Crop an Image in 4 Different Ways in PowerPoint

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated July 20, 2020

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

In PowerPoint, you can crop a picture in several different ways. You can apply basic cropping, crop to a shape such as an oval or triangle, crop to aspect ratio or crop to a precise size. After you have applied cropping, you can change the cropped area, adjust the position of the picture and / or resize the picture.

Note: For PowerPoint 365 subscribers, the Ribbon tabs may appear with different names depending on the size of your screen. For example, the Picture Tools Format tab may appear as Picture Format and the Drawing Tools Format tab may appear as Drawing Format or Shape Format. Buttons may also display in a different way (with or without text) depending on the size of your screen.

Recommended article: How to Compress Images in PowerPoint to Reduce File Size

Applying basic cropping to a picture

You can apply basic cropping to a picture using Crop on the Picture Tools Format tab in the Ribbon:

Crop button on the Ribbon in PowerPoint to crop picture.

To apply basic cropping to a picture:

  1. In Normal View or Slide Master View, select the picture you want to crop.
  2. Click the Picture Tools Format tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click Crop in the Size group. Cropping handles and sizing handles appear on the image. When the cropping and sizing handles appear, you are in crop mode. The grey areas will be cropped out of the picture.
  4. Position your pointer over a black cropping handle and drag the handle over the image to crop. The grey areas outside of the crop handles will be removed.
  5. Position your pointer over a circular sizing handle and drag if you want to resize the image. To resize the image proportionally, drag a corner resizing handle and hold down Shift as you drag.
  6. Point to the image (not a handle) and drag to move the image within the cropped area (if necessary).
  7. Click Crop in the Ribbon, click outside of the image or press ESC to finish cropping.

When you apply cropping to an image, different types of handles appear:

  • The black handles which appear at the corner and sides are used for cropping the picture. Drag toward the middle of the picture to crop.
  • The white circle handles can be dragged to resize the picture within the cropped area.

In the image below, note the two types of handles (the grey area would be removed when you apply cropping):

Picture with crop handles in PowerPoint deck.

You can use the following shortcuts when cropping:

  • To crop equally on two sides at the same time, hold Ctrl while you drag a side crop handle towards the middle of the image.
  • To crop equally on all four sides at the same time, hold Ctrl while you drag a corner crop handle towards the middle of the image.

Cropping a picture to a shape

When you click Crop, cropping handles appear allowing you to crop to a rectangle or square. However, you may want to crop to some other shape such as an oval or triangle.

To crop a picture to a shape (such as an oval or triangle):

  1. In Normal View or Slide Master View, select the picture you want to crop.
  2. Click the Picture Tools Format tab in the Ribbon and in the Size group, click the arrow below Crop.
  3. From the drop-down menu, choose Crop to Shape and click the shape you want to use from the Shapes gallery. You can select an oval, triangle or some other shape.
  4. Position your pointer over a black cropping handle and drag the handle to crop (if necessary).
  5. Position your pointer over a circular sizing handle and drag to resize the image (if necessary). To resize the image proportionally, drag a corner resizing handle and hold down Shift as you drag.
  6. Point to the image (not a handle) and drag to move the image within the cropped area (if necessary).
  7. Click Crop in the Ribbon, click outside of the image or press ESC to finish cropping.

In the example below, note the Shapes gallery that appears when you select Crop to Shape:

Crop to shape gallery in PowerPoint to crop picture.

Below is a picture that has been cropped to shape:

Picture cropped to a shape in PowerPoint.

Cropping a picture to aspect ratio

You can also crop a picture to aspect ratio or slide size. For example, in PowerPoint 2013 and later versions, the default aspect ratio is 16:9 or widescreen. When you insert an image, it may not resize to fit the screen when you drag the sizing handles. In this case, you may want to crop to aspect ratio first, apply cropping and then resize the image so that it fits on your slide.

