How to Remove the Background of an Image in PowerPoint

With Microsoft PowerPoint’s range of presentation options, they also house some powerful photo editing tools. One of those basic image editing tools provides you with the ability to remove the background of an image. This can be helpful during your presentations so that you can direct your audience’s focus to what is important. You can also use this to take certain pieces of an image, layer images, or just to get a simple transparent background.

There is no need for you to go out subscribe to a photo editing tool that has this feature. Usually, the remove background tool is in the paid versions of these programs. Instead, you can use PowerPoint to edit images for your presentation, or edit a photo and copy and paste it into your current project!

Technique 1: Set Transparent Color

For images with a simple background, like a solid color, we will be using this first technique. This is the fastest and easiest way to remove the background.

Remove the background

First, click on the image that you want to remove the background on. To insert an image, either upload one from your desktop or online from the Insert tab on the ribbon and then the Pictures icon. After you have clicked on the image, click on the Picture Tools Format tab that appears on the top PowerPoint ribbon.

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Next, click on the Color icon, then the Set Transparent Color option at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Then, you will see an eyedropper appears at your mouse.

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You can take that and hover over the color that you want to set as transparent. Once you click on that color, that color will disappear, leaving your photo to have a transparent background! How easy.

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If you need to reset your image, you can always just click the Reset Picture icon in the Format tab.

To use these features, you should be using a version of PowerPoint or Microsoft Office 2007 or newer. 

Technique 2: Remove Background

For images with a more complex background, like many different colors, or patterns, use the Remove Background feature instead.

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You begin in the same way as Technique 1 by clicking on the image and opening the Picture Tools Format tab that appears on the top PowerPoint ribbon. But now, we are going to click on Remove Background, the icon that is all the way on the left of the ribbon.

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Once you click there, you will notice that it turns parts of your image pink. This is how PowerPoint differentiates what parts of the image to remove and what parts to keep. You will notice that sometimes PowerPoint doesn’t get it exactly right. Luckily, there are tools for you to mark the areas to keep or delete if they got it wrong.

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Click the Mark Areas to Keep icon, then drag your mouse over to the image. Once on the image, you will see a pen. The pen allows you to do the markings. From here, you just need to draw a line on the parts of the image to keep. After you have made a line, PowerPoint can determine the colors around your line and will keep those that are similar. Do this as many times as you need to get your image looking the way you want.

If there are any parts you want to remove, you can do it in the same way but with the Mark Areas to Delete icon.

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Once your image is looking the way you want, click on Keep Changes. If you notice some mistakes after, you can always go back into that menu by clicking on Remove Background again. To reset the image here, you can Discard All Changes as well.

Now, you are free to resize, move, and layer your images as you see fit!

PowerPoint Limitations

PowerPoint is not a photo editing tool, so there are a few limitations that PowerPoint’s background removal features have. So be aware when doing this, for not all images will be as easy as the ones above.

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First, neither options works well with gradient images. Because of the different shades of colors, PowerPoint isnt exactly sure what parts to remove.

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The second, is with images that all similar tones of color. With the shading and similar colors on screen, it makes it difficult to determine which pieces of the image should be kept or gotten rid of.

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Lastly, with fine lines PowerPoint struggles as well. Not all parts around the edges of the lines will be removed.

When to Use Each Technique

Technique 1 is faster and super effective for simple photos. Use Technique 1 for the simplest of photos and when you are in a pinch for time.

Technique 2 is best for more complex images. It also works for a wider variety of images, so if you are unsure which technique to use, this would be the safer option to not waste time in doing them both!

For more PowerPoint Tips and Tricks, check out these articles below!

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