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Insert Pictures in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to insert a picture on a slide in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher






It is true that both pictures and words are important, and they both play complementary roles. If you had to choose just one of them; then seeing is a much more important part of presenting. Presentations, by their very nature, are meant to be seen since they evoke actions such as project, display, or broadcast; and all of these actions represent visual media. Text and speaking are important too, but you can be more effectively heard and remembered if your content includes both text and pictures.

Adding pictures to your PowerPoint 2016 slide is a great way to add some visual detail. Essentially, depending upon the layout of your slide, there are two ways to insert a picture on your slide in PowerPoint:

  1. You use a layout that includes a Content or Picture placeholder.
  2. You insert a picture within a slide irrespective of its layout.
Tip: A Content placeholder is a flexible placeholder on your slide that lets you add text, pictures, or any other content types. A Picture placeholder, on the other hand, lets you add just a picture. We use the Content placeholder in this tutorial.

Choose the option that works best for you; we cover both options in the following steps:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016. You will see the Presentation Gallery. Here, select the Blank Presentation to open a blank presentation with a new slide. Change the layout of this slide to Title and Content by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Title and Content option. This results in the slide layout you see in Figure 1.

    Notice that this layout has a Content placeholder that lets you add bulleted text or any of the 6 different content types in the slide. These 6 content types are indicated by the 6 buttons located right in the center of the Content placeholder (see Figure 1). Click on the Pictures button in the Content placeholder, shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

    Pictures button within Content placeholder
    Figure 1: Pictures button within Content placeholder

    Alternatively, if you want to add a picture on an existing slide that has no Content placeholder, you can select the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Pictures button (highlighted in red within Figure 2).

    Pictures button within the Insert tab
    Figure 2: Pictures button within the Insert tab
  2. Either way, you will summon the Insert Picture dialog box. Navigate to the folder where your pictures are located. You will see the icons or thumbnails of the pictures as shown in Figure 3. Alternatively you may just see a textual listing. Select the picture you need, and click on the Insert button highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Insert Picture dialog box
    Figure 3: Insert Picture dialog box

    Tip: Can't see picture thumbnails, as shown in Figure 3? Do you see a list instead, or smaller thumbnails, or even a detailed list? It's simple to change between these views. Click the down-arrow next to the Change your view button (highlighted in blue within Figure 3, above). This brings up the View Options drop-down list, as shown in Figure 4, below.

    View menu options within Insert Picture dialog box
    Figure 4: View menu options within Insert Picture dialog box

    To see thumbnail previews of the pictures, choose any of the options that end with the word "icons", such as Small, Medium, Large, or Extra Large Icons.
  3. As soon as you click the Insert button, you will see the selected picture placed on your PowerPoint slide, and also the Design Ideas Pane, as shown in Figure 5.

    Picture inserted on the slide
    Figure 5: Picture inserted on the slide

    Cannot see the Design Ideas pane? That can happen if you are using a perpetual version of PowerPoint 2016 rather than the subscription version. Find out more in our Updates for Office 365 Applications page.
  4. The Design Ideas Pane contains thumbnails of various layouts suggested for the active slide, where you have inserted the pictures. Just click on any thumbnail to apply the layout to the active slide, as shown in Figure 6.

    Picture inserted on the slide
    Figure 6 Picture inserted on the slide

    Otherwise, just close the Design Ideas Pane to simply insert the picture on the slide, as shown in Figure 7.

    Picture inserted on the slide
    Figure 7 Picture inserted on the slide

    Now, the picture you inserted can be edited by resizing, moving, rotating, etc. You can also add effects and more pizzazz to your pictures, as we show you in our picture tutorials.
  5. For now, don't forget to save your presentation.

Note that the procedure to insert a picture explained above will not retain any relation between the picture in your folder and the picture on your slide. The picture on your slide is an independent copy that is contained within the presentation. If you want to link to the picture, check our Insert and/or Link Pictures in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

Tip: Do you want to insert tens or hundreds of pictures in successive slides? You don't have to insert them one at a time -- look at PowerPoint's awesome Photo Album option to get them all on your slides with two or three clicks.

See Also:

Insert Picture in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Insert Picture in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Insert Picture in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Insert a Picture in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.



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