Many people ask how to make a picture transparent in Microsoft PowerPoint.
This question is asked often, and for good reason. In other Microsoft Office products, such as Word and Excel, you can adjust photo transparencies directly on the image you are working with. Unfortunately, you cannot do that on PowerPoint.
Instead, you must make an image transparent indirectly through using Powerpoint shapes.
Throughout this article, there are several places where there will be a chance to “Level Up.” When you see the LEVEL UP, it will allow you to learn a variation of that same step or will explain how you can take the step further.
Frequently in Microsoft Office products, there are multiple ways to achieve the same results. By being more familiar with the variations, it will allow you to gain more skill and confidence in using these products.
How to Adjust Transparency in PowerPoint
The steps below will show you how we take a simple image in PowerPoint and adjust how transparent the photo is. The below photo is before and after of the photo of our step-by-step process in which we added 34% transparency to the image.
- Insert Shape
- “Fill” shape with a “picture”
- Open “format picture” sidebar
- Under “fill” adjust your how transparent the image is on the sliding bar
- Optional: remove shape outline
Detailed Step by Step Instructions:
1. Insert Shape
The way you can edit your photo despite not having a direct “transparency” option in PowerPoint is by using the “Shape” tool. First, you must insert a shape of your choice into your PowerPoint slide. This shape should resemble the type of outline you would like your photo to be.
To insert a shape, click on the Insert tab in the top ribbon. Then, click the Shapes drop down in the “Illustrations” section of the Quick Access Toolbar. Pick a shape that you would like your photo to resemble. For the example in this article, Powerpointify will be using Rectangle: Rounded Corners shape.
Click on the shape of your chose and insert the shape by dropping and dragging the shape on your screen. Note: do not be surprised by the color blue. PowerPoint automatically fills the color of the chosen shape with a blue color.
2. Fill Shape With A Picture
In order to put the photo in the shape you had just created, you must “fill” the shape. Under “Shape Styles” in the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the screen, click on Shape Fill. By clicking on Shape Fill you will reveal a drop-down menu.
In the drop-down menu, click on Picture.
When you select that option, a rectangular window will pop up, asking where you would like to retrieve your photo. You can choose from three options: From a File, Bing Image Search, and One Drive – Personal. If you have a photo stored on your computer you would like to use, then “From a File” is the option you would select to open up a file browser on your computer. For the remainder of the step, this article will be using “From a File.”
As mentioned above, when you select “From a File” a window will pop up to explore the files on your computer. Select the file you wish to use as your picture and click Insert. This will insert the photo you selected into your shape.
Once you insert your photo, you should see your image formatted to the shape you had chosen. Please note that we did not apply any transparency to the photo yet, so the image has been uploaded unedited.
By the end of step 2, your photo should be successfully inserted into the shape you had chosen. Below is the example shape and photo that Powerpointify has been using to demonstrate the process.
If you want to level up with this step, you can right-click on your shape. In the menu that appears, click Format Picture. This will bring up a sidebar of all the options to edit your photo. Then you would click on the icon of “Fill” which looks like a bucket pouring out paint. Select Fill so that a drop-down of options will appear. Then select Picture or Texture Fill. Below that it will say “Insert Picture From” and you can select your source. This Level Up may seem like it will take longer but it will allow you to skip Step 3.
3. Open “Format Picture” Sidebar
Now that the photo is successfully inserted into the shape, you can now adjust the opacity. In order to do that, you must open up the Format Picture sidebar. First, right click on the photo that is now inside your shape and select Format Picture.
Once you had selected Format Picture a sidebar should appear on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you had Leveled Up in Step 3 then you already have the Format Picture sidebar open. Therefore, you can jump straight to Step 4.
4. Under “Fill” Adjust Your How Transparent the Image is on the Sliding Bar
When the Format Picture sidebar is open it defaults to Effects which is the icon that resembles a pentagon. Instead, you need to click on the Fill & Line drop-down. That drop-down is to the left of Effects and resembles a bucket pouring out paint.
When you click on Fill & Line, two options will appear. Select Fill.
Upon clicking Fill, more drop-down options will appear. These options let you edit different features in regards to what is inside of your shape. Since we had inserted a photograph into our shape, it will allow us to edit our image.
This step is where you can finally adjust the transparency of your image. When clicking on “Fill” it revealed a list of different editing options. The one that is labeled “Transparency” will be the one we are using.
You can adjust your transparency in two ways: dragging the slide bar or entering a percentage. If you adjust the slide bar it will allow you to see your image turn more transparent as you drag the bar further to the right. This is the simplest way to adjust transparency so because you can ensure your image still matches the rest of your PowerPoint. The second way is entering a percentage. You can directly type a number into the percentage bar and the photo will automatically show you what the transparency looks like at that percentage.
Notice that as you use the slide bar in the transparency tool, it also automatically populates your percentage at the same time. If you have multiple images in your presentation that you are editing transparency for, using both the slide bar and the percentage tool are a good option. For example, you can use the slide bar for your first image so you can see how transparent the image is turning. Then, you can use that automatically populated percentage on your remaining images so that they all have matching transparencies.
5. Optional: Remove Shape Outline
Step 5 is optional. This is something that is a common preference to those who insert an image into a shape. When you had created the shape in Microsoft PowerPoint, the shape automatically fills the shape blue as well as creates an outline of blue. Therefore, there is a very thin blue outline still around your shape after you had inserted your photograph. Depending on the intensity of your transparency, this thin blue line could be very noticeable or not so noticeable. Either way, it is always good practice to remove this blue line for the professionalism of your presentation.
After you have adjusted your transparency, under the “Format” section in the top ribbon, click on the Shape Outline drop-down in the “Shape Styles” Quick Access Toolbar. This will reveal a drop down that contains different outlining options. Click on No Outline. After clicking, it will remove any outline around your photograph.
Using the same drop-down (Shape Outline) you can add a border to your photo that could take your image to the next level. For example, in the drop-down select the color Black, Text 1. Then change the weight of the border so that it is thicker. For example, in the drop-down, select Weight then select 3 pt. Now, you have a border around your image that resembles a picture frame.
More Powerpoint Tutorials:
- How to Print Powerpoint with Notes
- How to Add Powerpoint Borders to a Slide
- How to Print Powerpoint with Notes
- How to Embed a YouTube Video in Powerpoint
- How to Highlight in Powerpoint