How to Remove the Background Color on a Picture in Microsoft Word

Updated February 21, 2017

The Microsoft Word word processing programme has come a long way from its initial entry into the typing world as part of the Microsoft Office Suite. While the program continues to offer a large collection of tools to help corral words on the page, as the software evolves, it also gives users options to work with other materials, such as images. Instead of having to jump from Word to a graphics software, for example, stay right in Word to perform functions, such as removing picture background colours.

Open Word. Click the "Insert" tab at the top of the screen. Click the "Picture" button below the tab. Browse to the picture with the background colour to remove and double-click the image, which is added to the Word page. A new pink "Picture Tools" tab also opens at the top of the workspace.

Click the picture to ensure it has focus -- look for a surrounding border and boxes in each corner. Click the "Picture Tools" tab to open it on the ribbon/toolbar. If the "Format" tab is not enabled, click it.

Click the "Background Removal" option on the left side of the ribbon/toolbar. Word automatically detects the main image(s) in the foreground of the picture and removes background colour.


Removing a background colour with Word is not as refined a process as using a graphics editor, such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Paint, where you can trace lines and even remove colours pixel by pixel, but it does give you the ability to focus your foreground without having to leave Word or purchase any additional software. ~ Background removal is a new feature issued with the release of Microsoft Word 2010. You won't find this feature when using Word 2007 or earlier.

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About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.