How to Blur in PowerPoint

By Kevin Lee

Sometimes it takes only a subtle visual effect to turn an ordinary image into an extraordinary one. Shadows around pictures, for instance, can make the pictures appear to float in space. Add blurs to the shadows, and the shadows look even more realistic as they fade softly around the edges. You can create these types of blur effects using PowerPoint's effects tools.

Step 1

Right-click a picture in one of your PowerPoint slides and select "Format Picture." PowerPoint opens the Format Picture pane. From this pane, you can apply a variety of adjustments to an image. Some of them correct imperfections while others enhance your picture.

Step 2

Click the "Shadow" button to view controls that help you tweak a picture's shadow. These controls include transparency, size, angle and blur.

Step 3

Click the "Presets" drop-down menu to view thumbnail images of the types of shadows you can add to your picture. Thumbnails in the Outer group represent shadows that appear outside a picture. Thumbnails in the Inner group show shadows whose edges blend slightly into an image's interior. The Perspective group contains thumbnails of shadows that appear below or adjacent to a picture.

Step 4

Click a shadow that appeals to you, and PowerPoint applies it to the picture. Drag the "Transparency" slider to the left or right if you want to decrease or increase the shadow's transparency. Make the shadow more transparent to achieve a more realistic effect.

Step 5

Drag the "Blur" slider to the right and notice how the shadow begins to blur. Stop dragging when you're satisfied with the effect. As you increase the blur, the shadow becomes softer and begins to resemble a real shadow. Drag the slider to the left to decrease the blur effect.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Shadow section in the Format Picture section has additional sliders that affect the shadow's size, angle and distance. Drag these sliders to see how they affect the shadow. You may discover an interesting combination of properties that create the perfect effect you're looking for. The Size slider, for example, makes the shadow bigger.
  • The default shadow color is black, but you can click the "Color" drop-down menu in the Shadow to view additional colors. Click any color to apply it to the shadow. Colored shadows may not appear realistic, but they can help you create an artistic effect.
  • While you're working in the Format Picture pane, click some of the other buttons to see how they affect your picture. Sliders in the Glow section put a customizable glow around your picture while those in the Artistic Effects section apply artistic effects to the image.
  • Click the Format Picture pane's Picture button to view controls that can correct image imperfections. You can drag the Brightness and Contrast sliders left and right to adjust those properties and drag the Sharpness slider to control the picture's sharpness. This is an excellent tool to use if your image lacks definition.
  • These instructions explain blurring in PowerPoint 2013. If you use a different PowerPoint version, your steps may vary.