How to Make an Image Transparent in PowerPoint

Unlike shapes, pictures in PowerPoint don't have a transparency setting. As a workaround you can fill a shape with a picture and then adjust the fill transparency. Here's the step-by-step guide for PowerPoint 2010 and later:

  1. Add a rectangle shape to the slide.
  2. Right-click the rectangle and select Format Shape from the context menu.
  3. Select FillPicture or texture fill and click on Insert picture fromFile... to choose an image file.
  4. Use the transparency slider to make the picture as transparent as you want.

Image transparency in PowerPoint

How to Loop a PowerPoint Presentation

Setting up a PowerPoint slideshow to loop continuously is easy:

  1. Switch to the Slide Show Ribbon tab.
  2. Click on Set Up Slide Show.
  3. Tick the Loop continuously until 'Esc' checkbox.

Loop continuously until 'Esc'

By default, PowerPoint advances to the next slide only when a mouse click occurs. If you want your slideshow to advance automatically, follow the steps below:

  1. Select all slides in the navigation pane.
  2. Switch to the Transitions tab in the Ribbon.
  3. In the Timing group under Advance Slide tick the checkbox next to After:
  4. Enter the duration you want each slide to display.

Advance Slide Duration

How to Find the Version Number of PowerPoint

When asking for assistance with a PowerPoint problem, it’s helpful to know what version of Microsoft PowerPoint you are using. In this post I will show you how to easily tell the versions apart and find the exact version numbers. Please note that only PowerPoint for Windows is covered.

PowerPoint 2003

PowerPoint 2003

PowerPoint 2003 is the last version to use a traditional menu bar and toolbar (instead of a ribbon). Follow the steps below to find your copy’s version number:

  1. Select Help from the menu bar (the last entry).
  2. Click on About Microsoft Office PowerPoint.
  3. The version number is listed at the top of the About window.

PowerPoint 2007

PowerPoint 2007

PowerPoint 2007 introduces the Ribbon, a panel at the top of the window that organizes commands into tabs. You can tell PowerPoint 2007 apart from newer versions by the Office Button—a round button with the Office logo at the top left corner of the Ribbon. To to find the exact version number in PowerPoint 2007, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the round Office Button in the top left corner.
  2. Select PowerPoint Options from the menu.
  3. Click on Resources at the bottom of the list.
  4. The version number is listed at the bottom under ”about Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007.”

PowerPoint 2010

PowerPoint 2010

In PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft replaced the round Office Button with the File tab. You can find the version number as follows:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Select Help from the menu.
  3. The version number can be found on the right side below the Office logo.

PowerPoint 2013

PowerPoint 2013

Compared to PowerPoint 2010, PowerPoint 2013’s user interface is much flatter, matching the design of Windows 8. To look up the exact version number, follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Select Account from the backstage view.
  3. Click the About PowerPoint button.
  4. The version number is listed at the top of the About dialog (including whether you are using the 32- or 64-bit version of Office).

PowerPoint 2016

PowerPoint 2016

PowerPoint 2016 looks quite similar to PowerPoint 2013, but Ribbon tab names no longer display in all caps. The steps to find the version number are exactly the same as in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Select Account from the backstage view.
  3. Click the About PowerPoint button.
  4. The version number is listed at the top of the About dialog (including whether you are using the 32- or 64-bit version of Office).

PowerPoint Release History

PowerPoint (April 1987): 1.0
PowerPoint (May 1988): 2.0
PowerPoint 3 (May 1992): 3.0
PowerPoint 4 (February 1994): 4.0
PowerPoint 95 (July 1995): 7.0
PowerPoint 97 (January 1997): 8.0
PowerPoint 2000 (June 1999): 9.0
PowerPoint XP (May 2001): 10.0
PowerPoint 2003 (October 2003): 11.0
PowerPoint 2007 (January 2007): 12.0
PowerPoint 2010 (June 2010): 14.0
PowerPoint 2013 (January 2013): 15.0
PowerPoint 2016 (September 2015): 16.0

ShapeChef 1.3.1 Released

We have just released version 1.3.1 of ShapeChef, which you can download and install from this link. Updating is free for all current users.

Version 1.3.1 mainly solves an issue with ShapeChef not being usable with the latest Office 365 Insider preview version of PowerPoint 2016 on Windows 10. If you don’t see any content under ShapeChef Shapes (as in the screenshot below), please install this update to solve the issue.

Empty ShapeChef Shapes Panel

Here’s the full list of changes:

  • Fixed problem with content of shape library pane not being displayed in latest Office 365 Insider version of PowerPoint.
  • Fixed minor user interface issues on systems with high-DPI settings.

Free PowerPoint Countdown Template

Although PowerPoint doesn’t have dedicated functionality for creating countdown timers, it’s possible to build a timer using animation and slide transition effects. Instead of boring you with a step-by-step tutorial, I’ve created an attractive template with a digital clock countdown that you can easily adjust to your needs.

The countdown in the template lasts five minutes, but you can delete slides to shorten it if needed. Download the template file here.

What to Never Say during a Presentation

Here’s another insightful and entertaining presentation that I found on SlideShare. It provides examples of phrases that should be avoided because they can ruin a presentation in seconds:

About ShapeChef

ShapeChef is a tool that helps you find and manage graphics and charts for your presentations. Click here for details.
ShapeChef: Graphic and Chart Library for PowerPoint

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