Darkness out of a shape

Jun 26, 2014


I have one question concerning a design effect. I put a shape (rounded rectangle) on my slide but with transparency at 100%. And I want to make my slide darkenned except inside the rectangle. Is it possible ?

Thank you for your help 

9 Replies
Christine Hendrickson

Hi Boris,

This might sound silly.. but why not just not make the rectangle transparent? Or just don't make it 100% transparent. 

I'm not quite sure why you're wanting to do this, perhaps if you shared more about what you'd like to see and why you're using this method, it would be easier to provide some suggestions :)

If you're wanting the background to change behind that object, one option would be to use another object. You could even add some shadowing or a glow effect if you'd like. 

Let us know a little more and we'll try to help.


Jackie Van Nice

Hi Christine!

I'm wondering if he's not going for something like the spotlight effect in Presenter to bring a brief highlight to something?

I had to do something similar and ended up creating a black, semi-transparent, full-slide-sized image in PPT and cutting out the shape I wanted in the middle using the shape subtract tool, then saved it down as a PNG and brought it into Storyline.

It worked! Though mine was a very unique outline and that was the only way to get the effect I wanted.


Jackie Van Nice

Hi Boris,

No, it doesn't exist in SL which is why I had to create it in PPT, save it as a PNG, and insert it as an image into SL.

The subtract tool isn't visible by default in PPT 2010 (and I don't think it was available before that version). If you customize your ribbon you can add it for quick access.

In this Screenr Tom shows how to customize the ribbon. I'd add the tools for Shape Subtract, Shape Union, Shape Intersect and Shape Combine so you have all those options: https://player.vimeo.com/video/204933043

Then here's a Screenr where he demonstrates how those tools work: https://player.vimeo.com/video/149072447

Hope that helps!


Antony Snow

Hi Boris,

If you are using an earlier version of PowerPoint, you can still create the same effect:

  • Create a large rectangle (or whichever shape you need), fill it with black and set the fill to a transparency that suits
  • Create a second, smaller, rectangle (or whichever shape you need) and fill it with a solid colour, such as dark grey
  • Select BOTH shapes, cut them and then paste them back onto the slide as an image using Paste Special
  • Select the image
  • Click on the Format menu and select the Recolor option
  • Select Set Transparent Color from the drop down - you'll notice that your cursor will change
  • Click to select the smaller rectangle to remove the colour

You can then save this as an image and then insert it onto your Storyline slide.


Jerson  Campos

You can use gradients to achieve this effect.  It isn't the best solution, but if you want to do something quick, it will do in a pinch.

Fill a shape with a gradient, radial or rectangular (not linear).  Right click on the shape and bring up the Format Shape menu. In the Gradient stops sections, on Stop 1, set it the position to 25% (or however larger you want this to be.) Set the transparency to 100%. On stop 2, set the position to 25% (or whatever stop what equals to). and set the transparency to 50% ( or however light you want it).  On stop 3 leave the position and adjust the transparency equal to Stop 2.

You should now have a "hole" in a shape.  If you need this hole to be on the edges of the screen, you will have to make it very large since the hole is in the center of the shape. 

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