Microsoft KB Archive/105088

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PPT: Controlling Background Color on Pasted Excel Objects

PSS ID Number: Q105088 Article last modified on 05-16-1998




The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows, versions 3.0, 4.0, 4.0a, 4.0c
  • == Microsoft Excel for Windows, versions 4.0, 5.0 ==


When you paste or embed spreadsheets and charts from Excel into PowerPoint, you have the option of having a clear (transparent) background or an opaque (solid) background. A transparent background lets the colors on your PowerPoint slide show through. An opaque background covers that portion of the slide.

The background pattern/fill color is controlled by a combination of settings in Excel and PowerPoint. In Excel, the setting is the cell or area pattern. In PowerPoint, the setting is the object fill.


Ordinarily, an Excel object pastes with an opaque white background because the default setting for cell and area pattern is Automatic. When the pattern is set to Automatic (or any color) in Excel, you cannot override that color with a fill in PowerPoint.

To make the Excel object paste with a clear background, or to preserve the option to fill the object in PowerPoint, set its cell or area pattern in Excel to None, as explained below.

To set the cell pattern (background) in Excel

  1. In Excel, select a range of cells.
  2. From the Format menu, choose Patterns.
  3. For clear (fillable) cells, set the Pattern option to None. For opaque cells, set the Pattern option to some color or pattern. NOTE: The foreground and background colors don’t directly affect the cell pattern. They only indirectly affect the color of patterns available.
  4. Close the dialog box by choosing OK.

To set the area pattern (background) of an Excel 4.0 chart

  1. In Excel or PowerPoint, double-click the chart so it appears in its own window.
  2. From the Chart menu, choose Select Chart.
  3. From the Format menu, choose Patterns.
  4. For a clear (fillable) chart, in the Area column, select None. For an opaque chart, in the Area column, select Automatic (white) or some color.
  5. Close the dialog box by choosing OK.

To set the area pattern (background) of an Excel 5.0 chart

  1. In Excel or PowerPoint, double-click the chart so it appears in its own window.
  2. Click the edge of the chart with your right mouse button.
  3. From the menu that appears, choose Format Plot Area.
  4. The Format Plot Area dialog box appears with the Patterns tab active. In the Area section of this dialog box, choose None.
  5. Choose OK.

The chart should now have a transparent background, allowing the PowerPoint slide background to show through.

NOTE: If you are editing an Excel 5.0 chart that has already been embedded into PowerPoint 4.0, you may need to clear the selection of the chart (that is, exit from Excel) before the slide background will show through.

To fill an object in PowerPoint (that is, color its background)

  1. In PowerPoint, select the object.
  2. From the Object menu, choose Fill.
  3. Choose the color of fill that you want to use. (None produces a clear/transparent background.)

To copy an Excel object into PowerPoint

  1. In Excel, select the range of cells or the chart.
  2. From the Edit menu, choose Copy.
  3. Switch to PowerPoint.
  4. From the Edit menu, choose Paste.

For more information about this topic, query on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Excel and PowerPoint and embed and white and black and windows and chart

Additional query words: 3.00 power point powerpt overlap blank see winppt 4.00a 4.00c through accel ====================================================================== Keywords : kbinterop kbole Version : windows:3.0,4.0,4.0a,4.0c Platform : WINDOWS Hardware : x86 Issue type : kbhowto ============================================================================= Copyright Microsoft Corporation 1998.