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5 Methods For “Overlaying Text On Images” That Will Surely Impress A Crowd

by Adam Noar

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Most presenters simply slap some text onto their slides without thinking much about it. Don’t make this mistake! Follow these 5 practical methods to improve the way you overlay text onto your presentations.

Method 1: Apply Text Directly To An Image

The first and easiest way is to put text directly on an image. Just be sure to have a clean and simple image (with ample whitespace) that makes text appear legible. If the image has a lot of “noise” it will make your text difficult to see.

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Method 2: Text-In-A-Box

This method is very simple. All you have to do is add a transparent shape and add some white text. If the overlay is opaque enough, you can have just about any image underneath and the text will still be legible. I LOVE using this method when the underlying image has too much background noise (like the image below).

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Method 3: Overlay The Whole Image

Another method is to create an overlay over the entire background image by using a simple PowerPoint shape. To create an overlay, simply add a transparent and translucent shape on top of the background image. Overlays help to add a subtle trace of color to objects on a slide. A black or dark overlay using a translucent black shape is recommended when the original image is too bright or has too much contrast for the text to be legible (as seen in the first slide below). While a black overlay is simplest and most versatile, you can always use a color overlay as well. Below is an example of how a dark overlay, over the entire image, makes the text much more readable.

presentation tips - how to overlay text onto images - overlay the entire image


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Method 4: Blur The Image

A simple way for making overlaid text legible is to blur all or part of the background image (as seen in the slide examples below). Blurring your image will help your text appear legible and visible.

presentation tips - how to overlay text onto images - blur the image

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Method 5: Floor Fade

The floor fade is when you add a gradient over an image that subtly fades towards black at the bottom. I am not talking about the fade animation effect in PowerPoint. Instead, I’m referring to adding a blended transparent gradient fill. Make sure to pay attention to the direction of the fade in order to achieve your desired effect. This effect will make your image look the most natural to the eye since the image is slightly darker at the bottom and the light is coming from the top.

presentation tips - how to overlay text onto images - create a floor fade

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With the techniques mentioned above, you’re going to be better equipped to emphasize the important text in your PowerPoint slides. These techniques will certainly add panache to your slides and help them communicate better!

I hope that you found some of the presentation tips listed above useful.

Here’s my question for you …

What is your favorite way to overlay text onto your slides? Is there a particular technique that you use that wasn’t been mentioned above? Leave me a comment below!

Finally, this post is also on SlideShare. Make sure to follow us over there if you haven’t done so already!

Images credits

Fira (remixed by Presentation Panda) by Christian Bortes

Ocean Sunset (remixed by Presentation Panda) by Magnus Brath

Surfing (remixed by Presentation Panda) by El Coleccionista de Instants

Gray Whale Beach (Presentation Panda) by Franco Folini

Bye To A Turbulent Year (Presentation Panda) by Jesus Solana

Sunrise (remixed by Presentation Panda) ahhhhhlexis

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