How to Add Color Gradients on Images in PowerPoint

Transparent color overlays and gradients are a popular and handy way to achieve multiple effects with a photo. You can accent your brand identity by using your own colors on top of the image, you can use gradients to make sure the text you add on top is easily readable, you can use colors to intensify a certain emotion created by the photo, and so much more.

You can see some gradient overlays our designers used to build this sales presentation.

There might be a million other ways to add color overlays and transparent gradients to your photos, but we have something different in mind with this tutorial. Let’s show you how to do it while you’re designing a presentation in PowerPoint without having to use any other image editing or design tools.

Start by adding a photo to your slide

You can begin by adding a photo background to your slide or just add any image you want your audience to see. You can make image adjustments to the photo in case you need to change its brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc.

Add a shape to your slide

You will need to create a rectangle shape and scale it across the entire slide. In case you’re not using the image as a background, just scale the shape over the photo borders.

Access the format settings

After you draw your shape, right-click on it and select the Format Shape option to open the settings panel that will let you start adjusting your gradient overlay.

Switch to gradient fill

Select the Gradient fill from the Shape Options at the top. Next, move down to the gradient stops and add the colors you want to use for your overlay.

Select your colors

Open the color selector to pick a color using the eyedropper or hit More Colors to add your brand colors using their HEX values.

Adjust the color balance

Move the gradient stops to define the balance between the colors and whether you want one color to be dominant, or you’d like a 50:50 ratio.

Adjust the overlay transparency

The slider here lets you adjust the transparency of your gradient overlay for each of the colors you’re using. So in our example with the two gradient color stops, we need to select them and adjust their transparency individually.

Based on the image you’re using, you’re going to need to test and adjust the transparency for the effect you want to achieve.

Sometimes you’ll need lighter transparency where the photo in the back stands out a bit more. Also, you can try using different transparency levels for separate colors so that one side stands out more while the other keeps the image hidden.

In a lot of cases though you’ll need your text to pop a bit more so you can bring down the transparency levels. It all depends on the purpose of the slide, so remember that.

Adjust the gradient angle

To rotate the gradient and adjust the position you want, use the Angle setting. You can twist it around from 0° to 360° so you can be incredibly precise.

You can switch the angle based on the idea of your slide. Usually, most gradients are designed with a diagonal, horizontal, or vertical angle. Here you can see the difference between 0° and 180°.

Add multiple gradient colors

To achieve an even more precise result, you can add multiple colors to your gradient and regulate each colors transparency brightness, position, etc.

Go to the Gradient stops section and click the Add gradient stop button to add as many colors you’d like. If you decide you want to switch back to a simpler mood, just remove them from the delete button next to it.

Summing Up

This is how you can skip using other heavy editing tools to create your transparent gradients for photos in PowerPoint. This way you can focus on polishing the building blocks of your story and make all necessary adjustments to your slides without switching between apps. PowerPoint actually has all you need to create and adjust a professionally looking gradient.

Let us know if you need any more help with the design of your slides.


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