To crop a picture to aspect ratio:

  1. In Normal View or Slide Master View, select the picture you want to crop.
  2. Click the Picture Tools Format tab in the Ribbon and in the Size group, click the arrow below Crop.
  3. From the drop-down menu, choose Aspect Ratio and then select an aspect ratio (such as 16:9). Do not drag a cropping handle or you will lose the aspect ratio.
  4. Position your pointer over a circular sizing handle and drag to resize the image (if necessary). To resize the image proportionally, drag a corner resizing handle and hold down Shift as you drag.
  5. Point to the image (not a handle) and drag to move the image within the cropped area (if necessary).
  6. Click Crop in the Ribbon, click outside of the image or press ESC to finish cropping.

If you want the picture to fill the slide, drag it to the top left of the slide and then drag the bottom right corner sizing handle to the bottom right of the slide.

Compressing pictures and deleting cropped areas

You can click Compress on the Picture Tools Format tab to reduce the size of one or all pictures in a presentation. In the case of cropped pictures, you can also permanently delete the cropped areas.

To compress pictures:

  1. In Normal View or Slide Master View, select the picture you want to compress.
  2. Click the Picture Tools Format tab in the Ribbon and in the Adjust group, click Compress Pictures. A dialog box appears.
  3. If you uncheck Apply only to this picture, all pictures in the presentation will be compressed.
  4. If you check Delete cropped areas of pictures, the cropped areas will be permanently deleted.
  5. Select the desired resolution.
  6. Click OK.

You will need to save the presentation, close and reopen it to see the change in file size (select the File tab in the Ribbon and then select Info to view file size in the Properties on the right side of the screen). Compressing a picture to reduce the size of the file changes the amount of detail retained in the source picture so the picture may look different after it has been compressed.

Cropping to a precise size

You may want to crop a picture to a precise size to fit into an area or frame on a slide. One way to accomplish this is to create a rectangle or shape with the precise size you want, place it over the picture and then cut the shape out of the picture.

Note: This strategy uses Merge Shapes which is available in PowerPoint 2013 and later versions.

To crop a picture to a precise size using a rectangle:

  1. In Normal or Slide Master View, insert a picture onto a slide.
  2. Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon and from the Shapes drop-down menu, select the rectangle. The pointer changes to a plus sign.
  3. Position the pointer on the slide and drag to draw a rectangle.
  4. Select the shape, click the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon and select Shape Fill. A drop-down menu appears.
  5. From the menu, select No Fill. Because the shape has no fill, you’ll need to select it by clicking its edge.
  6. With the shape selected, click the Drawing Tools Format tab and in the Size group, enter a width and height measurement and then press Enter.
  7. Drag the shape (by its edge) over the area of the picture that you wish to cut out. You can also use your arrow keys to move the shape.
  8. Click the picture first.
  9. Shift-click the edge of the shape.
  10. Click the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon and in the Insert Shapes group, click Merge Shapes and then select Intersect from the drop-down menu.

In the following example, we selected a picture and then selected a shape on top of the picture (the order in which you select the objects is important):

Picture with crop shape drawn on top of the image.

Below is the final result with the shape cut out of the picture using Merge Shapes and Intersect:

Picture after crop in PowerPoint.

When you use Merge Shapes with a picture and a shape, PowerPoint creates a new shape so you will not be able to uncrop the picture at a later date. You can undo Merge Shapes immediately by pressing Ctrl + Z but that will only undo your last action.

In this article, we’ve used 4 methods to crop pictures. However, there are other ways to crop. For example, you can fill a shape with a picture and then change cropping options or even convert several pictures to SmartArt to quickly crop and resize multiple images.

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Summary
How to Crop a Picture in PowerPoint (4 Ways)
Article Name
How to Crop a Picture in PowerPoint (4 Ways)
Description
In PowerPoint, you can crop a picture in several different ways. You can apply basic cropping, crop to a shape such as an oval or triangle, crop to aspect ratio or crop to a precise size. After you have applied cropping, you can change the cropped area, adjust the position of the picture and / or resize the picture.
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Avantix Learning

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