How to Make an Image Transparent in PowerPoint

How to Make an Image Transparent in PowerPoint

Proper use of transparent images can make your PowerPoint presentations look much more professional. You can also use them to add a watermark or branding to your slides –  another professional touch that can also protect your copyright.

PowerPoint allows transparency settings to be applied to an image using a shape. However, you will have to fill an image with a shape to access a transparency tool.

This guide shows you how to make an image transparent in PowerPoint versions 2016, 2019, 2021, and Office 365.

Option #1: Make the whole image transparent in PowerPoint

Use this method if you want to change the transparency of the entire picture. Follow these steps:

  1. Select the Insert menu. Then, go to Shapes and select the Rectangle shape.

    PowerPoint Rectangle shape
    Select the Rectangle shape.

  2. The cursor will turn into a cross. Click and drag the cursor over the slide to insert the rectangle shape.

    PowerPoint cross cursor
    Insert the shape into the slide.

  3. Now let’s add an image. Right-click the rectangle and select Format Shape…

    PowerPoint format shape tool
    Right-click > Format Shape from the drop-down list.

  4. A Format Picture panel will appear on the right side of the PowerPoint window. Select the Bucket icon, and under Fill,  select Picture or texture fill, then click Insert

    How to fill a shape with an image in PowerPoint
    Select Picture or texture fill, then Insert…

  5. Select the image you want to make transparent and click Insert.

    PowerPoint insert picture dialogue box
    Select your image.

  6. After your image is inserted into the shape, go to the Transparency slider tool. Drag the slider to the right to make the image more transparent. Drag the slider to the left to make the image less transparent.

    How to make an image transparent in PowerPoint using format picture panel
    Drag the slider to the right.

  7. When finished, start the presentation to preview your transparent image on the slide.

    transparent image
    Preview the transparent image.

Option #2:  Add a transparency gradient to your image

This method involves applying a gradient to the photo to make it appear translucent and stylish.

Step 1: Insert a shape on your image

  1. First, you must insert a shape on top of your image. Go to the Insert menu. Select Shapes, then click the Rectangle shape.

    PowerPoint Rectangle shape
    Select the Rectangle shape.

  2. Draw the rectangle on top of the area to which you want to apply the gradient. Then, left-click the rectangle and go to the Shape Format menu. Select Shape Outline, then No Outline.

    PowerPoint No outline tool
    Select No Outline to remove the border of the shape.

Step 2: Add a gradient to the shape

  1. Right-click the rectangle shape, then select Format Shape…

    Powerpoint format shape tool command
    Right-click > Format Shape…

  2. A Format Shape panel will appear on the right side. Select Gradient fill under the “Fill” list. If the markers under Gradient stops are more than two, right-click the extra markers and press DEL (Backspace on Mac) on your keyboard to remove them. We will use only two markers to apply the gradient.

    PowerPoint gradient fill tool
    Select Gradient fill. Then, delete the markers until you only have two.

  3. Select the gradient marker on the right. Click the Color icon and select White. Then, on the other marker, choose your theme color instead.
    PowerPoint how to change gradient color
    Click the Color icon to choose a color.

    Note: Make sure that the Brightness slider stays at 0%. Adding the brightness level will blur the transparency gradient.

  4. Click the Transparency slider and move it to the right.

    PowerPoint transparency slider
    Drag the Transparency slider to the right.

  5. You can see the transparency of your image changing at a gradient. You can adjust this gradient style by playing with the options on this window. For example, you can change the gradient Direction.
    PowerPoint how to change gradient stlye
    Adjust your gradient to your preference.

    The transparency gradient on your image should now be complete. Other objects, such as text, will be more visible in the picture. Start the slide show to preview the image.

    Example of an image that is transparent in PowerPoint
    Preview the results.

Phoebe is an HR assistant in her day job, but is also a web blogger that loves writing guides and sharing her experiences. When she is not out with her friends, she enjoys traveling or binge-watching Netflix. She graduated with a BA in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Utah, and is a chief editor at TechObservatory.

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