Highlight areas of a screen

Hi All,

I am looking to highlight different areas of a screen for a navigation help slide at the beginning of my training.

I think the method I have used long winded and wondered if anyone had a better way to achieve the same result.

The test story is attached to show what I am trying to achieve.



21 Replies
Helen Tyson

Hi Sean

Attached is a method I might use for this.

  • Place the image on the slide as the slide background
  • Add a semi-transparent rectangle that covers the whole slide
  • Add shapes over the areas that you want to highlight
  • Format these shapes using a Slide Background Fill
  • Adjust the timing of these shapes on the timeline
  • Animate shapes if required

Hope that give you another idea that you may find simpler to build or maintain.


Nathalie Bisgaard

Hello Helen,

Thank you for sharing your knowledge... I am also trying to highlight certain areas of a picture but they do not have a square shape.

Do you have any tips to give me as how I can highlight the blue and orange shapes for exemple in the attachment?

Many thanks Nathalie

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Nathalie and welcome to E-Learning Heroes :)

This thread is a bit dated and I'm not sure that Helen is still subscribed here.

Is that an image that you're including in your file, or did you build that within Storyline?

If you built it outside of Storyline, you may want to consider removing the color of the unneeded items to 'highlight' the parts to focus on and save as a different image, which you could then use for states within your Storyline project file.

Hopefully others in the community will be able to chime in with their ideas for your design :)

Jaki Houston-Campbell


I have just read this thread with interest. I have been using the method descrided for some time - creating a slide layout in the slidemaster, adding my image and then in the main part of the program create a new slide, append the new background to it, add a transparent box which is black and then create a new shape which has slide background as the fill. Perfect works brilliantly until today.

Normally I would only use one slide in this format, however my current project requires several slides of this type with different images hightlighted. My problem is this:  with the second master slide created, new image in it - new slide created append the new (and differently named masterslide) when I move my shape which is formatted to show slide background it displays the background image from the other slide which has this function.

I have spent hours redoing this, building again from scratch, the masterslides have different names and different images. And the one that is displaying wrong doesnt have the other image below it!

I would be so happy if someone could shed some light on this issue for me!

Walt Hamilton

You might want to consider PowerPoint labs, developed by the National University of Singapore, and free.   http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~pptlabs/

Any image you can get on a PP slide, you can draw a shape around it and click to highlight.

I use MS Snip (also free) to take a screen shot of the slide.  Highlight any strange shape and have it highlighted in under two minutes. Longer, if you need to adjust the transparency of the mask.

See the attached video.

Helen Tyson

Hi Natalie, sorry for the late reply, I didn't get a notification for this as the original post was a few years ago.  You can use the same technique but the shapes you add over the slide need to be freeform shapes - you can draw any shapes you need with these - I've highlighted the option in the is image for you.


Jan Van Nieuwkerk

Hi, This was a great way to do one slide. How about for a whole screencasting session? Are there any tips on how to insert a box highlighting a specific focus area whilst leaving the rest of the slide with an opacity of 60%, and this without having to resort to creating a slide background using an image?



Micaela Metz


We are currently testing SL to make the switch from Captivate. But we do need some functionality that is not available in SL. 

This method seems like it may do the trick for us, and works great when previewing from the timeline. But when viewing the entire project/publishing to video the background fill does not highlight the correct areas. 

Is there a setting I need to configure in the publishing stage? 


Thanks for your help! :)