Lee
        Hi, I followed up with your instructions but the "combine shapes" features stays in dim color which i cannot select it, how to get it solved? appreciate for help!
        1. slideteam
          Glad you found it. Yes, it stays in dim color, we checked. But there is a workaround. We will convert the image into shape! Here's how:

          Insert a rectangle from the Shapes menu and cover the complete slide with it. Now right click, Format Shape, Click Picture Fill and fill the rectangle with your image. Now insert the oval shape and follow the same steps as in the blog post. Select the rectangle, then the oval and in Combine Shapes, click Combine Intersect. This will work! Sorry for the late reply Andrew.
  5. Ruth
    Quite instrumental!!
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Ruth! :)
  6. Tekla Kridle
    Absolutely stunning! Very excited to put this into practice! So many possibilities! Thank you! I am stoked!
    1. slideteam
      Super glad to hear this Tekla. Wish you all the best for your upcoming presentations. :)
  7. SONI EDUTECH :: KIRIT SONI
    SONI EDUTECH :: KIRIT SONI
    Amazing!!! Its quite useful as we are educational e-learning developers
    1. slideteam
      That's great Kirit! Indeed, e-learning materials and flipped classrooms have to be really engaging. The stand out effect will surely assist in creating such slides. Thanks for appreciating. :)
  8. Ram
    Very informative and valuable input. Thanks for sharing with us. God bless
    1. slideteam
      Thank you so much Ram! :)
  9. meeyameena
    thank u sooo much for this infor....this is very useful for me...
    1. slideteam
      It's our pleasure Meeyameena! :)
  10. Andrew Lee
    thank for sharing, really useful but my PPT version doesn't have some features which I might need my IT for help on (such as "Merge shapes" function).
    1. slideteam
      This feature is hidden in PowerPoint 2010. Follow the instructions we gave to Lore in comments and you'll be able to use the feature!
    2. Robin Wilson
      Andrew Lee,

      I am have the same issue of not getting the results as shown. When using the shape intersect (PPT2010), my image always ends up inside the shape as a whole. It does not extract the image portion selected. Did you get this to work?
    1. slideteam
      Thank you George!!!
  11. ADELE
    wow! it motivates me to create more wow slides!! Good job slideteam -xoxo-
    1. slideteam
      Thanks Adele for the pat on the back. We are sharing more of such tips and tricks. Keep in touch. :)
  12. Arvind Singh
    Hello.

    Very nice

    Am using PPT 2016. I dont find the Merge and Fragment Option in Ribbon. Am I wrong somewhere?

    Regards
    Arvind
    1. slideteam
      Hi Arvind, it should be there. Perhaps, the following post by Geetesh Bajaj, founder of Indezine, will help you locate it- http://www.indezine.com/products/powerpoint/learn/shapes/2016/shape-fragment.html
  13. Nehhaa Guptaa
    Nehhaa Guptaa
    good one..!
    1. slideteam
      Thank you Nehhaa! :)
  14. Jaquie Fallon
    Jaquie Fallon
    I'm using 2016. I combine the image with the shape but everything turns blue, including the image. When I select fragment, I just get a cut-out circle. I can't see that I'm doing anything different. What do you suggest?
    1. slideteam
      Hi Jaquie, are you selecting the elements in the right order? Select the image first, next the circle and then click Fragment. If you do the other way round, you'll end up with that problem. We can think of only this probable reason that is causing you the problem.
      1. Jaquie Fallon
        Ah yes. Select the image then the shape. Thank you!
        1. slideteam
          Our pleasure! :)
  15. Jaquie Fallon
    Jaquie Fallon
    When I combine the two, everything becomes blue including the image. I tried both ways and the same thing happened. What do you suggest?
  16. Tun
    Hi, interesting topic! Could we make the similar function in PPT 2011 of Mac? If yes, how?
    1. slideteam
      Hi Tun, we are sorry we can't offer much help in this regards since we are working on Windows. I hope you are able to create this effect on Mac too. Sorry once again.
  17. Adel SALHI
    Thank you
    1. slideteam
      Most welcome Adel! :)
  18. Sapna Furtado
    Hello:
    I am trying to use the stand out effect in my presentation. You have mentioned that once you use the shape intersect feature, you have to insert the full visual once again and send it backwards. I am just not able to do it. Can you please let me know where I am going wrong.
    Thanks
    1. slideteam
      Hi Sapna, sorry for the late reply. We did not temporarily have access to PowerPoint 2010. It's very easy- Once you have intersected the shape, insert the same picture again using the Insert tab> Picture (not Picture Fill in rectangular box like last step). Then go to the Format tab Picture tools and click Send Backward. The intersected picture will come forward. You can now apply Artistic Effects (Blur) on the full screen image and get the Stand Out effect. Is it working now? Let us know if you are still having any problem. Thanks.
  19. Lisa Callahan
    Lisa Callahan
    Great effect..... thanks so much
    1. slideteam
      Totally our pleasure, Lisa! Glad you loved the effect. :)
  20. Sherry
    You give such excellent tutorials! I can't wait to try these in my next presentations! Thanks!
    1. slideteam
      Thanks for the lovely compliment, Sherry! :)
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