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Photoshop TIFF and Alpha Channel Export for PowerPoint


February 27th 2009

See Also: PowerPoint and Alpha Channels

In this tutorial, we will learn how to export a TIF graphic from Adobe Photoshop with an alpha channel that PowerPoint can import. I have used Adobe Photoshop 6 on Windows XP Professional.

  1. For this example I created (File | New) a new file in Photoshop with a transparent background.

  2. Using Photoshop's shape tool, just draw any shape to fill the empty document.

  3. Choose Layer | Rasterize | Shape.

  4. Choose any color for the foreground and click the Gradient button from Photoshop's tools - within options (the toolbar below the menu), choose the foreground to transparent gradient.


  5. In the Layers window,  Ctrl-click the layer that contains your shape so that all non-transparent areas are selected.

  6. Press the Delete button on your keyboard - you now have an empty screen with a selection (shown as 'marching ants').

  7. Drag in any direction with the gradient tool to create a fill that spans from opaque to transparent. Alternatively, you can also use any other non-transparent gradient or a solid fill color. Repeat and experiment until you are satisfied.

  8. Press Ctrl-D to deselect everything - Ctrl-click the layer again in the Layers tab window to select the entire transparency gamut.

  9. Go to the Channels tab and select 'Create New Channel' from the flyout menu. Click OK for the default name that Photoshop chooses for the new channel.

  10. Photoshop will present you with a black background and a selection comprising our shape. Click Alt-Backspace to fill the transparency gamut with white. Press Ctrl-D to deselect.

  11. Go back to the Layers tab and choose File | Save As...

  12. In the file format drop down box, choose TIFF. Check the 'Alpha Channels' box in the Save Options if it is disabled.

  13. In the next dialog box, choose IBM PC for the Byte Order and enable LZW Compression.

  14. Back in PowerPoint, just insert the exported TIF using the Insert | Picture command - the screenshot below shows you how the transparent areas reveal themselves.

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