How to Highlight Part of a Picture in Microsoft PowerPoint

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

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

Add your picture

As a reminder, you can add a photo or image to your PowerPoint presentation with just a few clicks.

RELATED: How to insert an image inside text in PowerPoint

Select the slide and place on it where you want to place 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 images”.

Insert, Picture Options in PowerPoint

Find the image you want to add and click “Insert”. From here you can drag to move or resize the image on the slide as you wish.

Insert shape

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

RELATED: How to Draw and Edit a Freeform 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 turns into a crosshair, so drag to draw the shape on your image. You can adjust the shape after drawing it by dragging it to move it or by dragging it in or out of a corner or edge to resize it.

Draw a circular shape

Don’t worry about the color fill you see in the shape. This will not show up after following the remaining steps.

Shape drawn in PowerPoint

Merge and Split Elements

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

Selected image and shape

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

Fragment in the Merge Shapes dropdown

This merges the image and the shape together while fragmenting the shape so that it is separate.

Image and form fused and fragmented

Apply blur or another effect to the image

Now that the image and shape are merged, select the image (not the shape). Next, navigate to the Image Format tab that appears.

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 image except for the shape, choose the Blur option. You can choose a different effect if you prefer.

Blur in the Artistic Effects drop-down list

You’ll see the fragmented shape in full focus with the rest of your image blurred, highlighting that part.

Blurred image with highlighted fragment

To make changes to the effect, right-click on the image and select “Format Image”.

Format Picture in context menu

When the sidebar opens, it should direct you to the Artistic Effects section of the Effects tab, but if not, go ahead. Expand Artistic Effects if necessary.

Image sidebar format with expanded artistic effects

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

Adjusted blur for a photo

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

Different artistic effect selected

Highlighting part of an image in PowerPoint allows you to emphasize focus. And for other ways to edit pictures in PowerPoint, check out how to crop a picture to fit a shape or how to make a picture transparent.