Use a video to add some movement behind your text in a Microsoft PowerPoint slide.
It’s amazing how much you can accomplish in Microsoft PowerPoint with just a video and a little text. For example, you may know how to use the Merge Shapes option in PowerPoint to make transparent text. What you may not realize is that you can insert a video as a background to create a moving background behind that transparent text. It is an easy technique to implement given the resulting effect. In this tutorial I’ll show you how to use a video to create a moving background.
I use Microsoft 365 desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use older versions through PowerPoint 2007. PowerPoint for the web does not support this technique, however. For your convenience, you can download the demonstration .pptx file.
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How to prepare your PowerPoint slide
This PowerPoint technique is incredibly easy, given the “wow!” effect it produces. However, when I’m considering a PowerPoint slide, I like to work from a simple outline. Like writing, it helps me stay on track and if something doesn’t work as expected, I have an idea where to fix the problem.
Thanks to Microsoft PowerPoint’s sharp Merge Shapes feature, this technique requires only a small amount of settings:
- Insert the video for the slide background and check a few settings.
- Create a second slide and add a rectangular shape the same size as the slide and choose a color that matches the video in the first slide.
- Enter a text box that contains your message.
- Use PowerPoint’s merge shapes to “cut out” the text so you can see the slide background through the transparent text.
- Move the rectangle from the second slide to the first and cover the video.
It just sounds complicated. Trust me, it’s one of the easier effects you’ll use because it doesn’t require any transitions or animations – just a video, a rectangle, and a text box – to create the slide that appears in Image A† You can’t see the water moving in the figure, but if you download the demonstration files you can run the show yourself for full effect.
Insert a video into Microsoft PowerPoint
We start by inserting a video on a blank slide. To avoid copyright issues, let’s use a video of Microsoft PowerPoint’s stock photos as follows:
- Insert a blank slide.
- Click the Insert tab, and then click Pictures in the Pictures group. Choose Stock Images from the drop-down list.
- Click the Videos tab and then enter water.
- Find the water image you want – I used the image shown in Figure B — select it and then click Insert.
- Expand the image to the full size of the slide.
PowerPoint anticipates your requirements well when it comes to choosing the video settings, but there are a few you should check:
- With the video selected, click the contextual playback tab.
- If necessary, set Volume to Mute.
- Set Start to Automatic if necessary.
- If necessary, check Walk until stopped.
With these settings, the video starts automatically when you select the slide. In addition, if the video contains audio, the video will play silently and will continue to play until you click the slide. You can make different choices if you apply this to your own work.
Now it’s time to add the text that expresses your message.
How to create slide text in PowerPoint
Now that the video is inserted and playing, it’s time to add your message. My best advice is this:
- Keep the text message simple.
- Use a thick font.
To start, add a new blank slide. You’ll delete this slide later, but it’s easier to work on a blank slide than on top of the water video. To add the text effect, do the following:
- Add a rectangle to the blank slide and extend it to fill the entire slide.
- Click the Shape Format contextual tab.
- In the Shape Styles group, click Shape Fill and choose a color that matches the video. I chose dark blue.
- Click the Insert tab, insert a text box and enter the following text:
It’s pool time!
- Stretch the text box from the left to right margin, and then click Center in the Font group on the Home tab to center the message.
- Double-click in the text box and press Ctrl + A to select all the text.
- With the text selected, click the Home tab and assign the following font and size using the Font and Font Size controls in the Font group: Arial Black, 96.
- Select the rectangle and the text box by holding down the Shift key and clicking both.
- Click the Shape Format contextual tab.
- In the Insert Shapes group, click the Merge Shapes option and choose Subtract from the drop-down list (Figure C)†
Right now we have two slides and it’s time to combine them by dragging the background shape and text box onto the video slide. Simply select the merged rectangle and text, press Ctrl + C and then go to the video slide and press Ctrl + V. Position the rectangular slide so that it fits perfectly over the video slide (Image A†
Play the show by pressing F5. Since the video starts right away, you don’t have to do anything to see the gently lapping sun-drenched water through the message, It’s pool time!
I hope you agree that this simple technique is easy to implement, especially considering its impact!