Removing Backgrounds in PowerPoint

If you’re looking for a quick way to get more from your existing stock photos, consider removing one or more elements from their backgrounds. From there, you can place them over textures or new backgrounds. Another idea is to not use any background and go with a plain, white background. Either way, removing backgrounds is one of the easiest ways to freshen tired photos.

Good news for PowerPoint users

Depending on the version of PowerPoint your’e working in, you have one or two tools designed to remove backgrounds:

  1. Set Transparent (all versions)
  2. Remove Background (2010 only)

Let’s look at each technique in action.

Easy: Set Transparent

Set Transparent has been around since 2003, and it’s still the first one I reach for when I’m trying to remove a solid-colored backgrounds.  Set Transparent is a close cousin to the more popular Magic Wand (also known as the tragic wand for it’s hit or miss accuracy).

How it works:

This is an all or nothing tool. It converts a single color to transparency and it only works on bitmaps.

See it in action:

Powerful: Remove Background

PowerPoint 2010 introduced a newer, more powerful tool for removing backgrounds. It’s called  Remove Background tool produces amazing results.

How it works:

Creates a marquee-type selection around your image and automatically tries to identify the background area. Most times it gets you about 80% the way. From there, you can drag marker lines around areas you want to keep or delete. All changes are editable and you can easily reset your changes.

See it in action:

Post written by David Anderson

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Tracy Parish