It is very common to use images in a PowerPoint presentation, but you should be selective about what you include.
- Images as decoration - try to use these sparingly (either one larger image or two smaller ones are usually enough per slide).
- Images as a concept - if you are using images to describe a concept, then one large one is usually enough for you to talk over. Any more can become confusing and cluttered.
- Images of tables - think about what your audience can see from a distance. Small tables and limited amounts of data will remain readable.
- Charts and graphs - these can work well visually so long as any data and labels are also clear.
Inserting images in PowerPoint
There are two main ways to add images to your PowerPoint presentation:
1. Locate your image(s) in your file explorer and simply drag them into the PowerPoint slide.
2. Go to the Insert tab in the main top menu bar and select Pictures:
You have a few choices at this stage. This Device... will let you browse for images on your computer. Stock Images... are a curated collection of freely available images. Online Pictures... takes you to a Bing image search.
Positioning your image(s)
Images, tables, charts, shapes and text boxes in PowerPoint are treated as objects. These objects can be dragged to any position on a slide, but other objects do not move out of the way like they do in Word. To fix positioning, you may need to split your text into more than one box if you want it to wrap around your image:
In this example, I have split my text into 3 separate boxes - one above the image, one to the left and one below:
Now that you have repositioned your image you may find that it is either too big or too small for the place where you want to display it. Simply click on the image to show the Resizing Handles:
You can click and hold onto these handles to resize your image by dragging.
Quick tips: 1. If you use the corner handles - the image will resize evenly horizontally and vertically. 2. Don't make your image much bigger than the original size because it will start to blur.
When you select an image and see the Resizing Handles - these is an additional handle that can be dragged to rotate the image:
Cropping images (chopping off bits you don't need) is also really easy to do after you have put your image(s) into a Word document.
Click on the image that you want to Crop to select it.
The top menu bar will now change to add a Picture Format toolbar (partial toolbar shown):
From this new toolbar, you can choose to Crop your image. The basic cropping tool is available from the Crop dropdown button:
Selecting Crop will place drag bars onto your image - drag these bars to crop your image from each respective side:
When you are happy with the new shape/size of the image - hit the Crop button again to confirm the Crop:
From the Crop dropdown button you can also choose to Crop to shape - if your image is largely decorative you can use this option to help make your images better fit the assignment by making them round, arrow shaped or any of the other options.
Compressing image size
It is usual to put a number of images into your presentation and this might mean that your PowerPoint size has become very large. You can easily reduce the file size of the images used and make you presentation smaller (thus easier to email or submit for assessment).
Select any image in your document.
In the Picture Format toolbar - select Compress Pictures:
A new popup window will provide you with some options for compressing your images:
To compress all of the images in your document, untick "Apply only to this picture".
If you have cropped any images, leaving the next option ticked will discard those bits you previously chopped off.
"Use default resolution" will usually work best and will keep your images looking clear.
There is a lot more you can do to images in a PowerPoint presentation including recolouring, changing transparency, adding captions, etc. to better explore some of these options, please consider the following resources:
Linkedin Learning Videos
Crop and convert images and icons
PowerPoint guides and tutorials