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Cutouts in Powerpoint

Ever find yourself trying to create a “cut-out” or frame effect for a PowerPoint slide? (One shape inside another with the inside shape “see thru” to the slide’s background).

Maybe something like this?


If this is something you’ve wished you could do then I’ve got good news for you – you can and it’s easier than you may have every imagined.

Obviously, the first step is to create the shapes you’re going to use for your cutout.

Since it’s the inside shape we’re looking to make into the cut-out it’s the one we must direct out attention to.

To create this “see thru” effect we simply need to set the shape’s fill to the background fill. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean trying to match colors or search out patterns… we simply tell PowerPoint to use the background and it will.

So, here’s where we find the setting for background fill.

Older versions of PowerPoint:

Right-click on the shape and choose Format AutoShape.

On the Colors and Lines tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box you need the Fill section.


Click the down arrow to the right of the current fill color.

At the bottom of the list you should find Background… choose it.

Click OK to exit to your presentation.

PowerPoint 2007:

Right-click on the shape and choose Format Shape.

You’ll be presented with this Format Shape dialog box. Go to the Fill category (chosen from the list on the left side.)


Choose Slide background fill and click Close to return to your presentation.

And that’s it… when you place this shape over another it will appear to be see thru.

Oh… and one more really cool thing… if you move the shape around you’ll find that the fill will “move” too. It really is a fill of the background behind the shape exactly as the background appears at any given location.

~ April