remove the background from an image

How to remove the background from an image

How to remove the background from an image

Welcome back to PowerPoint Training Online and welcome back for another tutorial. This week we are going to show you how to remove the background from an image.

For many years, if you wanted to remove the background from an image you would need to use a professional piece of software like Adobe Photoshop. In fact, Photoshop has become so synonymous with photo editing that we no longer talk about editing photos. We talk about photoshopping images. When we see a celebrity in a magazine our first words tend to be “Wow, the” look perfect. They must be photoshopped.”

Photoshop is no longer necessary

But now there is a new kid in town. PowerPoint can remove the background from an image. This has been a feature in PowerPoint for a few years now, but it is a tool that is very underutilized.

Yes, it is not as good as Photoshop, but it can help you edit and remove details of images that you do not want in them. You can use it to remove all the background, or you can remove individual parts of an image.

If you do not have a lot of items to edit, then there really is no point in buying an expensive software such as Photoshop if you already have PowerPoint. In fact, on a monthly subscription, MS Office costs £7.99 whereas Adobe Photoshop costs £9.98. The entire office suite or just one program.

The ‘How to remove the background from an image’ video


The ‘How to remove the background from an image’ step-by-step guide

Step One – Insert your image

If you have no image, then you will have nothing to remove the background from. It does not have to be an image, it can be a graphic, a cartoon or a photograph.

If you are looking for an image, check out our post ‘The 9 best image resources on the web’, it will help you find the best image for your presentation.

There are two ways to insert an image onto a slide. You can drag and drop or insert from the ‘Insert’ tab on the ribbon.

Drag and Drop

Open file explorer, go to the folder that holds the image in question. Hold and drag the image onto the slide.

drag and drop

Insert via ribbon

Press the ’Insert’ tab on the Ribbon. Press the ‘Pictures’ button. This will open the file explorer, locate and select the image you want then press the insert button.



Step Two – Open format tab

Once you have inserted an image onto your slide, you need to make sure it is highlighted or selected. To do this simply press on the image. You will see a thin border appear around the image with eight small boxes, one in each corner and side.

Now press the ‘Format’ tab that has just appeared on the ribbon.

format tab

Step Four – Open Remove background menu

Under the format tab, on the left-hand side of the ribbon.  You will see a button labelled ‘Remove Background’.

remove background button

You will notice that the options on the ribbon will change. There are four options on the new ribbon:

  1. Mark areas to keep – Allows you to select areas of the image you want to keep
  2. Mark areas to remove – Allows you to select areas of the image you want to remove
  3. Discard all changes – Removes any changes you may have made
  4. Keep changes – Saves all changes that you have made


Step Five – Remove the background from an image

Once you have opened the remove background menu, the image will get a new border around it and depending on the image a lot of it may be covered in a purple colour.

purple background

Any area that is purple will be removed when you press the ‘Keep Changes’ button.

To remove a part of an image, make sure you have the ‘Mark areas to remove’ button selected. The mouse cursor will change to a little pencil. All you need to do now is draw over the area you want to keep. The purple should then disappear from that area. You can remove large sections by drawing connected lines, like a square or triangle.

To keep an area of an image it is simply the reverse of removing. Press the button labelled ‘Keep areas to keep’. Draw over the areas you would like to keep (you only need to doo this if it is purple).

Once you are happy press the ‘Keep Changes’ button.

Step Six – Retouch (optional)

It can take some time and some practice to perfectly remove the background every time on the first try. So, do not worry. You can always open the remove background menu and retouch any areas that you may have missed.


And there we have it. Another week and another tutorial. Most people using PowerPoint will have very little need for this tutorial, simply because they do not use all of PowerPoints features. I know it’s a sin but that’s just the way some people are.

However, the way the world is going everybody is going to need to create more engaging content. And one way of doing that is by using graphics and images that bring up emotions in people.

At least now you know you can edit and remove the background from the images.

Was this tutorial helpful. If so, please let us know in the comments below. Or you can reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter. We are always there.

Till next time


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