How to Remove the Background from a Picture in Microsoft PowerPoint

Adding images to your PowerPoint presentations can make them more visually appealing and help convey your message more effectively. However, sometimes the background of an image can be distracting or doesn’t fit the look you’re going for. Fortunately, PowerPoint makes it easy to remove image backgrounds right within the app.

In this step-by-step tutorial, you’ll learn how to remove backgrounds from images in PowerPoint presentations using the built-in Remove Background tool. By the end, you’ll be able to eliminate busy backdrops and highlight the main focus of any image.

Why Remove Image Backgrounds in PowerPoint?

Here are some of the reasons you may want to delete the background from a picture in PowerPoint:

  • Remove visual clutter to make the main subject stand out
  • Customize images to match your presentation’s color scheme
  • Layer images over custom backgrounds
  • Crop out unwanted details
  • Make product photos shine against transparent backdrops
  • Save graphics with transparent backgrounds for future use
  • Creatively cut out shapes from images

When the Remove Background Tool Won’t Work

While PowerPoint’s remove background feature works well in most cases, it does have some limitations:

  • Struggles with complex backgrounds like gradients, shadows, or intricate details
  • Can’t remove backgrounds from vector images like logos
  • Won’t work well if the foreground and background colors are very similar

In these situations, the Remove Background option may be grayed out or simply not produce quality results. Consider using a dedicated image editing program like Photoshop or GIMP for best results with tricky images.

Step 1: Insert an Image to Remove the Background From

Start by selecting the image you want to remove the background from. You can pull one from your computer files or search online without leaving PowerPoint.

To insert a picture stored on your computer:

  • Go to the Insert tab
  • Click Pictures
  • Select a photo from your file explorer

To find images online:

  • Go to the Insert tab
  • Click Online Pictures
  • Search for a relevant image and insert it

Step 2: Access Background Removal Tools

With your image inserted, go to the Picture Format tab. In the Adjust group, click Remove Background:

Remove background button screenshot

This will take you to the background removal editing mode. By default, PowerPoint will detect the background and foreground areas. Background sections will be colored magenta.

Step 3: Refine the Background Selection

If PowerPoint didn’t quite capture the full background, use the Mark Areas to Remove and Mark Areas to Keep tools.

For example, you may need to:

  • Add any missed background spots
  • Remove any foreground areas incorrectly marked

Click and drag to brush over areas that need adjustment:

Mark areas to remove screenshot

Take your time and zoom in if needed for precision. Get it as close as possible!

Step 4: Review and Adjust Edges

Pay special attention to the edges between the foreground and background. Zoom in and use the Refine group tools to clean up any rough patches:

  • Mark Areas to Remove: Brush over any background remnants
  • Mark Areas to Keep: Recover any lost foreground details

Step 5: Finalize the Background Removal

When you are happy with the result, click Keep Changes in the top left.

The background will be completely removed! Insert your image onto any slide or save it to use later.

Pro PowerPoint Tip: Remove Photo Backgrounds in Seconds

As great as PowerPoint’s built-in tools are, they can be tedious for large batches of images.

For lightning-fast background removal, use instead:

  1. Go to
  2. Upload or drag-and-drop your photo
  3. Download the cutout image within seconds!

Then pop your background-less image into PowerPoint. The AI does all the hard work for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about removing backgrounds in PowerPoint:

Can I undo background removal?

Yes! In PowerPoint, select your image and go to Picture Format > Remove Background. Click Discard All Changes to revert to the original.

What about transparent backgrounds?

The remove background tool deletes the background completely. To make a solid color background transparent instead, adjust image transparency or set a custom transparent color.

Is there a similar tool for PowerPoint Mac?

PowerPoint for Mac has the same built-in Remove Background option. The steps are identical to the Windows version.

What file type should I use?

PNG images support transparent backgrounds. Save your background-less images as PNG files to retain transparency when you import them.

Remove Distracting Backdrops with Ease Using PowerPoint

With this simple tutorial, you can now easily delete photo backgrounds in PowerPoint presentations.

Cropping out backgrounds takes just a few clicks, giving you complete control over your images. Use this trick to highlight subjects, match color schemes, creatively layer images, and keep the focus on what really matters in your slides.