How to Make an Image Background Transparent in PowerPoint

Use the transparency adjustments on one color or an entire graphic

Birch flowers with transparent background.
 Getty Images

There are times when making one color in an image transparent comes in handy in PowerPoint. Sometimes you may see an unwelcome colored box around a graphic you've added to a slide. Sometimes, you'd like to dial back an image's transparency, so type is visible on top of it. Whether you need to make part of an image transparent or an entire image partially transparent, you can do it with these two Microsoft Powerpoint tips.

Making One Color in an Image Transparent in PowerPoint

If you've ever added a logo on a white background to a PowerPoint slide, you know you end up with an ugly, white box around the logo on the slide. That's fine if the slide background is white, and there isn't any type nearby for the graphic to obscure, but more often than not, the white background is a problem.

PowerPoint provides a quick fix to get rid of the white (or any other solid color) background on the image. This little-known tip has been around for a while when it worked with only PNG and GIF files. Now, you can turn the solid-color background of a graphic transparent even on PDF and JPEG images. 

Making Part of an Image Transparent

You can make one color in a graphic or picture transparent. When you do, you see through the image to whatever is underneath it on the slide. Here's how:

  1. Place an image on a PowerPoint slide either by dragging and dropping or by clicking Insert > Picture on the ribbon.
  2. Select the image by clicking on it. 
  3. Go to the Picture Format tab.
  4. Click Color and then select Set Transparent Color.
  5. Click on the solid color in the image that you want to make transparent.

Only the one solid color you select turns transparent, allowing you to see any background or type beneath it. You cannot make more than one color in an image transparent using this process.

How to Modify the Transparency of an Entire Image

If you'd rather change the transparency of an entire image, you can do that just as easily.

  1. Select the image on the slide by clicking on it. 
  2. Click on the Picture Format tab and click the Format Pane.
  3. In the Format Picture pane, click the Picture tab.
  4. Under Picture Transparency, drag the slider until the picture shows the amount of transparency you want. The appropriate amount of transparency depends on the size and color of the type or other elements you place on the top of the image.