If you’ve ever needed to cut out a portion of an object, there’s really no easy way to do it in PowerPoint. You basically have to place another object on top of the object in question and fill it with the same color as the background. When the background is a solid color such as white or black, it isn’t a problem.
However, when your background has some kind of design or gradient, it can be hard to make a good match with the background. Many people may not realize that they have the option to fill a shape with the slide background, which can be used to create a simple cut-out effect.
In PowerPoint 2007, you can find this option by right-clicking on the object and selecting Format Shape at the bottom of the pop-up menu. Within the Fill tab of the Format Shape pop-up window, you’ll find the Slide Background Fill option at the bottom.
Backgrounds vs. Slide Layouts
When you want to use the slide background fill, you need to be aware of the difference between backgrounds and slide layouts. Although most PowerPoint users consider the slide layout (what you see in the Slide Master) to be the background, slide layouts actually sit in front or on top of backgrounds.
Depending how your corporate template is built, images or graphics can be placed in the background or slide layout layer. Most templates are constructed with the images or branding elements in the slide layout layer, which means that the slide background fill effect described above won’t work the way you expect.
You do have the ability to create a custom background on any slide by right-clicking on an open area of a slide and selecting Format Background from the bottom of the pop-up menu. Your background for that slide can be different than your overall corporate template — just be careful around your company’s branding police.