How to Remove Backgrounds and Colors from Images in Microsoft Word

by | Sep 26, 2014

The graphics editing features in Microsoft Word have certainly come a long way. You no longer need Photoshop for some common picture editing. For example, Word’s Picture Tools can remove backgrounds and colors from images.

Remove the Background From an Image

This works best with uncluttered backgrounds and edges with contrast.

Click on your picture, then on the PICTURE TOOLS > FORMAT Tab. Click on the first button on the ribbon, REMOVE BACKGROUND, and two things happen: the picture sports bright pink coloring, and a new ribbon appears.

On the ribbon, MARK AREAS TO KEEP removes the pink knockout marks from areas you want to save.

Use MARK AREAS TO REMOVE to tell Word what to knock out.

Click on either of these buttons and click-and-drag across small segments of the photo to increase or decrease the pink area. Use relatively small lines so that Word can analyze the image to find clear boundaries.

If you make a mistake, click the DELETE MARK button and click on the + or — sign in the middle of your marks.

When the areas you want to remove are all pink, click KEEP CHANGES. If you change my mind and want to cancel, click DISCARD ALL CHANGES.

Remove the Background from an Image

Remove Color

This works best for gifs and drawings with areas of flat color.

After inserting your graphic, click on the COLOR button, then on SET TRANSPARENT COLOR.

The cursor becomes a pen with a black angle. Click on the color in the picture to be removed, and all pixels of that color disappear.

While the removed color looks white, it’s actually transparent. If you print on colored paper, the paper color shines through. If you layer this graphic over another, the bottom one peeks through.

Set Transparent Color

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  1. Tylor

    It is extremely helpful for me. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this topic.

  2. Lucia Stone

    Wonderful Tutorial, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information.

  3. Alex

    Thanks. Your guidance and tips are important and we appreciate your efforts for sharing this great information.


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