How to remove background from a picture in PowerPoint

Removing the background from an image in PowerPoint allows you to isolate the main subject and place it over a different background. This can help the subject stand out more and create more visually appealing slides. PowerPoint has a built-in Remove Background tool that makes removing backgrounds easy.

When to Use the Remove Background Tool

The Remove Background tool works best on images with high color contrast between the main subject and background. Here are some examples of good images to use it on:

  • Portrait photos with a solid color background
  • Product photos on a white background
  • Images with an obvious background that is distinctly different from the main subject

The tool struggles with complex backgrounds like landscapes or abstract patterns. You’ll get better results removing the background manually using PowerPoint’s image editing tools in these cases.

How to Remove the Background

Removing the background only takes a few clicks in PowerPoint:

  1. Insert the image you want to remove the background from into your PowerPoint slide
  2. Select the image so the Picture Tools Format tab appears
  3. Go to the Remove Background section of the Format tab
  4. Click on Remove Background

PowerPoint will automatically detect the main subject and try to remove the background.

Refining the Background Removal

In most cases, PowerPoint won’t remove the background perfectly on the first try. You’ll need to refine things manually:

  • Use the Mark Areas to Keep and Mark Areas to Remove tools to fine tune what stays and goes
  • Zoom in close to cleanly separate intricate edges
  • Don’t forget about shadows! Remove them so they don’t get blended into the new background

Take your time during this step to get the cleanest possible subject extraction.

Achieving Realistic Results

With the background gone, your image may look unnatural with hard edges:

  • Use the Refine tools to feather the edges for a more blended look
  • Adjust Transparency to find the right level of fade
  • Add a Soft Edge to mimic depth of field

Play around with the different settings until your subject looks like it naturally belongs on the new background.

Working With Tricky Images

Some images make background removal quite difficult:

  • Portraits with hair: Hair is complex with tons of detail and wisps at the edges. Zoom way in and meticulously separate each strand.
  • Translucent objects: Glass, water, smoke, etc. will likely get removed unintentionally. Avoid images with see-through elements.
  • Complex textures: Furry animals, feathered wings, leafy trees – these will never get removed cleanly. Stick to simple textures.

Be prepared to manually fix things if you must work with tricky images like these.

Customizing the New Background

With the original background removed, you can now place your isolated subject on a different background:

  • Solid color backgrounds work well for a clean, bold look
  • The subject will really stand out on a high contrast background
  • Showcase portraits on a soft, blurred background
  • Use PowerPoint’s shape, image, and texture tools to create custom backgrounds

Feel free to get creative with different background options!

Other Uses for Background Removal

Beyond placing the subject on a new background, you can also:

  • Layer images by removing the backgrounds from multiple photos and stacking them
  • Make a cutout to place over a photo for a fun effect
  • Create a transparent background for use in other programs
  • Design a custom thumbnail for your presentation

Don’t limit yourself to basic background swaps.

Saving Your Image

When you finish perfecting the image, save a copy to use again later:

  • Right click on the image
  • Select Save as Picture
  • Choose a location like your desktop or a project folder

This preserves your work so you can reuse the image with the background removed.