Cool Technique: Cool Spot Emphasis with PowerPoint

About this lesson

PowerPoint offers various techniques to focus your audience’s attention on specific parts of your presentation. One of the most impressive methods involves using the Morph transition combined with the Slide Master and image recoloring to create a sophisticated visual effect. In this tutorial, two projects are demonstrated: an explainer presentation on carpentry tools and a business graph presentation, comprising a total of 12 slides.

The first project on hardware tools begins with stacking photos—one in black and white and the other in color—to draw attention to different tools. Starting with a blank slide, a colorful image is inserted and cropped to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio of the slide. This image is then locked down using the Slide Master tool to prevent it from moving. The color image is placed on top, and the Morph transition is applied to create a dynamic effect where parts of the color image are revealed over the monochrome background, highlighting specific tools. This is achieved by cropping the color image to expose different parts of the monochrome layer underneath.

In the second project, a business graph is created using similar techniques. A graph is designed and saved as a PNG file, which is then used as a background in the Slide Master. A color version of the graph is added on top, and an oval crop shape is used to highlight specific data points. This technique is enhanced by using Picture Styles to add a border and shadow, creating a spotlight effect. The process involves duplicating slides and carefully adjusting the crop to move the highlight across different parts of the graph, resulting in a polished and engaging presentation.


Chapter Contents:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:22 Preview of Effects
  • 01:07 Required Software Versions
  • 01:37 Preview of the 8 Steps
  • 02:18 The Info Explainer Project
  • 02:41 Making Image Fit the Slide
  • 03:17 Intro to the CROP Tool
  • 04:22 Use FILL in CROP Tool
  • 05:32 Use Slide Master to Lock Image Location
  • 07:47 Recolor Image to Monochrome
  • 08:24 Add Color Foreground Image
  • 08:54 Cropping for Emphasis!
  • 10:13 Adding MORPH Slide Transition
  • 10:43 Duplicating the Slide
  • 11:54 Morphing between Different Crop Shapes
  • 12:38 Building a Business Spotlight Project
  • 12:58 Pro Tip: Don’t Use a Copied Slide, Create a PNG Image
  • 14:04 Pro Tip #2: Use Picture Style on Cropped Emphasis
  • 14:31 New Technique: MOVE Crop not Resize
  • 15:08 The Wrap-Up


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility PowerPoint 2019 up to the latest Office 365 for both Windows and macOS


Course Completed

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



Remember to subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking the AUTO SUBSCRIBE! button below

Subscriptions help us create more free video training for YOU!


PowerPoint has a variety of techniques to help focus your audience’s attention on specific parts of your presentation.

One of the coolest techniques is the use of the Morph transition combined with slide master and image recolor to create a sophisticated visual enhancement.

Let’s preview the two projects that we will build in this tutorial. One example is an explainer presentation focusing on specific carpentry tools, while the second presentation focuses on specific data sets of a business graph. 12 slides in total.

Starting with the hardware tools, the combination of stacked photos, one black and white with a second duplicated color version, lets us focus our audience’s attention on different tools.

This is Les from Power Up Training with a quick Power Pro tip. Let get going.

I am working in the latest version of PowerPoint Office 365 on a Windows PC, but it works just as wellon an Apple macOS computer. At a minimum, you do need to be on at least PowerPoint 2019, which is when the morph transtion tool was introduced.

As you see, we are starting with a basic blank presentation and for my second slide, I have changed the layout to a BLANK slide, just so that we have an empty canvas to work from, but that is not required.

Lets look at the steps before we get started.

For the first phase, we will bring in our foundation image and get it to fit on the slide. This works best with a colorful graphic.

Next we will want to lock down the image inside the slide master tool and then recolor it black and white.

The we will add a new slide with the black and white version, followed by copying the full color version on as the top layer, completely hiding the black and white bottom layer.

And the final two steps is to crop down the color photo, revealing the monochrome back layer and applying the morph transition morph effect.

So to get started, I will bring in a stock photo of a colorful set of hardware tools using Microsoft 365 gallery.

While any image will work, I find that a colorful graphic is best to create the needed contrast.

Once the graphic is dropped in, you will most often find that it does NOT match the dimensions of your slide canvas or more specifically the aspect ratio of heigh and width.

See the white space on both sides of our image?

So what is our aspect ratio of our canvas workspace? If you go to the DESIGN ribbon menu and click gthe SLIDE SIZE, you will see that the default layout for PowerPoint is the wide screen, which is 16 wide by 9 units high. We will need to crop our image to match and fill up our workspace.

With our image selected, we then click the PICTURE FORMAT context aware menu and to uncover the CROP tool.

Click the down arrow we see the exanded crop menu choices and ther we can select ASPECT RATIO and 16 by 9. This means that PowerPoint will cut out extra parts of the photo to make conform to the aspect ratio. You may lose parts of the image, and in our case the top and bottom

Pay close attention, the CROP tool is still active, as indicated by the gray highlighting of the crop tool and the black angle bracket grab bars.

To fill the full slide, we now need to grab one angle brackets and stretch it to the the corner. And again to the other corner. Pay close attention as when you hit the right spot on the slide edge the boundary will change colors. in our tutorial case, from black to red.

Which means we have filled that corner with the slide with our target crop. But there is one last step as the CROP tool is still active, To complete the crop, we bo back to the drop down menu and select FILL for the photo to complete the cropping action.

