Making Images Semi-Transparent

If you read the previous tutorial on creating semi-transparent text boxes, learning to create semi-transparent images is not too terribly different.

Put quite simply, you “fill” a shape with an image (pick a shape that’s roughly the same size as the image) and then can adjust transparency.  “What do you mean?”  Don’t worry, I’ll explain further.

Below, you’ll see one of our clip art images, inserted in PowerPoint.  It looks great the way it is, but let’s say we want to make it a watermark or just fade it the tiniest bit.  If we use the “Watermark” feature of PowerPoint, the image will become drastically lighter, with very little detail and the white stick figures will fade almost completely.  What we will do instead of using the “Watermark”, is inserting a shape and using the picture as the fill color.

Full size, unedited image

To do this, start by using “Insert”(tab)>”Shape”(ribbon)>”Rectangle”(ribbon), and draw a rectangle roughly the same size as the image you inserted.  Something to consider is this:  If you can make the size of the shape the EXACT same size as the image borders, it’ll fit right inside the shape as the fill, and won’t look stretched, squashed, or strange.

Now, the default color for a shape in PowerPoint or word is blue.  Why blue?  I’m not sure, but that’s OK, it makes it easier to find for our purposes.  Alright, next up, go to your shape you just inserted (the blue rectangle), right click and select “Format Shape”.

Format Shape

Next, you will see a pop up box that appears, select the “Fill” option at the top, if it is not already selected (more than likely, it’ll be selected already).  Select “Picture or Texture Fill” and then “Insert from: File” directly below the texture pallet.

Fill > Picture or texture fill > Insert From: File

Find the picture you want to insert and click OK.  You’ll be left with what appears to be your normal image, but now you have the ability to modify the transparency by using “Format Shape”>”Fill”>”Transparency”(at the bottom of the Fill Options).

Notice the difference between Washout and Transparency of 70%

Ultimately, you may be wondering what you’d use the semi-transparency for, other than perfecting color options for backgrounds and foregrounds, the beauty is that the sky is the limit.

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4 Responses to “Making Images Semi-Transparent”

  1. Laura Burke says:

    Very helpful! Thanx!

  2. Rick Stone says:

    One way to ensure exact sizing is to acquire and install the free PPTools Starter Set. This gives you a tool to capture the size and position of an object and apply it to another object.

    http://www.pptools.com/starterset/index.html

    What I do is to insert the image, then the shape and I use the add in to capture the image size and apply it to the shape. Then it’s simple from there forward.

  3. Chiley~ says:

    Thank you soooo much for this! It was extremely helpful for making a whole new image that I’ve been trying to make for a while now! The instructions were very simple and straight to the point; again, THANK YOU!

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