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Mathematica 9 lets you create presentations with background images. There are 6 default stylesheets for this: Earth, Garnet, Sapphire, Opal, Sunrise, Steel and Water.

enter image description here

For your existing presentations I have found that you can apply the new appearance by selecting one of those stylesheets and copying the very first cell in a blank presentation created with the desired stylesheet.

My question is: What is the recommended procedure to change the background image to something else?

I have already found that the background images are controlled by the following cells in the stylesheet:

Cell[
  StyleData["Notebook", "SlideShow"],
  BackgroundAppearance -> FrontEnd`FileName[{"SlideShow"}, "EarthBackground.png"]]

Cell[
  StyleData["FirstSlide"],
  PrivateCellOptions -> 
    {"PagewiseNotebookBaseStyle" -> 
      {System`BackgroundAppearance -> 
        FrontEnd`FileName[{"SlideShow"}, "EarthTitleBackground.png"]}}]

And I can indeed put an adiditional background image file inside the $InstallationDirectory/SystemFiles/FrontEnd/SystemResources/SlideShow directory,

but If I do that it will not be portable. So it is possible to use a background image that is contained inside the presentation notebook?

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2  
This Q&A: How can I set an image to be the Notebook's background? might be relevant. –  Silvia Dec 6 '12 at 13:02
    
Thank you for the info! When I was doing my experiments I didn't know I was supposed to use images following the nine-patch convention so I just used a regular png and a regular jpg and it worked fine. –  Gustavo Delfino Dec 6 '12 at 14:32

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