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Images are common components in slideshows, adding visual flair to your presentations. So, what if you have a picture with a spot you want to focus on? With a little editing, you can highlight part of an image in PowerPoint.

It might be the face of your company or mission, a product on the store shelf, or a handshake showing a good business relationship. Whatever it is you want to spotlight, you can do it easily.

Add Your Image

As a refresher, you can add a photo or picture to your PowerPoint presentation in just a few clicks.

RELATED: How to Insert an Image Inside of Text in PowerPoint

Select the slide and spot on it where you want the image. Go to the Insert tab and click the Pictures drop-down arrow. Choose the location of the image from “This Device,” “Stock Images,” or “Online Pictures.”

Insert, Picture options in PowerPoint

Find the picture you want to add and click “Insert.” From there, you can drag to move or resize the image on the slide as you please.

Insert a Shape

Next, you’ll insert a shape to cover the portion of the image you want to highlight.

RELATED: How to Draw and Edit a Freeform Shape in Microsoft PowerPoint

Go to the Insert tab and click the Shape drop-down arrow. Choose the shape you want to use from the variety of options.

Insert, Shape options in PowerPoint

Your cursor changes to a crosshair, so drag to draw the shape on your image. You can adjust the shape after you draw it by dragging to move it or dragging in or out from a corner or edge to resize it.

Drawing a circular shape

Don’t worry about the color fill you see in the shape. This won’t display after you follow the remaining steps.

Shape drawn in PowerPoint

Merge and Fragment the Elements

Select the image and then the shape. You can do this by holding Ctrl on Windows or Command on Mac as you click each one. Be sure to select the image first.

Picture and shape selected

Go to the Shape Format tab that appears. In the Insert Shape section of the ribbon, click the Merge Shapes drop-down arrow and pick “Fragment.”

Fragment in the Merge Shapes drop-down list

This merges the picture and shape together while fragmenting the shape so it’s separate.

Merged and fragmented picture and shape

Apply the Blur or Other Effect to the Picture

Now that the image and shape are merged, select the picture (not the shape). Then, go to the Picture Format tab that displays.

RELATED: How to Blur an Image in PowerPoint

In the Adjust section of the ribbon, click the Artistic Effects drop-down arrow. To blur the picture except for the shape, pick the Blur option. You can choose a different effect if you prefer.

Blur in the Artistic Effects drop-down box

You’ll see the fragmented shape in full focus with the remainder of your picture blurred, thus highlighting that portion.

Blurred image with highlighted fragment

To make adjustments to the effect, right-click the picture and pick “Format Picture.”

Format Picture in the shortcut menu

When the sidebar opens, it should direct you to the Artistic Effects section on the Effects tab, but if not, head there. Expand Artistic Effects if necessary.

Format Picture sidebar with Artistic Effects expanded

You can then use the slider to increase or decrease the amount of blur. If you choose an effect other than blur, you may see other options.

Blur adjusted for a picture

You can also try out the other effects here as well using the Artistic Effects drop-down box.

Different Artistic Effect selected

Highlighting just a portion of a picture in PowerPoint lets you put the spotlight on the focus. And for other ways to edit pictures in PowerPoint, look at how to crop an image to fit a shape or how to make an image transparent.

Profile Photo for 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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