Well not quite finished yet, the crop tool is still active, and we have the options to move the photo up and down to determine what parts of the image will get cropped out.

To complete the full cropping set of actions, we need to indicate we are done, and one method is to just click outside the whole canvas are and the crop tool deactives and changes back to the normal menu color.

Ok the hard work is done, lets select our newly cropped image by performaitn a COPY ALL making sure not to move the image location. Do this by selecting ALL with the CONTROL + A for windows and COMMAND + A on the mac. WIth the slide in our clipboard, we can move to the next steps.

Until Microsoft implements the rumored locked object command, we need to solve the issue of the background image shifting around. So to lock it down, we will employe the MASTER SLIDE tool. If this is new to you, then just follow the steps or if you want to know more, go to our tutorial listed above.

The Master slide view reveals all the applicable layouts that are tied to our presenation. Layouts are like title slide or two conent layouts. And all the settings for the layout are applied to various actual slides in the presentation.

What we want to accomplish is creating a new layout that holds our image as the background. And once used, that image is locked in place and can’t shift around on us going forward.

SO lets click INSERT LAYOUT to create our background layout. And then in this new layout, we will do another SELECT ALL and delete to get rid of the text placeholders.

And then we will paste our image from our clipboard either with the keyboard shortcut keys or by going to HOME and PASTE>

So to illustrate what we just did, let’s exit out of the SLIDE MASTER view, By going the SLIDE MASTER ribbon menu and click CLOSE MASTER VIEW.

This puts us back into our presentation.

And look at how on our original slide #2, I can easily mess up the slide by clicking and dragging the image off the edges of the slide.

To avoid this, we want to use our new master slide layout. So I will create a new slide by right mouse clicking and choosing new slide.

Then with the slide selected, I will go up in the home ribbon menu and select LAYOUT, where we will find our image layout that we just created. Clikc and bingo the image is there.

And since the image is LOCKED to the master slide, I can no longer select it and accidentally move it. It is locked.

Now let’s go back to the SLIDE MASTER and recolor our image.

Once we change the view to slide master, we can select our new layout. Click on the image (careful not to move it, as we are in edit mode) and the go to PICTURE FORMAT and we can alter the image. While there are choices you can experiement with, I am going to select a monochrome, faded look for the background image.

And when we exit out of SLIDE MASTER VIEW, we see the magic of Slide Master as all the attached slides will be updated with the new background. And it still can’t be moved around.

On to the next steps, which pasting on our colorful image as a layer on top. Our image is still in our clipboard, so I can simply paste and it covers up the background.

Going forward, be VERY CAREFUL not to move the foreground color image, as alignment is critical. If you do move it accidentally, quickly issue an undo command.

Now to step 7, adding a crop to our color image to highlight just one area of our image.

We select the image, and then click PICTURE FORMAT menu and the drop down CROP menu to select CORP TO SHAPE. Here choose whatever shape you wish. I am select a rectangle with rounded corners.

I need to go back and activate the CROP command, and now I can grab the corners, be careful not to move the image, and drag the crop handles so that I just highlight the hammer. And as I move the crop, we revewal the monochrome image that is lying in the background.

Let’s quickly reveiw the progress of our work by running a slide show. Where we go from the title slide to our full color slide and then finally have just our highlighted hammer appear.

Now let’s go back and add a label by way of inserting WORD ART and then choosing one of the preset shape styles.

However to add the classy cinematic look to our slide show, we need to use the magic slide transiton called MORPH, which is way to simple to do.

Now watch carefully in the slide show as we move from the color slide to the highlight slide and zooming effect to focus on the hammer and the text label fading int.

Next slide? Just duplicate and relocate the crop.

However, be careful. DO NOT MOVE THE CROP as it is moving the color image.

Once the crop tool is activated, the dark black grad handles appear and we can slide the crop windows to the new object, move both corners to surround our tape measure.

Then move the label and change it from hammer to tape measure.

Ok, we can now rock and roll. I will speed this up, but basically it is duplicate the slide, relocate the crop focus and repeat.

As we zip through these slide creation, I want to slow back up for the flashlight and show what happens if we change the crop shape.

That complete our first project, so lets fly through the business graph project, but at hyper speed. With me pausing along the way for a couple of finer points when not using picture.

Le me create a basic PowerPoint generic graph. Giving it a title, a color background and a few extra visual enhancements.

And here is my first pro tip. Don’t copy the slide as your background as the image won’t be sharp enough, Instead, save the single slide as a PNG graphic file.

Now on to creating a new layout by moving into the SLIDE MASTER VIEW and then inserting an image, which is the PNG chart picture file we just saved.

Then back into the presentation view, we create a new slide and apply our newly created slide master layout. And then insert the color graph image file as our top layer.

To add our spotlight emphasis highlight, I will choose an oval as our cutout shape. But we can add some extra clas by using one of the Picture Style formats.

This particular style adds a dark border and a shadow underneath really seperating the color emphasis from the monochrome background.

Now it is just duplicating the slide, but look at this new technique. If instead of resizing the crop area, if I am very, very careful, I can put my cursor on the exact border of the crop and move the crop and not the color image.

And the final slide show of our spotlinght emphasis for business data. I really like how the highlight and shadow move across the screen.

That’s it, if this was helpful, do give us a YouTUbe thumbs up. And do subscribe to the Power Up Training youtube channel.

Unitl next time, go Power UP!