How to Make a Shape Transparent in PowerPoint

How to change the transparency of shapes in PowerPoint

What to Know

  • Right-click the shape and select Format Shape. Adjust transparency from the Fill menu.
  • Or, choose No fill for instant 100% transparency.

This article explains how to change the transparency of a shape in PowerPoint. Doing this reveals more of whatever is layered behind the shape.

This guide and its screenshots apply to MS Office Professional Plus 2019, specifically, but they should work similarly in other versions of PowerPoint. There are two exceptions where custom shape transparency isn't supported: PowerPoint for the web and the mobile app.

Can You Change the Transparency of Shapes in PowerPoint?

Shape transparency is supported in most versions of PowerPoint. The idea is simple: the more transparency there is, the more you can see through it.

Zero percent (0%) transparency means the color for the shape you've chosen is fully visible, whereas any number approaching 100% transparency makes the shape increasingly more see-through. You have complete control over this percentage level.

PowerPoint supports several shapes, from rectangles to more advanced ones, including arrows, callouts, flowcharts, and action buttons. By default, the shapes have a solid fill color which blocks out whatever is under them. Transparency is how you make whatever is behind the shape become more visible.

How Do You Make a Shape Transparent in PowerPoint?

You can adjust the shape's fill settings to make it transparent:

  1. Locate the specific shape you want to edit. If it hasn't been created yet, you can pick one to insert into the slide through Insert > Shapes.

    PowerPoint Insert Shape menu.
  2. Right-click the shape, and choose Format Shape.

    PowerPoint Format Shape option.

    In some older versions of PowerPoint, right-click and then go to Format > Fill, or left-click and then look in the Format Shape toolbar for the Transparency button.

  3. Expand the Fill menu from the newly opened slide-out menu on the right.

  4. Enter a value into the Transparency menu, or use the slider to adjust it manually.

    The Transparency options from the Format Shape PowerPoint menu.

The Quicker Method for Full Shape Transparency

If you don't want the shape to have any fill color, as described above, you can move the slider to the right for 100% transparency so you can see through the shape. But there is a faster way to get this done, and it even works in the web and mobile versions of PowerPoint.

It's simple: use No fill. With this one option, the shape becomes completely see-through. It retains the outline, so the overall shape isn't completely invisible.

To do this in PowerPoint for the web, select the shape, access the menu next to the shape fill button (paint can symbol), and select No Fill. If you're using the mobile app, tap the shape and select the paint can at the bottom; this full transparency option is below all the colors.

'No Fill' in PowerPoint for the web.
  • How do I make a picture transparent in PowerPoint?

    First, insert a shape into a slide to match the size of the picture you want to add > select the shape > and choose Format > Shape > No Outline. Then right-click the shape and click Format Shape > Fill > Picture or texture fill > find the picture file > and choose Insert to fill the PowerPoint shape with an image. From the Format Shape menu, move the Transparency slider to make the image nearly or fully transparent.

  • How do I make a picture background transparent in PowerPoint?

    To make an image background transparent in PowerPoint, remove the background to add transparency. Select Picture Format > Remove Background. If you want to edit the area marked for deletion, select Mark Areas to Keep or Mark Areas to Remove > Keep Changes.

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