How to CORRECTLY Place an Image Inside Your Text in PowerPoint

There are tons of tutorials on the internet that will teach you how to place an image inside text in PowerPoint. Sadly, most of these tutorials opt for the most comfortable method, which usually leads to a hideous slide.

Setting Up

To get things going, you’re going to have to do two things: get some text on your slide, and choose a picture that you want to go in it.

For our tutorial, I’ve written “Smile” on the slide, set the font size to 240, and chose a bulky font to go with it.

PowerPoint slide with the word "Smile" in it
You can use any text that you’d like. Just keep it short.

The picture I’ve chosen is a woman holding a sticky note with a smile drawn on it.

Yes, this picture a stock photo, and I think it fits the theme I’m going for.

By the way, if you’re looking for free stock images that are gorgeous, then check out this post which highlights four resources that you can use. Make sure that the image you’ve chosen follows the BARE principle.

The Wrong Way to Fill Your Text with a Picture in PowerPoint

What most would do is right-click the text box on the slide, click Format Shape, and then, under Text Options, click Picture or Texture Fill. From there, a picture can be selected and automatically placed into the text without issues.

Don’t do this.

Indeed, you can get a picture into your text in under 10 seconds, but your slide will end up looking like garbage since the picture’s resolution will also be distorted. Furthermore, you won’t be able to position the image inside your text under any circumstances. What you see is what you get, and that can be daunting.

Text filled with an image that loosk distorted and ugly.

Correctly Placing an Image into Your PowerPoint Text

To do this correctly (and consequentially, beautifully) you’re going to have to be innovative with PowerPoint’s features.

1. Cover Your Slide With a Rectangle

Go to the Insert tab, then click on Shapes and select a rectangle. Cover your entire slide with that rectangle. You also want to make sure you remove the outlines of that rectangle.

When you’re done, right click on the rectangle and click Send to Back.

Text box and rectangle in the background

2. Subtract the Rectangle with the TextBox

Hold the control key, and then click on the rectangle shape first, then the text box second. With both elements highlights, go to Format tab and click on Merge Shapes > Subtract. You’ll end up with something that looks like this.

Subtract Rectangle with the TextBox

3. Bring in and Position Your Image

This step is self-explanatory: select any image you’d like and bring it into your PowerPoint slide. Right-click it, and click on Send to Back. You can then move the image around and position it wherever you’d like.

Once you’re happy with the size and position of your image, click on the rectangle and change its color to whatever you’d like. I chose white for mine since I wanted it to match my slide’s background.

Correct way to fill text with image in PowerPoint

4. (Optional) Spice it Up

Why stop here? You can play around with your slide and add some creative flair to it. For instance, I’ve added a color gradient to mine just to give it some feel-good vibes, similiar to the section break tutorial I posted recently.

Text filled with image with a blue and orange gradient color overlay

This is a Creative Solution (That Works Perfectly)

Like I said in the video, the whole idea of this is to make sure you have the chance to manipulate your image in any way that you would want to. It’s your slide after all!

If you have any comments or questions, please drop a line below.

Yousef "Yoyo" Abu Ghaidah

Yousef "Yoyo" Abu Ghaidah

Yousef "Yoyo" Abu Ghaidah is a PowerPoint ninja that founded Slide Cow, a learning platform for all things PowerPoint, presentations and public speaking. When he's not designing slides or giving presentations, he's on another coffee run.
  • Great technique! Another way to add spice is to add a shadow or bevel effect to the shape. It looks like the effect is added to the text. Make the shape slightly bigger than the slide so that the effect on the outer edges doesn’t show.

  • hey Yoyo! Can’t do so using 2010 version pf powerpoint. Text and shape dont subtract. Anything I coud do?

  • Hi Divya,

    Unfortunately, no :(. Do consider investing in Office 365. It’s worth it! Trust me!

  • This is fantastic, I love it when I can do Photoshop stuffs on Powerpoint! Thanks for this!

  • How would you add a circle around the words? with the same picture used to fill the circle

  • Tired of making boring presentations that don’t get results?

    We can help.