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Using Morph to Highlight Parts of an Image in PowerPoint 365 for Windows

Learn to highlight different parts of an image using the Morph transition effect in PowerPoint 365 for Windows. You can highlight one part successively, or even many parts as needed using this technique.

Have you used a large picture in your PowerPoint presentation that covers the entire slide area, and you now want to highlight some parts of the image more than others? Maybe, you have a picture of a lavish food spread at your restaurant, and you want to highlight individual dishes? Or you have a plant nursery, and you want to focus on some unique plants? These and other similar ideas need to fulfill two objectives:

  1. You need to highlight one part of the image at a time.
  2. You still need to show the remaining parts of the image to explain context and relation, but these remaining parts need to be somewhat muted.

If these objectives are the same as yours, then you will love this easy technique of using the Morph transition effect to highlight parts of an image. You can also download the sample file used for this tutorial.

Do you want to use a full screen image or even a large image on your PowerPoint slide and now you want to highlight a certain part of the image? The rest of the image should be faded or dimmed. Next, you want to move the highlight area to another part of the image, and then yet another part. So, you want the highlight to move between different parts of the image, all on successive slides. Using Morph to Highlight Parts of an Image in PowerPoint

Follow these steps to learn more about this technique using PowerPoint 365 for Windows:

  1. Create a new presentation, or add a new slide to your existing presentation. To quickly add a new slide, you can use the Ctrl + M keyboard shortcut.
  2. PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

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    Explore our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences Ebook that is updated for all PowerPoint versions.

  3. Change the layout of this new slide. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and click the Layout button as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1, below.

  4. Figure 1: Change the slide layout to Blank
  5. Next, click the Blank option, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 1, above.
  6. Now, insert an image in your slide that you want to use. It’s best that you use an image that’s almost as large as the slide iiself, as shown in Figure 2, below.

  7. Figure 2: Insert a full-slide sized image
  8. Full-slide vs. Background Images

  9. The picture you see in Figure 1, above is a full-slide image. However, it’s easy to get mixed up between full-slide and background images.
  10. What’s a background image?

  11. Any full-slide images that live in the Slide Master or any Slide Layouts are background images.
  12. What’s a full-slide image?

  13. Anything you expressly inserted on a slide and resized to fit the entire slide area is a full-slide image.
  14. The techniques explained in this tutorial will only work with full-slide images. How do you know that you are working with a full-slide image? If you can select and move the image on your slide, then you are using a full-slide image. If the image cannot be selected and moved, then it is most likely a background image.
  15. Now, select the image on the slide and duplicate it by pressing the Ctrl + D keyboard shortcut. The duplicated image will be placed at a little offset from the original image, as can be seen in Figure 3, below.

  16. Figure 3: The duplicated image is slightly offset
  17. Select the original image which is placed behind the duplicated image carefully. Then, access the contextual Picture Format tab of the Ribbon, and click the Transparency button, highlighted in red within Figure 4, below. Doing so brings up a drop-down gallery. Choose the Transparency: 50% option, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 4.

  18. Figure 4: Set a transparency value of 50%
  19. Contextual Tabs

  20. The Picture Format tabs are contextual tabs. Contextual tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time. They only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  21. Now with the transparent image selected, and nothing else selected, access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and click the Arrange button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 5, below. Doing so brings up a sub-menu. In this sub-menu, click the Align option, highlighted in blue within Figure 5.

  22. Figure 5: Align the images to the center of the slide
  23. This action brings up yet another sub-menu. Click on both the Align Center and Align Middle options, highlighted in green within Figure 5, above. Do ensure that the Align to Slide option, highlighted in purple in Figure 5 is checked.
  24. Now select the duplicated image. This is the image that has no transparency applied and is placed above the transparent image. Next, choose the Align Center and Align Middle options, highlighted in green within Figure 5, shown previously on this page. This image now will be centered on the slide completely covering the transparent image.


  25. With the top image selected, now access the Picture Format tab of the Ribbon. Next, click the bottom arrow below the Crop button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below. In the ensuing menu, choose the Aspect Ratio option, highlighted in blue within Figure 6. Within the resultant sub-menu, click on the 1:1 option, highlighted in green within Figure 6.

  26. Figure 6: Choose the 1:1 aspect ratio
  27. Next, with the top image still selected, access the Picture Format tab of the Ribbon again. Next, click the bottom arrow below the Crop button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, above. In the ensuing menu, choose the Crop to Shape option, highlighted in blue within Figure 7, below. Within the resultant sub-menu, click on the Oval option, highlighted in red within Figure 7.

  28. Figure 7: Use the Crop to shape option
  29. You’ll see that the top image now is cropped to a circle right in the middle of the slide, as shown in Figure 8, below. You can also see that the bottom, transparent image is visible. However, to those who don’t know that these are two separate images, the appearance seems like a circular part of the single image has been highlighted.

  30. Figure 8: Highlighted circle part of the image
  31. Now, we need to make the cropped circle smaller. To do so, access the Picture Format tab of the Ribbon. Next, with the round-cropped picture still selected, click the Crop button, and not the bottom arrow below the Crop button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 9, below.

  32. Figure 9: Clip the Crop button
  33. Doing so will show eight crop handles in the round-cropped picture, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 10, below. Do note that you will also see eight resize handles, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 10. You must not touch these resize handles, and must only perform this step using the crop handles.

  34. Figure 10: Eight crop handles for the round-cropped picture
  35. Now, by using only the crop handles in the four corners, resize the circle. Remember to press the Shift key while you resize so that the height to width ratio is maintained. When you make the cropped circle smaller by dragging inwards with one corner handle, you may have to drag outwards with another corner handle so as to ensure that your circle encompasses a certain area of the image, as shown in Figure 11, below.

  36. Figure 11: Cover a certain area of the image by cropping creatively
  37. Now, duplicate this slide. To do so, right-click on the slide thumbnail on the Slides pane on the left, and choose the Duplicate option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 12, below.

  38. Figure 12: Duplicate your slide
  39. Now, with your cropped circle selected, access the Picture Format tab of the Ribbon. Next, click the Crop button, and not the bottom arrow below the Crop button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 9, previously on this page.
  40. We will now highlight another part of the image. However, you will need to do so without dragging the image anywhere. You must only use the eight crop handles in the round-cropped picture, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 10, previously on this page. The best way to do so is to drag outwards the corner crop handles so as to encompass a larger part of the image, and then to drag inwards to highlight another area of the image. Remember to always press the Shift key while you resize so that the height to width ratio is maintained. We ended up with the cropped circle area, as shown in Figure 13, below.

  41. Figure 13: Moving the cropped area
  42. We similarly duplicated the slide several times, and relocated and resized the cropped-circle area. You can see the resultant slides in Slide Sorter view in Figure 14, below.

  43. Figure 14: Duplicated slides with different highlighted areas
  44. Next, access the Transitions tab of the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 15, below. Within the Transitions to This Slide area, choose the Morph transition effect, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 15. Also, click the Apply to All option, as shown highlighted in green within Figure 15.

  45. Figure 15: Apply the Morph transition effect
  46. Now play the slides to check if they work well. Save your presentation often.

13 10 06 - Morph in PowerPoint: Using Morph to Highlight Parts of an Image (Glossary Page)