How to Make Images Transparent in PowerPoint

By Carol Finch

Learn how to add transparency to an image in a PowerPoint slide. Find out how to make one color in an image transparent.

PowerPoint doesn't have a tool that automatically makes an entire image transparent. To apply this effect, insert a shape in the slide to hold the image and then apply transparency to it. However, you can make one color in an image transparent without using a shape as a placeholder.

Make an Image Transparent

Step 1

Open the Insert tab and select Shapes. Choose a shape that matches the shape of the image, such as a rectangle, and select it.

Drag to add the shape to the slide.

Hold your mouse over the slide -- the cursor shows as a cross -- and click and drag to insert the shape. Don't worry about the size and position of the shape right now; you can edit it later.

Step 2

Select Format Shape to insert an image in the shape.

Right-click the shape and select Format Shape.

Select Picture or Texture Fill to set the image up.

Select Fill and then Picture or texture fill.

Find the image you want to add.

To add an image from your computer, select File to locate the file and insert it. Use Clipboard to paste an image that you've copied to your system's clipboard or select Online to search for images in Bing Image Search or a OneDrive account.


If you use Bing to add an online image, check its copyright conditions. Some images may have usage restrictions, especially if you're using them for commercial purposes.

Drag the image to change its size

Resize the image by selecting the squares on its corners or lines and dragging them in or out.


Change the size of the image at any time by selecting it and dragging it to desired size. To use a specific measurement, use the Height and Width tools in the Format tab.

Step 3

Use the slider to change transparency.

Move the Transparency slider to increase the image's transparency or use the arrows in the Transparency percentage box. The effect previews on the image as you increase the percentage; stop when you get the desired level of transparency. Select the X on the Format Picture box to close the menu and apply the change.


You can also make an image transparent and set it as a watermark or background on slides and presentations.

Make One Color Transparent

You don't need to add a shape to hold an image if you only want to make certain parts of the picture, defined by their color, transparent; just insert the image in a slide.

Select Set Transparent Color to make part of an image transparent.

Select the image and open the Picture Tools tab. Select the Color button in the Adjust area and then Set Transparent Color. The mouse cursor changes to a pen shape. Click the color you want to make transparent.


  • The Set Transparent Color tool only allows you to make one color transparent in an image. If you reselect the tool and use it again on a different part of the image, the original area you made transparent will switch back to its regular color.
  • You may not be able to apply one-color transparency to all Clip Art images; some may already have a color set as transparent that you cannot change.
  • Although a block of color may look the same on an image, it may be composed of different shades, preventing areas from becoming completely transparent.