There is a lot of software on the market dedicated to manipulating and building graphics; Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, CorelDRAW, GIMP and Inkscape, to name just a few. Some of this software is expensive while some is available as a free download, but almost all of it is complicated and takes time to learn. And let’s face it, you don’t always have the time to learn how to use complicated graphics software. Well, the good news is you don’t have to; you can use Powerpoint for graphics manipulation, and you don’t have to be a powerpoint expert, you just need to know one.
One of the most frequent changes people want to make is to remove something in the foreground of a picture, like a person or item, from its background. This lets you put the person or item you want to show in a background of your choosing. This can be a complicated procedure in some software but it’s very easy to do in Powerpoint.
Insert a picture with a foreground image you want to separate from its background on a Powerpoint slide. Click on the image and select Picture Tools/Format. (This menu option only appears after you’ve selected an image or shape.)
Click on the “Remove Background” icon on the far left of the menu ribbon, and most of the image will turn hot pink.
There is a box within the pink area so you can drag the sizing handles with your mouse to include more of your foreground, or less, until you have everything you want to keep selected.
If any part of what you want to keep is still showing pink, a feature menu becomes visible once you click the “Remove Background” icon which lets you mark specific areas to keep or delete. Be wary of this option though, because it can change previously selected areas, and you may need to reselect them.
Click the mouse anywhere off your picture and everything that’s hot pink will vanish so just the foreground remains. If you want to keep this modified image for later use be sure to save it as a “PNG” file type so your background stays transparent.
What if you tried this but the “remove background” icon was “greyed out” and you couldn’t select it? This may be because you’re working with an image composed of multiple shapes instead of a picture, and you may be able to take this image apart to remove the background. To do this hover your mouse over the image and right click. If “Group” is active select it, and then select “Ungroup” from the dropdown menu. If “Group” is not active (meaning it’s “greyed out”) select “Edit Picture” instead to convert it to a Microsoft Office drawing object, and then select “Group” and “Ungroup.” You can now remove, recolor, or reposition pieces of the image. Remember to regroup your changed image before moving it.
That’s it; you now know one of the secrets of a Powerpoint expert. Keep these instructions handy the next time you need to change an image, and you can claim the title of Powerpoint expert yourself!