Transparent Image Backgrounds in Google Slides

In this post I gave some tips on editing your master slide in your Google Slides presentation.

Occasionally, you may want to use images with transparent backgrounds in your slides, especially for logos and so on that appear on multiple slides. Unlike some other applications, Google Slides isn’t able to make an image background transparent. You usually need to edit your image using Photoshop or some other program that can manipulate images.

There are a couple of alternative ways that make this task a little easier.

ClippingMagic is a clever (and currently free while in beta) tool that makes it really easy to make a background transparent. It’s simply a matter of dragging, dropping, and mapping out the background, with the online tool doing the hard work for you.

After uploading your image, you’ll see two copies of it side by side on the screen. With the provided red and green brushes, mark in green everything you want to keep (i.e. the foreground) and with red anything you want to lose. The tool will do the rest, even giving your remaining image a neat feathered edge so it fits seamlessly over your background.

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

UPDATE: It seems that Clipping Magic has now gone out of beta and has started charging a modest amount for the service. If you need it to be free, you can try http://fotoflexer.com/ instead, it works almost identically. Load up your photo, then select the Geek tab (on the right) and then Smart Cutout, then follow the instructions. It’s not quite so intuitive, but it’s not far off, and it’s free! There’s another possible alternative at http://removebackgroundfromimage.appspot.com/ though for some reason it didn’t work for me …

There’s a similar tool in Microsoft Office 2010/2013, though I won’t cover that here as many readers won’t have it.

Where you’re lucky enough to have a single-coloured background that you want to make transparent, this is pretty simple in most graphics packages (such as GIMP, Photoshop etc) and in Microsoft Office Word, Excel or Powerpoint since Office 2007. Simply select the background colour, choose Recolor and set that colour to transparent.

You can use your new image in your slide design:

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Click image to enlarge

To create slides with cool background images:

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Click image to enlarge