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When placing text over a graphic in Microsoft Word, you may need to take an extra step. By adding a bit of blur or transparency, your readers can still see the image, but your text will be more readable.

Luckily, Word offers a few built-in image editing tools that can help. With a tweak or two, you can give that image a more subtle appearance. Whether you want to blur the image or make it more transparent, we’ve got you covered.

Add Blur to an Image in Word

Adding blur to an image in Word will soften its appearance. Select the image and open the picture corrections options using one of these two methods.

  • Right-click, select “Format Picture,” and choose the Picture icon in the sidebar.

  • Go to the Picture Format tab, click “Corrections,” and choose “Picture Corrections Options.”

On the Picture Format tab, click Corrections and then Options

If necessary, expand Picture Corrections in the Format Picture sidebar. Then, below Sharpen/Soften, use the Sharpness slider or percentage box to decrease the sharpness.

Adjust Sharpness

You’ll see the adjustment to the sharpness immediately. So you can continue to move the slider or use the arrows if needed.

Blurred image before and after

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If you want to revert the image to its original appearance, click “Reset” at the bottom of the Picture Corrections section of the sidebar.

Reset the Sharpness

Add Transparency to an Image in Word

Maybe you’d prefer to make your image more transparent rather than blur it for your particular document. You can do this in the same area as above.

Open the Format Picture sidebar using one of the methods above and expand Picture Transparency.

RELATED: How to Insert an Image Inside of Text in Microsoft Word

You can use one of the presets for a quick transparent application. Alternatively, use the slider or the percentage box for slight adjustments.

To use a preset, click the Presets arrow and choose an option. You’ll see choices from 95 percent down to zero.

Transparency presets in Word

If you want to make an exact adjustment or add transparency a little at a time, use the slider or the percentage box. In the box, you can enter a specific percent or use the up and down arrows.

Adjust the transparency

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Like when adding blur to an image, you’ll see the changes immediately. This allows you to continue adjusting as necessary.

Transparency before and after

To revert the image to its full transparency, move the slider to zero percent or select “Transparency: 0%” in the list of Presets.

Set Transparency to zero

When you’re using PowerPoint rather than Word, it’ll help to know how to blur an image or make an image transparent in PowerPoint.

Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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