Add slide background image in Captivate lessons

Posted by Greten on 09 Jan 2021 under Tools

In Captivate, images can be a slide object, an image fill of another slide object, as master slide object, and as a slide background. A slide background image is static, it does not have timeline bar, and its duration is the same as that of the slide.

The instructions provided in this entry is based on Adobe Captivate 2019 or Captivate 11. These instructions might also work in Captivate 2019 (also called Captivate 10).

Set slide background through slide properties

Properties icon, a burger menuTo manually set up the slide background of an individual slide, go to that slide and open the Style tab under PROPERTIES. The PROPERTIES tab is visible by default on the right side of the Captivate window. You can reposition it depending on how you work. If you cannot see it, click the Properties burger menu near the upper-right corner.

If you cannot see the burger menu, it means that the custom workspace is enabled. You can open the PROPERTIES tab by checking Windows » Properties or by pressing Shift, Control, and D together (Ctrl+Shift+D). To make the PROPERTIES interface visible permanently, save a new workspace in Windows » Workspace » New Workspace.

When the Style tab displays, perform the following steps:

  1. Ensure that no slide object is selected. If you select an object, the PROPERTIES tab displays the properties of that object. If no object is selected, this tab displays the properties of the slide.
  2. In Background drop down menu under the Style tab, select either Project Background or Custom.
    • Custom provided you with additional options to select the background color or gradient of the slide; the color fills out the rest of the slide if the image you used as background is smaller than the slide, has transparent parts, or does not have the same length/width ratio as the slide.
    • Project Background does not provide the background color options and will fill out the regions not covered by the background image with white.

Style tab for Slide. Upper left: Options under Background drop down. Upper right: Add Project Background button under the Project Background. Bottom left: Add Project Background button under the Custom Background. Bottom right: Image’s file name as Add Project Background button label.

  1. Select the Add Project Background button under the drop down menu.
    • If the slide already has a background and you are replacing it, the label on the button is the background image's filename instead of Add Project Background.
    • If the Captivate project file Library contains no image file, a file explorer window opens that lets you select an image file in your computer. Otherwise, a dialog box opens that lets you select an image from the library. If the image you want to use is not yet in the library, select Import and the file explorer window will open to let you choose an image in your computer.

Dialog box that allows you to select background image from the Captivate file's library. The list on the right lists all the image files in the Library. There is also an Import button on the left.

  1. Select the image you want to use as background from either the Library or the file explorer.
  2. Select OK.


  • Ideally, the background image should have the same size or resolution as the slide.
  • If the background image is smaller than the slide, it becomes centered to the slide with white space surrounding it. You can change the color of the white space using the Custom option in the dropdown menu.

Sample resize of Captivate slide background image. Left: Image with higher resolution than the slide. Right: Reduced image size to fit the slide.

  • If the background image is larger than the slide, it shrinks to will fit on the slide while keeping its aspect ratio. For example, the slide size is 1024 × 627 and the image you want to use as the background has a resolution of 1024 × 1024. Even though the image fits the width of the slide, it does not fit the height. Captivate reduces its resolution to 627 × 627 pixels and positions it centered to the slide, so you have white spaces on the sides. The image saved in the library keeps the reduced resolution despite having the same name as the original.

Set slide background through Master Slide

To manually set up the slide background of a master slide, go to the Master Slide View. Each slide in a Master Slide View is a master slide that you can later select for a lesson slide.

  1. Open the Master Slide View using the MASTER SLIDE tab on the left.

Captivate master slide view

  1. Add a new slide or select one of the existing slides. If you add a new slide, enter a name. The name field is just under the PROPERTIES tab. It's important that you enter a new name because the master slide names also appear as drop down selections in latter steps.
  2. Add a background image to master slide you created or selected in step 2 using the same steps as you would a normal slide as discussed in the previous section.
  3. Go back to normal view. Select the FILMSTRIP tab on the left adjacent to MASTER SLIDE.
  4. In the FILMSTRIP, select the slide or slides to which you want to assign the newly created or modified master slide. Hold the Shift key and select the slides in the FILMSTRIP one-by-one if you need to select multiple slides.
  5. Open the Master Slide drop down menu under the PROPERTIES tab but above the Style tab and select the newly created or newly modified slide; the one with the name you assigned in step 2.

Master Slide drop down menu, a small triangle.

  1. The slides that are already configured to Master Slide Background in the Background drop down menu display the same background images as the Master Slide assigned to it. Custom or Project Background need to change to Master Slide Background to have the same background as the master slide.

Captivate logo on a backdrop of stars.You can use an image as a slide background, and you can put them in either a normal presentation slide or  a master slide. This entry covers the straightforward way of using an image file as a background, whether it is an external image file or is already in the library. There are also unconventional ways of putting images as slide backgrounds, such as the use of Paste image as Background function that an earlier post already covers, and the Merge with the background function, which I will cover later.

Last updated on 14 Jan 2021.

Share your thoughts

* Required. Your email will never be displayed in public.

Instructional design and educational technology for effective learning