9 Replies
Steve Flowers

Hi Jennifer,

What software tools do you have at your disposal. The method you use to isolate the image will depend a bit on the tools you're using.

On a side, TIFs can carry the alpha channel (the masking element that makes your background transparent). Generally you'll need to specify the alpha channel inclusion when exporting to TIF. I prefer using PNG's with alpha. It's a lossless compression format that provides a smaller file size.


blair parkin

PowerPoint 2010's "remove background" tool is pretty clever and does a better job than "set transparent background" if you have access to it. Before i got PPT 2010 I would use Paint.Net (free download, just google it) to erase backgrounds or parts that I don't want and then as Steve says save as PNGs to keep the background transparent.

Stephen Cope


You could use Gimp to edit your photos/images, the software is similar to Photoshop but has the benefit of being free. I have provided a link to the site below so you can take a look.


The internet is full of tutorials on removing backgrounds using Gimp.  I would probably suggest doing a search on You Tube and following a video on the subject.

Good Luck

Natalia Mueller

Welcome, Jennifer! What a fun time this is going to be for you. Just wait until you see what you can actually do with some of the tools at your disposal! There are literally HUNDREDS of free tutorials you can access thru the community. Prepare to watch your skills explode.

Here are 2 links to get you started...

Here are More than 200 Free Tutorials

Here are More than 100 Free PowerPoint Tutorials

Steven Leibensperger

I used to have access to Adobe CS3 suite (Fireworks), but recently changed positions.  With the change came a reduced budget.  As Stephen mentioned, Gimp is an open source software and free to download.  I use it regularly and it's just as good as Photoshop, Fireworks, etc.  Of course, I'd rather be using those programs, but we can't always get what we want.

If you do go with Gimp, here is a link to the online user manual and, more specifically, creating alpha images

With Gimp, I belive you will save the images as PNG instead of TIF.

Jennifer Bartels

This is so helpful. I've learned so much from these resources already!

I wasn't aware of the easy possibilities with PPT with ungrouping images either. How do I keep these from getting grainy when uploading? Currently I'm saving the picture into an EMF, then inserting the picture onto Captivate. When in my workstation, it looks great, but when I preview, it's distorted.

Gina Hoekstra

When I work on my images, I do it in PowerPoint 2010, then save the image to an assett folder for my course as a PNG and then insert it into Captivate file (Insert > Image).  Depending on the "canvas" size of your file in Captivate (Project > Rescale Project), it may not look the same size and possibly could mishape it a little when you  insert the image....then I just use the corner adjusters to tweek it to the size I want or I use the image size in the properties to adjust it until I get it to the right size (ensuring that you keep the constrain image box checked so it does not get further distorted).

Marcel Mihulka

Hi Jennifer,

Blair and Gina's suggestion of PowerPoint 2010 is the easiest way. Simply click your image, click format>remove background and then zoom in to make sure you have all the right areas "purpled out" for removal. Once you are done right click and save as picture, PNG is most likely the best file type for you.

David Anderson