Cracks in the mirror

For the superstitious among us, breaking a mirror can mean 10 years of bad luck. But it doesn’t have to. In PowerPoint, you can create an interesting visual effect by projecting a single image over multiple, grouped objects.

Just imagine taking the image of sunset and scattering it over individual shapes so that they, like a mirror, reflect the image back to you such as in these impressive photos.

Similar effects are easily accomplished in PowerPoint through what we like to call the broken mirror effect.

What’s behind intriguing slides

The key role of PowerPoint slides is to help support the messages you want the audience to take away from your presentation.

So, adding shapes and images to a slide that emphasize the message and keep the audience engaged is your best bet to ensure that the audience has understood the key takeaways. And the broken mirror effect can do just that.

For example, the slides below announce a discussion on big data. The image emphasizes the complexity of data connections.

PowerPoint slide comparison of image applied to versus image spread over shapes. 
  • In Slide A, the image fills each of the rectangle shapes. This is a repetitive result.
  • In Slide B, the image spreads across the shapes. This keeps it from overloading the slide. It creates an impression of puzzle-like construction. This is the method you’ll pick up today.

Two Functionalities

To create a broken mirror effect that shows an image similar to Slide B,  you should use the following two part process::

Part one: Group

Grouping shapes in PowerPoint forms one object that makes it possible to perform actions such as moving or resizing on all the shapes at once.

  1. Once you have selected all the shapes you need, group them by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + G (windows).

Part two: Fill

To spread your image across the shapes, you'll have to fill them.

  1. Access the Picture Shape Fill option by going to the Shape Fill command on the Home or Format tab. Now you can select Picture.
  2. In the Insert Picture dialog box, locate the folder that contains the picture you want to use. Then, select the image and click Open.

See the whole process in the following animation.

GIF: Creating a broken mirror effect for a visual in a PowerPoint slide.

Keep in mind that grouping the shapes first is crucial to get to this result. If you skip this step, the entire picture fills each shape, which, as we have shown, is a different effect (like Slide A).

Ungrouping does not take you back

A likely scenario you might run into is ungrouping shapes filled with an image. Interestingly enough, the result is the repetitive effect. All the shapes appear filled with the same image as Slide A.

To spread the image across these shapes like Slide B again, you’ll have to start over.

See for yourself

With the broken mirror effect, you can turn a run-of-the-mill image into a spectacular visual on your slide. Try it out a couple of times and next time you want to use it, it will take only a few seconds!

For more, sign-up at 5miles today for a free two-week trial, choose the PowerPoint track that's right for you, and see how much more efficient you can be with PowerPoint.