Tip of the week # 637
15 January 2021

Make part of a picture transparent (Microsoft Office) *

This week's tip is inspired by Tracy who asked how to make an image background transparent. Checking my archive I noticed I wrote a tip about it back in 2008. But that described how to do it using Office 2003 and 2007 and as it is slightly different in newer versions I felt it was time to dust it off.

Here's how:

  1. Double-click the picture you want to modify.
  2. In the Adjust group, click on the Color button.
  3. Select Set Transparent Color from the drop-down list.
  4. In the picture, click the part you want to make transparent.

NOTE: If you don't get the effect you expect it might be because areas that seem to be the same colour (such as green leaves) will actually be made up of a range of different colours. Setting a transparent colour works best with simple, solid-colour pictures, such as clip art. (With thanks to Ruth for querying this.)

If you change your mind you can quickly discard all of the formatting changes you made to the picture by clicking on the Reset Picture button in the Adjust group.

Thanks for the tip inspiration, Tracy. The bragging rights will last a lifetime.

Related tips
1. Turn a rectangular picture into a circle : tip_633.php
2. Replace a picture without losing its size and shape : tip_548.php
3. Resize and position photos in SmartArt : tip_513.php
4. Make the background of a picture transparent (Office 2003-2007) : tip_254.php


* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.