Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Setting a Transparent Color for an Image.

Setting a Transparent Color for an Image

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 21, 2019)

Whenever you place a picture in your worksheet, it is rectangular in nature. Sometimes, the image may actually be rather small, but the area occupied by the image is rather large. For instance, you could have a logo that is diagonal in nature, which means that there is a large "background area" on the image. This background area, for all intents and purposes, is wasted space.

Fortunately, Excel allows you to define a particular color in your image as a transparent color. This means you could select the background area of your image, designate it as transparent, and thereby allow the underlying cells show through. To make a transparent area in your image, follow these steps:

  1. Select the image you want to modify.
  2. Make sure the Format tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. In the Adjust group click the Recolor tool or the Color tool (depending on your version of Excel). Excel displays a series of options.
  4. Click Set Transparent Color. The mouse pointer changes.
  5. In the image, click on the color you want to be transparent.

If you can't select the Set Transparent Color tool in step 3, then you might not be able to set a transparent color in the image. Excel allows you to set the transparency color for bitmapped graphics, but not for other types. If you later want to turn off the transparency color, then you need to click the Reset Picture tool in the Adjust group on the Format tab of the ribbon.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8729) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Setting a Transparent Color for an Image.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Pop-up Windows in Word

Want to add a small pop-up window over a word in your document? There is no way to do this directly in Word, but you can ...

Discover More

Using Chart Titles

Titles can be a great addition to any chart. They help provide explanatory information about the information in the ...

Discover More

Excluding Some Data from a Chart

Excel is a whiz at creating charts from your worksheet data. When the program tries to determine what should be included ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Non-Tiled Background Pictures

Background pictures are repeated over and over again (tiled) by Excel. If you want them to not be tiled, you may be out ...

Discover More

Drawing Simple Objects

Want to draw a few simple shapes or lines on your worksheet? It really is simple; here's how to do it.

Discover More

Moving and Copying Graphics Objects

Excel doesn't just work with numbers and text. You can also add graphics objects to your worksheets, and then use Excel's ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.