Change Black and White Picture to Color in PowerPoint

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Do you remember The Wizard of Oz? The movie begins in black and white and when Dorothy steps out of her house in Oz, everything is in glorious color? Well, you too can achieve this effect in your PowerPoint presentations. If you want to improve your PowerPoint slideshow, try this trick that seamlessly converts black and white images to color before your audience's eyes.

This article applies to PowerPoint 2019, 2016, and 2013.

Tips with Photos in PowerPoint

A best practice in PowerPoint is to optimize your photos to the desired size you want before inserting them in your slideshow. This 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.

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.

    A screenshot showing how to duplicate a slide in PowerPoint
  8. Your presentation contains two identical slides.

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, as if by magic.

  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. Once you have inserted your image onto the first slide, follow these instructions:

  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.

Screenshot of PowerPoint showing the slide change