Change Layers in PowerPoint 2007 Drawings

By Doug Lowe

Whenever you have multiple objects on a PowerPoint slide, they can overlap. PowerPoint handles this problem by layering objects. The first object that you draw is at the bottom of the stack; the second object is on top of the first; the third is atop the second object; and so on. If two objects overlap, the one that’s at the highest layer wins; objects below it are partially covered. PowerPoint enables you to change the stacking order by moving objects toward the front or back so that they overlap just the way you want.

The Drawing Tools tab provides two controls that let you move an object forward or backward in the layer order:


  • Bring to Front: Brings the selected object to the top of the stack. Click the down arrow to reveal two subcommands. The Bring Forward command moves the object just one step closer to the top of the heap, whereas the Bring to Front command moves the object all the way to the top.

  • Send to Back: Sends the selected object to the back of the stack. Click the down arrow to access the Send Backward subcommand, which sends the object one level down in the layer order.

Layering problems are most obvious when objects have a fill color. If an object has no fill color, objects behind it are allowed to show through. In this case, the layering doesn’t matter much.

To bring an object to the top of another, you might have to use the Bring Forward command several times. The reason is that even though the two objects appear to be adjacent, other objects might occupy the layers between them.