O365 Tips & tricks. September Vol.3


Remove the background of a picture

In Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, you can remove a background from a picture to accent or highlight the subject of the picture or to remove distracting detail.

Background removal isn't available for vector graphic files, such as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Adobe Illustrator Graphics (AI), Windows Metafile Format (WMF), and Vector Drawing File (DRW).

Purple flower with green leaf backgroundFlower with 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.
Flower with leaves in the background
Original picture showing background removal lines
In newer Office 365 versions
  1. Click the picture that you want to remove the background from.

  2. Under Picture Tools, on the Format tab, in the Adjust group, click Remove Background.

    The Remove Background button, shown on the Picture Tools Format tab of the Ribbon in Office 2016

    (If you do not see Remove Background or the Picture Tools tab, make sure that you have selected a picture. You might have to double-click the picture to select it and open the Format tab. (Also, this feature isn't available in PowerPoint 2007.)

    The default background area will be colored magenta to mark it for removal, while the foreground will retain its natural coloring. In some cases, you will have the result you want without any additional work; in other cases, you will want to add or remove areas of the picture, as described in the next step.

  3. If necessary, under Picture Tools, on the Background Removal tab, do one or both of the following:

  • If parts of the picture that you want to keep were removed, click Mark Areas to Keep and use the free-form drawing pencil Pencil used to draw tables to mark the areas on the picture that you want to keep.
  • To remove more parts of the picture, click Mark Areas to Remove and use the drawing pencil Pencil used to draw tables to mark those areas.

    The background removal buttons on the Picture Tools Format tab of the ribbon in Office 2016
    1. When you are done, click Keep Changes or Discard All Changes in the Close group.

    Save the edited picture

    • The changes that you make to your picture's background only affect the copy of the image that is shown in the presentation, document, workbook, or email message. They don't affect the original image file. However, once you are done and have selected Keep Changes, you can then right-click the image and click Save as Picture to save your newly revised image as a separate file.