How to remove image background using Powerpoint or Word


Removing an image background is a task that is often needed, but also often confusing. Somewhat surprising, Microsoft PowerPoint and Word offer a powerful image editor built right into the application and it work pretty darn good. You can use this tool to remove many image backgrounds. Here’s how to do it.

Select the image you want to remove the background from by clicking on it.  From the top menu click on the Picture Format menu item.  In the resulting menu ribon select the Remove Background tool.  PowerPoint or Word will make a first pass on background removal.  The use the presented Mark Areas to Keep and Mark Areas to Remove.

  1. Select the picture that you want to remove the background from.

Just place the image on a blank slide in PowerPoint or a page in Word.  I find that if I’m just working to remove the background from images that PowerPoint is easier to work with.  Plus, you can save multiple images, one per slide.

  1. Select Picture Format > Remove Background, or Format > Remove Background.

When you select an image, the tool bar will automatically show a task-specific menu item Picture Format.  Selecting this menu item will cause a new ribbon bar to appear.  That ribbon bar will have a Remove Background tool on it.

If you don’t see Remove Background, make sure you selected a picture. You might have to double-click the picture to select it and open the Format tab.


The default background area will be colored magenta to mark it for removal, while the foreground will retain its natural coloring.


  1. Use the Mark Areas to Keep and Mark Areas to Remove tools to revise and edit the image.

If parts of the picture that you want to keep are magenta (marked for removal), select Mark Areas to Keep and use the free-form drawing pencil  to mark the areas on the picture that you want to keep.

To remove more parts of the picture, select Mark Areas to Remove and use the drawing pencil  to mark those areas.

  1. Save the new image as png type file if you want to have a transparent background.

When you’re done, select Keep Changes or Discard All Changes.

To save the image in a separate file for later use, right-click the image and select Save as Picture.

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Norm Sash

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