Set Transparent Color for Images in Microsoft Word

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 2, 2008
Updated • Jan 8, 2013

I once had to add a image into a Word document that had a black background which looked awful when I printed the document. The Microsoft Word software, part of Microsoft Office, comes with a couple of image related editing features that you can use for instance to change colors, add borders or set a transparent color of the image.

All I had to do was to change the black background color to transparent so that the image would use the same color as the document which in this case was white. But since the background is transparent, it does not really matter what background the document has since it will always shine through. Here is how I did this in Word 2007. The first thing that you need to do is add the image to the document. Once you did that you need to left-click on the image to bring up the graphics menu.

Select the Recolor option in the Adjust menu and select Set Transparent Color from the options there. Now select the color of the image that you want to make transparent.

Below is a screenshot of an example image with a background color, and on the right the same image after the background color has been replaced with transparency.

There are a couple of limitations though which you need to know about. You can only make one color transparent which could be a problem if the selected image uses multiple colors for the background color. If that is the case, you need to load it into an image editor instead and use it to make the background colors transparent this way.

You could use an image editor like GIMP or to change the color of the background image to one solid one or make it match the background color of the document.


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  1. Anonymous said on December 21, 2022 at 3:40 am

    In office 365 (Powerpoint) this option is under:
    Picture Format -> Adjust -> Colour -> Set Transparent Colour

  2. Diana Noyes said on August 26, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I can get this to work on 1 of my 3 computers. Not sure why, but the computer it works on is W XP, the other two are Windows 7. Is there something else I need to do.


    1. ann said on September 9, 2011 at 4:46 am

      I’m using windows 7, just click the object, then click on format, then click recolor under recolor select set transparent color tool then click on the part of the object that u want to become transparent

  3. IroK233 said on March 18, 2011 at 1:13 am

    It’s working – thank you.

  4. gaz said on March 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Ok thanks will try this.

  5. anonymus said on February 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    it do not wrk cannot find recolour plz help ;)

  6. Bob said on January 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Great, thanks! (in Word 2007)

  7. jim quinn said on December 28, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    This doesn’t work for Word 2008.

  8. ren said on February 6, 2009 at 3:16 am

    You rock my friend. ROCK.

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