Thanks for joining us again. In last week’s blog post, we looked at how to size, position and crop images within PowerPoint. This week, we look at some of the basic image manipulation features which are available.

At this point, let’s assume your PowerPoint is already populated with text and images and at this stage, you’re thinking about aesthetics and consistency. When we look at the following options, it will be via the PowerPoint tabs.

Later in this post, we’ll look at short cuts to access and refine manipulations.

Brightness / contrast

When it comes to brightness and contrast, this should be an easily understood concept. It’s like making the screen on any device brighter and adding contrast to help with content definition. To change the brightness or contrast of an image you have inserted, double-click the image to bring up the Picture Format tab and Adjust section (as shown below):

PowerPoint - Picture Format and Adjust section
PowerPoint – Picture Format and Adjust section

Clicking on Corrections will give a dropdown panel. Here, you can add Sharpen / Soften to an image, as well as adjust the Brightness / Contrast.

owerPoint - Brightness / Contrast options
PowerPoint – Brightness / Contrast options

Sometimes when images are inserted, they may be a bit too dark or bright. Using the Corrections option allows you to improve the consistency of the images and bring out more detail. There’s no need to worry. These settings do NOT permanently change the image. The image can be reset back to its original at any point.

To Reset an image, simply click the Reset Picture option. Note: there’s a reset picture and reset picture & size to choose from.

PowerPoint - Reset Picture and Size options
PowerPoint – Reset Picture and Size options
Making images black and white

Whilst in the Picture Format tab, let’s explore how to recolour an image. If the Picture Format tab is not showing, double-click the image you want to amend. Then click on the Color option:

PowerPoint - Colour Options
PowerPoint – Colour Options

There are a number of options available. If you don’t see the colour option you require, click More Variations. This shows the Theme Colours and Eyedropper tool. Using the eye dropper allows you to select any available colour from the slide currently on screen.

PowerPoint - Theme Colours
PowerPoint – Theme Colours

Mostly, the Colour option would be used to remove colour from an image, i.e., make it black and white. This is a good way to check the contrast of colours / tones. Remember, you can still change the brightness and contrast of an image even if colour is removed!


Occasionally, you might want to reduce the transparency of an image. It might need to overlap another image as a make-shift composite and you need to see the under image detail come through. The transparency of an image can be reduced if the image is to be a background image as well. This works well if the image is black and white. The removal of colour will reduce distraction from the important content on screen.

To amend the image transparency, ensure the Picture Format tab is open. Choose the Transparency option and amend the transparency:

PowerPoint - Transparency options
PowerPoint – Transparency options

Note: the image on the screen now blends into the slide background more. It’s no longer a key feature but works well in the background.

Picture formatting shortcut

Instead of doing everything via the tabs, right-click the picture and choose Format Picture.

PowerPoint - Format Picture
PowerPoint – Format Picture

This shows the Format Picture panel on the right hand side of the screen. We’re mostly interested with the two icons on the right most icon in the panel.

When we view the Format Picture panel and the 4th icon from the left, this allows you to refine your Sharpen/Soften, brightness and contrast values through the use of sliders. It gives you greater control rather than using preset increments which appear in the tabs.

PowerPoint - Picture Format panel
PowerPoint – Picture Format panel

In the Picture Colour section (above), colours can be more / less saturated, i.e., colours can be made stronger or muted / desaturated. Sometimes, an image may look warm or cool in tone. The Temperature option allows this to be changed (as seen below):

PowerPoint - Temperature options
PowerPoint – Temperature options

The image on the left has been cooled to a temperature of 4,500, whilst the image on the right has been warmed to a temperature of 7,500. This can affect the viewer of the image. Cooler images may feel isolated, lonely or cold. Whilst warmer images feel inviting and cosy.

Again, with Transparency, there are presets or you can amend transparency as per the slider for greater control of the tool.

PowerPoint - Transparency options
PowerPoint – Transparency options

We hope this helps improve the visual content within your slides. Have fun experimenting!

Next time

Next week, we’ll be looking at content alignment and some other image aesthetics within PowerPoint.

Remember, the DigiKnow blog posts are released at noon on a Monday.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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