How to Make an Image Background Transparent in PowerPoint

Use PowerPoint's built-in background remover

What to Know

  • To remove a solid-color background: Select the picture and go to Picture Tools Format > Remove Background.
  • To make a single color transparent: Select the image and go to Picture Tools Format > Color > Set Transparent Color.

This article explains how to remove the background of an image in PowerPoint, making that portion transparent. Instructions apply to PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, PowerPoint 2010, PowerPoint for Microsoft 365, PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, and PowerPoint for Mac 2011.

How to Use PowerPoint's Background Remover

When the background in a picture is a solid color, it's easy to remove the background so that only the main image appears in the picture. This allows text, a picture, or another color to show and is a way to blend your photos into the slide background seamlessly.

Image of a castle with the background removed in Powerpoint

Ellen Liundner / Lifewire 

  1. Open the PowerPoint presentation and go to the slide with the image to which you want to apply a transparent background.

  2. Select the image. A new tab, Picture Tools Format, is added to PowerPoint.

    Picture Tools Format tab in PowerPoint screenshot

    If you have multiple images on a slide and can't select the one you want to work with, right-click any pictures that are on top of it and select Send to Back to temporarily move them out of the way.

  3. Go to Picture Tools Format and select Remove Background. In PowerPoint for Mac, go to Picture Format and choose Remove Background.

    Remove Background in PowerPoint screenshot

    PowerPoint colors the image pink to indicate the parts that it thinks is the background.

  4. To customize which areas of the picture are kept and which are made transparent, choose either Mark Areas to Keep or Mark Areas to Remove to designate parts of the photo that should remain or be deleted. Then, draw a line around the area on the picture.

    In PowerPoint for Mac, use What to keep or What to remove.

    Mark Areas to Remove in PowerPoint screenshot
  5. Select Keep Changes to apply the edits.

Sometimes, the image ends up with more or less transparency than you'd like it to have. If so, just repeat the steps above. PowerPoint saves all your changes and even lets you revert back to the original, non-transparent version.

To save the edited image to use elsewhere, right-click the image and select Save as Picture to save the picture with the transparent background on your computer.

Make a Single Color Transparent

There is another way to make a solid color in the image transparent. For instance, you can make a white background see-through.

  1. Select the image and go to Picture Tools Format. Mac users need to select Picture Format. In Mac 2011, it's called Format Picture.

  2. Select Color to display a list of color variations and choose Set Transparent Color.

    Mac 2011 users must choose Recolor first, and then Set Transparent Color.

    Set transparent color in PowerPoint screenshot
  3. Select an area of the picture that is the color you want to make transparent.

Removing objects from a picture or deleting a solid color works best on images that are made up of simple colors, like clip art or cartoon-like photos. Photos and other complex images with multiple objects and similar color shades are difficult to edit in this way.

  • How do I make a picture transparent in PowerPoint?

    To make a picture transparent in PowerPoint, select the picture and then select the Picture Format tab > Transparency. Select a preset transparency option or select Picture Transparency Options for more choices.

  • How do I make a shape transparent in PowerPoint?

    To make a shape transparent in PowerPoint, right-click the shape and select Format Shape. Expand the Fill menu and enter a value into the Transparency menu or use the slider to adjust transparency manually.

  • How do I crop a picture in PowerPoint?

    To crop a picture in PowerPoint, double-click the image to open the Picture Format tab and select Crop to crop an image according to shape, aspect ratio, and more. You can also grab the black frame handles on the image and drag them to resize the image.

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