How to Change a Black-and-White Picture to Color in PowerPoint

Serial slides or custom animations mimic color fades

What to Know

  • In a new PowerPoint, select Home > New Slide > Blank. Select Insert > Pictures, add an image. Go to New Slide > Duplicate Selected Slides.
  • Convert the color photo into a black-and-white format: Select the image, then go to Format > Color > Saturation: 0%.
  • Insert a transition between the slides: Select the color photo slide > Transitions > Fade. Select Slide Show > From Beginning to view.

This article explains how to turn black-and-white images into color in your PowerPoint presentations in a way that mimics color fades. Instructions cover PowerPoint 2019, 2016, and 2013; PowerPoint for Microsoft 365; and PowerPoint for Mac.

Import Your Photo into PowerPoint

To begin this PowerPoint trick, select the image you would like to use, place it on a slide, and then duplicate the slide for the effect.

  1. Open a blank PowerPoint presentation.

  2. Select Home.

  3. Select the New Slide down arrow and choose Blank to open a blank slide.

    A screenshot showing how to add a blank slide to a PowerPoint presentation
  4. Select Insert > Pictures to open the Insert Picture dialog box.

    If you don't have a picture stored on your computer, select Insert > Online Pictures to search Creative Commons for an image.

  5. Locate the desired picture on your computer and select Insert to add it to the slide.

    If necessary, resize the picture on the slide.

  6. Select Insert.

  7. Select the New Slide down arrow and select Duplicate Selected Slides. This command inserts an additional, identical copy of the selected slide.

    A screenshot showing how to duplicate a slide in PowerPoint

Convert the First Photo to Black and White

The next step is to convert the color photo into a black-and-white format to use in the presentation. The resulting presentation shows a photo changing from black and white to color.

  1. Selecting the image on your first slide. The Picture Tools Format tab is added to the Ribbon.

  2. Select Format > Color.

    A screenshot showing how to change the color saturation of a picture in PowerPoint
  3. Select Saturation: 0% to change the picture to black and white.

Change Slides for the Color Effect

Now that you have two slides in your PowerPoint presentation, one with a color image and one without, insert a transition between the two slides. When running the PowerPoint slideshow, the effect makes it appear as if the first black-and-white image has transitioned to color.

  1. Select the second slide containing the color photo.

  2. Select Transitions.

  3. Select Fade.

    A screenshot showing how to apply a transition to a slide in PowerPoint
  4. Select Preview to view the result.

Use Animations as an Alternative Method

If you're up for something a bit more challenging, convert your photo from black and white to color without the need for two duplicate slides using animation. After you insert your image onto the first slide, follow these instructions instead:

  1. Copy the photo and paste it on top of the first photo. Make sure this second image is placed perfectly over the first image.

  2. Convert the top photo to black and white.

  3. Select Animations and choose Fade.

    A screenshot showing how to apply an animation to a slide element in PowerPoint

    To slow down the effect of the transition, select the Duration down arrow.

  4. Select Preview to view the result.

View the Trick in PowerPoint

To test the color conversion trick in your PowerPoint presentation, select Slide Show > From Beginning. As you view your slideshow, you'll see the effect appear between the two slides, creating the illusion of the black and white photo being brought to life in color.

Tips for Photos in PowerPoint

Optimize your photos to the intended size before inserting them in your slideshow. This practice reduces both the visual size and the file size of the photos.

PowerPoint slides come in two default sizes: Standard (4:3) and Widescreen (16:9). Use the Standard size for on-screen shows and size images to be 10 inches wide and 7.5 inches high. Use Widescreen when showing your slideshow on a widescreen device and size images to be 13.3 inches wide and 7.5 inches high.

If your picture is larger than the screen size, PowerPoint automatically resizes the image to fit inside the slide.

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