How to Make a Picture Transparent in PowerPoint 2007

By Jae Chapman

Pictures and graphics can make or break a presentation. When appropriately placed, high-quality pictures can bring your message to the audience, complementing what you are saying. Transparent pictures show the background through the image. While certainly not desirable for all images, transparency can be the ticket to making the picture fit the presentation rather than looking like a sticker. Transparency can also be used in combination with shapes and backgrounds to change the look of an existing picture.

Step 1

Insert your picture into your PowerPoint 2007 presentation on the slide. Select "Insert" from the top navigation menu and then select the desired type of picture graphic: a picture from a file, clip art, shape, etc. A picture from a file will be found via the file browser, while other types of images are created or located within the PowerPoint program; follow the onscreen prompts. Alternatively, you can copy and paste images; this is perhaps the easiest way to insert picture graphics from other programs, like Microsoft Excel.

Step 2

Stretch the image so you can see the different sections well. For highly detailed images, such as a photograph, you may need to have it cover the whole slide.

Step 3

With the picture selected, click "Format" under the "Picture" heading on the top navigation menu. A new menu will appear with options specific to pictures; select "Recolor."

Step 4

In the "Recolor" menu, select "Set Transparent Color." Your cursor will change, indicating that you are setting the transparent color.

Step 5

Click on something in your image that is the color that you want to be transparent. This is easiest for images with high contrast. After clicking, your picture graphic will be transparent in places, and your cursor will return to normal. To change your selection, just click on "Set Transparent Color" again and click on your image.

Step 6

Size your picture however you would like for it to fit on the screen. Add text, other images and titling as necessary. If you are using PowerPoint 2007 to create stand-alone pictures and not a presentation, be sure that you have adjusted the paper size in the file settings to be correct for the picture you want to print or store.

Step 7

Evaluate the image appearance and adjust the image color, background color and transparency until you have a flawless presentation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some graphic programs allow you to create images with transparency based on layers or other selections than color.
  • When linked to your Excel file or internal data, graphs in PowerPoint are transparent by default.
  • Transparency makes your output more dependent upon your background. You may want to check the appearance on other computer systems to ensure your message is still getting across.