Cutting a Circle Out of a Picture on a PowerPoint Slide Using Merge Shapes
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated February 11, 2020
Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)
Starting in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013, you can use the Merge Shapes tool to crop an image to a circle. You can use either Intersect or Subtract to cut out a circle (or other shape) from a picture. If you have a version of PowerPoint prior to 2013, you’ll need to use a different method (such as crop to shape) to cut a circle out of a picture.
To cut a circle out of a picture, you’ll need to:
- Insert a picture onto a slide.
- Draw a circle on top of the picture and move it to the area you wish to cut out of the picture.
- Select the picture and the circle by Shift-clicking and then use Merge Shapes to intersect or subtract.
When you are drawing or moving an object, use your left mouse button.
Note: Some Ribbon tabs may appear with slightly different names if you are working on Office 365 and have a smaller screen or different display settings.
Recommended article: How to Crop an Image into a Circle in PowerPoint (Crop to Shape Method)
Merge Shapes appears on the Drawing Tools Format tab when multiple objects are selected:
Merge Shapes includes the following options (hover over the options to view the effect on the selected objects):
- Union – converts the selected objects into one object.
- Combine – converts the selected objects into one object and removes the overlapping areas.
- Fragment – converts larger objects into many smaller objects based on their overlapping areas.
- Intersect – removes areas of the larger objects and leaves only the areas that overlap each object.
- Subtract – removes areas of the last selected object that does not overlap.
Step 1: Insert a picture onto a slide
To insert a picture onto a slide:
- In Normal View, display the slide where you want to insert the picture.
- Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon and select Pictures. A dialog box appears.
- Navigate to the folder with the picture you wish to insert.
- Double-click the picture.
- Drag the picture to the desired location.
- Drag a corner handle of the picture to resize it.
Step 2: Draw a circle on top of the picture
To draw a circle on top of the picture:
- Click the Insert tab in the Ribbon and from the Shapes drop-down menu, select the oval. The pointer changes to a plus sign.
- Position the pointer on the slide, hold down Shift and drag to draw a circle.
- Release the mouse button first and then release Shift. This should create a perfect circle.
- Select the circle, click the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon and select Shape Fill. A drop-down menu appears.
- From the menu, select No Fill. Because the circle has no fill, you’ll need to select it by clicking its edge.
- Drag the circle (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 circle.
Step 3: Select the picture and the circle and merge shapes
To select the picture and the circle and then merge shapes:
- Click the picture.
- Shift-click the edge of the circle.
- Click the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon.
- 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 circle on a PowerPoint slide (the order in which you select the objects is important):
Below is the final result with the circle cut out of the picture using Merge Shapes and Intersect:
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.
Related article: How to Crop a Picture in PowerPoint (4 Ways)
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