PowerPoint 2016: Formatting Pictures

Lesson 16: Formatting Pictures



There are a variety of ways to format the pictures in your slide show. The picture tools in PowerPoint make it easy to personalize and modify the images in interesting ways. PowerPoint allows you to change the picture style and shape, add a border, crop and compress pictures, add artistic effects, and more.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Watch the video below to learn more about formatting pictures in PowerPoint.

To crop an image:

When you crop an image, a part of the picture is removed. Cropping may be helpful when a picture has a lot of content and you want to focus on only part of it.

  1. Select the image you want to crop. The Format tab appears.
  2. On the Format tab, click the Crop command.
    Clicking the Crop command
  3. Cropping handles will appear around the image. Click and drag one of the handles to crop the image. Make sure the mouse is right over the black cropping handle so you don't accidentally select a resizing handle.
    Cropping an image
  4. Click the Crop command again. The image will be cropped.

To crop an image to a shape:

  1. Select the image you want to crop, then click the Format tab.
  2. Click the Crop drop-down arrow. Hover the mouse over Crop to Shape, then select the desired shape from the drop-down menu that appears.
    Selecting a shape
  3. The image will appear formatted as the shape.
    The image cropped to a shape

You may want to crop the image to the desired size before cropping it to a shape.

To add a border to an image:

  1. Select the image you want to add a border to, then click the Format tab.
  2. Click the Picture Border command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. From here, you can select a color, weight (thickness), and whether the line is dashed.
    Changing the picture border
  4. The border will appear around the image.
    A picture with a green border

Image adjustments

PowerPoint offers several options for changing the way images appear in your slide show. For example, you can add a frame, make image corrections, change the image's color or brightness, and even add some stylish artistic effects. These options are located in the Adjust and Picture Styles groups on the Format tab.

Image Adjustment Options

When you're ready to make adjustments or experiment with the look of an image, select the picture and choose one of these options from the Format tab.

  • Corrections: This command is located in the Adjust group. From here, you can sharpen or soften the image to adjust how blurry or clear it appears. You can also adjust the brightness and contrast, which controls how light or dark the picture appears.
    The Corrections command
  • Color: This command is located in the Adjust group. From here, you can adjust the image's saturation (how vivid the colors are), tone (the temperature of the image, from cool to warm), and coloring (changing the overall color of the image).
    The Color command
  • Artistic Effects: This command is located in the Adjust group. From here, you can add artistic effects such as pastels, watercolors, and glowing edges.
    The Artistic Effects command
  • Picture Styles Group: This group contains a variety of styles you can apply to your picture, such as frames, borders, and soft edges.
    The Picture Styles drop-down menu

Compressing pictures

If you want to email a presentation that contains pictures, you'll need to monitor its file size. Large high-resolution pictures can quickly cause your presentation to become very large, which may make it difficult or impossible to attach to an email. Additionally, cropped areas of pictures are saved with the presentation by default, which can add to the file size. PowerPoint can reduce the file size by compressing pictures, lowering their resolution, and deleting cropped areas.

To compress a picture:

  1. Select the picture you want to compress, then click the Format tab.
  2. Click the Compress Pictures command.
    Clicking the Compress Pictures command
  3. A dialog box will appear. Place a check mark next to Delete cropped areas of pictures. You can also choose whether to apply the settings to this picture only or to all pictures in the presentation.
  4. Choose a Target output. If you are emailing your presentation, you may want to select Email, which produces the smallest file size. When you are done, click OK.
    The Compress Pictures dialog box

Compressing your pictures in PowerPoint may not reduce the file size enough for your needs. For better results, you can use an image editing program to resize the image before you insert it in your presentation. To learn more, see our Image Editing 101 tutorial.


  1. Open our practice presentation.
  2. On slide 7, select the treadmill picture.
  3. Crop the picture so it's slightly smaller and the treadmills take up the majority of the frame.
  4. Change the style of the picture.
  5. Apply a correction to the picture. For example, increase the brightness.
  6. Compress your picture and choose Email as your target output.
  7. When you're finished, your slide should look something like this:
    Formatting Pictures Challenge