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Billions of images are on the internet—but not all of them are free to use. When you add licensed photos to PowerPoint documents, you’ll probably need to cite where it’s from and who made it. Here’s how.

Before we begin, it’s important to remember that how you cite pictures may vary. Formal citation is required in an academic setting, where formal styles like APA are used for documents. Alternatively, copyright licensing may require you to cite images in a different way, depending on the license used.

How to Cite Pictures and Images in PowerPoint

The process for citing pictures and images in PowerPoint is actually quite simple. Unlike citations in Microsoft Word or other Office software, PowerPoint isn’t really designed with referencing in mind. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cite pictures in PowerPoint—it may still be a requirement for academic and licensing reasons.

To cite an image or photo in PowerPoint, you’ll need to first open a PowerPoint presentation and insert a picture or image.

RELATED: How to Insert a Picture or Other Object in Microsoft Office

To add a citation to the image, you’ll need to add a text box. To do this, click Insert > Text Box on the ribbon bar.

Press Insert > Text Box to add a text box in PowerPoint

Next, draw your text box using your mouse or trackpad—place this under your image or in a suitable position close by to it.

Once the text box is created, you can add the citation.

An inserted citation in PowerPoint

Refer to the relevant image licensing guide or academic style guide on how to do this. For academic referencing, you can use the Cite This For Me service to create a citation which you can copy into your text box.

Once your citation is in place, you can then format the text using the formatting options in the ribbon bar under the “Home” tab.

The formatting options for text in PowerPoint under the Home tab on the ribbon bar

Grouping Citation Text and Images Together in PowerPoint

It’s probably a good idea, once your citation is in place, to anchor it to your image using the PowerPoint grouping feature.

RELATED: How to Anchor Pictures to Text in PowerPoint

To do this, select both your citation text box and image using your mouse and then right-click. In the options menu that appears, select Group > Group to bind the image and text box together.

Select Group > Group to bind the image and text box together.

By grouping your citation text box and image together, any changes you make to your image (for instance, resizing or moving it) will now be applied to both simultaneously.

To ungroup them later, simply repeat the steps above by right-clicking your image or text box and then clicking Group > Ungroup instead.

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Ben Stockton is a freelance tech writer from the United Kingdom. In a past life, he was a UK college lecturer, training teens and adults. Since leaving the classroom, he's been a tech writer, writing how-to articles and tutorials for MakeUseOf, MakeTechEasier, and He has a degree in History and a postgraduate qualification in Computing.
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