Microsoft

Remove that annoying background from your company logo

If you can't include your company logo in a presentation because of its unsightly background, use this PowerPoint trick to make that background disappear.

Adding your company logo to a presentation seems like an easy enough task. You probably have a special graphic file that's just the logo -- how hard can it be to insert it onto a slide? Inserting it isn't a problem, but getting it to look right might be. Quite often, the logo shows up with a background, and unless the slide's background matches the logo's background perfectly, it looks awful. (Please don't flame me for the yellow background; the garish yellow makes the example easy to see.)

If your logo is a bitmap file, the solution is easy, but perhaps not well-known.

  1. In Normal view, right-click the logo image and choose Show Picture Toolbar to display the Picture toolbar.

  1. Click the Set Transparent Color tool (the next-to-last button). The pointer will change to resemble the transparency tool. 

  1. Simply click the image's background. If you're lucky, the off-white background will just disappear like magic!

If you're using PowerPoint 2007, do the following:

  1. Click the Format tab.
  2. In the Adjust group, choose Set Transparent Color from the Recolor drop-down list.
  3. Click the image's background.

Of course, you can use this feature to remove more than backgrounds. Just click an area and it'll disappear. If you don't like the look, press [Ctrl]+Z. At the very worst, you might have to delete and reinsert the file to start over. This transparency setting works best with bitmap files. For vector files (most clipart), you'll need special image editing software.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

19 comments
craig.martin1
craig.martin1

This is brilliant. Here is the Mac version from PowerPoint Help:




You can remove a background from a picture to accent or highlight the subject of the picture or to remove distracting detail.


Original picture

 
Same picture with the background removed

You can use the automatic background removal or you can draw lines to indicate which areas of the picture background to keep and which to remove.

 
Same picture showing background removal lines

Note  Compressing a picture to reduce the file size changes the amount of detail retained in the source picture. This means that after compression, the picture can look different than before it was compressed. Because of this, you should compress the picture and save the file before removing the background. If you don't like the results of the compression and background removal, you can change the compression even after you save the file, if you have not closed the program that you are working in.
  1. Click the picture that you want to remove the background from, and then click the Format Picture tab.

    Note  If [compatibility mode] appears after the file name at the top of the document, you might not be able to remove the picture background.
  2. Under Adjust, click Remove Background.

    When you click Remove Background, the application determines what portion of the picture is the foreground (the portion to keep), and which is the background (the portion to remove).

    If Remove Background is not available
  3. Drag any of the sizing handles to resize the rectangle so that it contains the portion of the picture that you want to keep and excludes most of the areas that you want to remove.

     
    Picture showing background removal lines and handles

  4. To adjust which part of the picture background is removed, do any of the following:

    To indicate which parts of the picture you

    Do this

    Want to keep

    Click the background part of the picture. A green icon with a plus sign appears next to the pointer , indicating that the selected area will be retained. Drag the pointer across the area that you want to include.

    Want to remove

    Click the foreground part of the picture. A red icon with a minus sign appears next to the pointer , indicating that the selected area will be removed. Drag the pointer across the area that you want to remove.

    A dotted line with a + or - indicates where you have adjusted the picture background. If you want to remove the adjustment to the picture background, click the + or - .

  5. To apply the background removal, click anywhere outside the picture.

    Tip  : To make further adjustments, click Remove Background again.
  6. To cancel the background removal and any other picture formatting that you have applied, under Adjust, clickReset.

angitech
angitech

Great tip. I'm saving the article and all the posts on this one.

jl.simmons
jl.simmons

This works great - unless of course your logo contains the same color as the background. Then that turns transparent also. Thanks for the tip!

pw
pw

Good thing, very heelpfull, Best regards Piet Walda

davidfitton2002
davidfitton2002

This is a great tip. It alos applies to Word and Excel as well. Pity they didn't put in in Photo manager

bhing2029
bhing2029

Thanks for the tip! I was just making a presentation a few days back and was totally out of my wits on how to change the background of our logo to blend on a background picture. This works like magic!

jimmoosestew
jimmoosestew

Fantastic tip for us non techie pic adjusters. Thanks for this!

d.j.elliott
d.j.elliott

I thought only GIF or PNG images supported transparency. I hate the look of an image on a web page in a box...this is a tip that can be used in other contexts.

Accessible Info
Accessible Info

Very helpful! I have run into this problem many times.

M0rph88
M0rph88

This is very helpful on business presentations.

Ron K.
Ron K.

I may find use for that.

jwilsonjx
jwilsonjx

Photoshop + Magic Wand works as well.

myersrl
myersrl

I've hung on to a copy of Microsoft's Image Composer that came with the FrontPage 98 product (shows how long I've been using it even though I don't use FP anymore) to use for that purpose among others. Set to save the image as a gif file and select and set the transparency color.

pptcrafter
pptcrafter

The set transparency tool doesn't always work well because it has no sensitivity adjustment. If the area to be removed is not an absolutely pure color, parts of the area will remain. You can use a photoshop-like technique: draw objects to mask the unwanted area (make the object color different from any color in the image), group the objects with the image, convert the image to PNG (copy and paste special), then use the transparency tool on the resulting PNG image.

clark41
clark41

But Outlook is currently copying stuff down slowly but surely, presumably so I can still read my mail when offline? Clark ccnp practice test USA

Fireboss
Fireboss

For vector or other files that aren't bitmaps Corel PSP works well and is less $$ intensive than Photoshop. Seriously, anyone still using a bitmap for anything? They're big and clumsy compared to newer formats.

jody.burton
jody.burton

is the open source program, GIMP. It is a seriously powerful free image editor, but there is a bit of a learning curve. For one-shot edits with bitmaps, Susan's solution is quite simple. But if you regularly manipulate images (touch-up, resize, crop, etc.) the time spent learning GIMP can pay back in big dividends. When you're ready for more advanced editing (layers, masking, cloning, perspective stretching) it will be ready for you. People already familiar with Photoshop should be able to pick it up very easily. As to using bitmaps, I recently replaced many embedded EMF(?) logos with our companies JPG logo in files that I use. One spreadsheet had numerous worksheets, each with it's own logo and I reduced the overall size of the file by more than half and sped up loading and saving the file considerably.

bradevans10
bradevans10

A tool I have found more useful than GIMP is Paint.net, it is a free but more powerful alternative to MS Paint, and it has all the effects and tools to get images just right.Also, it is compatible with a variety of file formats, again perfect for this sort of application.