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See how to make a transparent picture in PowerPoint by first filling a shape with a picture, and then adjusting the shape’s transparency settings to create the transparent background effect.

To see how to make multiple images transparent in PowerPoint at the same time, check out my other video below here on YouTube below.


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How To Make a Picture Transparent in PowerPoint

In this PowerPoint tutorial, you’ll the learn the basics for creating a single transparent image in PowerPoint for PC versions of PowerPoint.

The MAC version of PowerPoint does not require this workaround to create the same transparent effect.

If you want to add transparency to multiple pictures at the same time, make sure to check out our advanced picture transparency video, which will show you how to batch process you images. You can see that video below.

The overall trick to make transparent pictures in PowerPoint, is first filling a shape with your picture so that the picture is the shape fill.

The reason this little PowerPoint trick works on a PC, is that while you cannot directly apply transparency to a picture or image itself, you can apply transparency to the background of a shape, even if that background is a picture or image, allowing you to place objects behind the picture to get that bleed through picture effect (which is totally cool).

To see a cool picture of the legion of boom superimposed over the Seahawk stadium, check out our blog post:

Debating why the Microsoft PowerPoint team doesn’t allow you to do this directly with an image on a PC is WAY beyond the scope of this dinky little tutorial. I agree, it makes no sense. Especially when you find out that you CAN directly apply picture transparency to images in the Mac version of PowerPoint.

Quick note, this little PowerPoint trick works in all versions of PowerPoint including PowerPoint 2007, PowerPoint 2010, PowerPoint 2013 and PowerPoint 2016.

To learn more other PowerPoint tricks and download slides, see our other posts:

15 Insanely Actionable Storytelling tips –
How to Create a Venn Diagram –
Creating the Overlapping Piece of a Venn Diagram –
How to put a YouTube Video in PowerPoint –
Aligning Objects Between Slides –
Installing the Hammer Tool –
Creating Picture Transparencies (The Fast Way) –
Editing Vector Graphics –
PPT Best Practices, The Formatting Guides –
PPT Best Practices, the QAT –
Protecting Your Presentations –
Making Objects Appear And Disappear –
Turning Bullet Points Into Shapes –
Creating a Mouseover Effect –
Creating False Animations –
Four PowerPoint Tricks You Should Know –
Moving Beyond Default Formatting –
Breaking Up Your Bullet Points –
Highlighting Your Point Visually –


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32 Replies to “How To Make a Transparent Picture in PowerPoint (it's weird…but it works)”

  1. I was about to ask how you get rid of the damn box around it, but I found it! The shape outline drop down in the picture tools format has it. You can select border color, or no color. Thanks for the vid! Worked out great. But would be better if the next version of Powerpoint has just a slider you can use easily without having to google or YT a way to make a picture transparent and have such a convoluted process for it…..

  2. Tried this, but Powerpoint is resizing my picture to not fit into the rectangle when I click the clipboard button. I went in an manually made sure the rectangle is the exact same size. Thanks again Microsoft for somehow always doing the wrong thing.

  3. Oh My Goodness, I'm at work having a time trying to figure out how to do this. Emails flying, phones ringing off the hook, tension headache getting worse, all that. Had to sign in a let you know how much you just save my whole design for this Baby Shower. Uuugghh THANK YOU

  4. I'm so used to Photoshop and its complex tools that I was astonished today that I couldn't manage to make a damn picture transparent (or just simply a little whitish, less distracting).

  5. I come from a Mac/Adobe environment and am learning Powerpoint 2013 for my new job. I hate this software with a passion, but your tutorials help ease my pain. Quick, concise and to the point. Your tutorials are the best on YouTube. Many thanks!

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