Deep Dive: Crop and Resize Photos in PowerPoint

About this lesson

Master the core cropping tool, but learn bonus material such as the differences between crop fit and crop fill, or the three ways to complete the crop command, or how to use crop aspect ratio or how to fill the full slide with an image using two methods and three ways to crop with shapes including using TEXT FONTS TO CROP a photo!


• 00:00 Intro
• 01:02 Versions of PowerPoint
• 01:14 Resize vs Crop
• 02:09 Crop Deeper Dive
• 03:30 3 Ways to Complete a Crop
• 04:00 Changing Crop Focus
• 04:24 Aspect Ratios Explained
• 05:16 Change Slide Aspect Ratio
• 05:40 Setting Crop Aspect Ratio
• 06:10 Fit vs Fill Crop
• 07:40 Fill Slide with Photo Using Crop
• 08:55 Extra Trick to Fill Slide with Design Ideas
• 10:04 Reset Picture vs Reset Picture & Size
• 11:25 Crop Shortcut Tricks
• 12:44 Advanced Crop Controls
• 13:59 #1 Way to Change Crop Shape
• 14:38 #2 Way to Change Crop Shape – Cookie Cutter
• 15:12 #3 Way to Change Crop Shape – Merge Intersect
• 16:20 Using Letters to Crop Images
• 17:00 Reducing File Size – Compress Pictures and Crop
• 18:59 Wrap-Up


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility 2013 up to Office 365 Windows and macOS


Course Completed

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



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Welcome to PowerPoint CROP and RESIZE of Images with a BIG emphasis on learning everything you need to know about CROPPING.

Hi, this is Les from Power Up Training, where I provide my decades of experience to you for free.

Managing images and photos are a significant part of PowerPoint, and Microsoft gives you the tools to take complete control.

Over the next 17 minutes, you will master Cropping as we cover all the core techniques plus bonuses, such as cropping to fill your slide and how to make text letters out of a photograph with the MERGE INTERSECT Command.

So let go power up with CROPPING AND RESIZING in PowerPoint.

Here we go with Cropping and Resizing graphics and photos in PowerPoint with a really deep dive into CROPPING.

This is appropriate for all versions of PowerPoint on the desktop from 2013 to the latest Office 365 on both Windows and the Apple macOS.

Lets start with a compare and contrast between RESIZE and Crop.

Resize is super simple. Click the object or photo and then click onany of the eight grab handles to drage out or in to resize the image. once the double arrows show up, you can click and drag to resize the full image.

Crop is very different, it will let you slice off portions of the image. Here we are RIGHT CLICKING on the photo and then selectin crop

Watch as I click and drag a differently looking bracket cursor icon to hide the right and left light bubls, going from three to one. Which is altering what our audience sees. Then I can use the RESIZE technique to make it bigger. And the end results looks like two different photos.

Lets go deeper into CROP, the more complicated and more powerful tool.

We earlier saw that we coudl issue the crop command with a right mouse button click, but we can also get to the full CROP command by clicking on the the image and in this case a photo which will display the PICTURE FORMAT menu. Click there and we get the CROP action icon that can be invoked or click the down arrow for more choice.s

Here I just clicked CROP and I see 8 new grab handles for me to trim off edges of the photo. Clck and drage the corners or edges and a new double arrow icon shows up as we shrink or grow the iamage.

Let me UNDO the crop and start again. Selecting the photo, finding the PICTURE FORMAT context menu popping up and then clicking the CROP action icon to show the eight grab handles for us to crop.

Use one of the four corner brackets to crop two sides at the same time, or the T cropping icon to grab the individaul sides to crop just one side of the image in or out.

To finish the crop, do one of three actions: click the grey ACTIVE crop icon or my favorist, just click outside the image or from the keyboard, hit the ESC key. And the action will be implemented

The cropped image can still be resized, but the cropped outside image is still there, just hiding. Look when I turn CROP back on how the full images is still hiding on the outside.

And here is some more CROP MAGIC, with the crop on, you can position your mouse inside the active visible area to get a four way arrow, and with a click and drag, you can reposition what part of the image is displayed. It does take some getting use to as the VIEW window stays displayed and you are dragging the image around to be viewed through this cropped window.

Up to this point, we have been doing free form cropping, with no constraints to the rectangle ratio.

But there will be times when you want the crop to conform to a specific aspect ratio. Our computer monitors and presentation screens typical fall into two standard dimensions: the older 4 by 3 and the more modern 16 by 9

What do these number mean? The first number is number units (be it inches, feet, meters) from left to right and the second number is the same units from bottom to top,

The standard PowerPoint Widescreen dimnetions are 16 units wide by 9 units high. which is very typical, unless you are using the Microsoft Surface laptops (oh you micorosoft, SIGH).

To change your powerpoint slide dimensions, or just to check to see what you have in place, you click the DESIGN tab in the ribbon menu and then the drop down box for SLIDE SIZE and there you will see the two choices, with 16 by 9 WIDESCREEN as the modern default layout.

Before we learn how to make an image fit our widescreen powerpoint presentations, let’s look at the Crop choices for aspect ratios.

With our image selected, we click the context aware PICTURE FORMAT menu and click the down arrow for the CROP, we see a flyout window of choices for ASPECT RATIOS. There are just dicussed ratios under landscapes, plus even more choices. Let’s work with the square 1 by 1 ratio, meaning the sides are all equal.

Once selected, PowerPoint crops off the two sides to make it fit the one by one ratio with all equal length sides. And if we click outside of the image to complete the action, our image gets cropped.

Let me undo this to see some additonal actions.

I will repeat all of our steps to elect to crop with a enforced 1 by 1 aspect ratio, but before accepting the change, I will go back and see that we actually have to choices of ither FIT or FILL. If I select FIT, then PowerPoint will keep the aspect ratio of the PHOTO the same and just make sure that it does not EXCEED the 1 by 1 ratio . . . this will be more of a SHRINK or GROW resizing of the photo to meet our ratio and the viewed 1 by 1 contraint window. Note that there is empty spaces above and below.

Lets try fill.

If insead, I go back to CROP (see that we are still in the active crop mode with the icon still highlighted in grey), we can change our minds and select FILL. Now PowerPOint will make sure that no empty space is unused in our crop viewing window and we can now move the photo’s focus inside our 1 by 1 contraint windows.

Now lets get a picture to fill the whole 16 by 9 slide with the crop tool. Looking at our image size dimenstions, we see the photo is close, but not exactly right. The photos is 6.02 inches by 3.48 inches which is 1.726 ratio while the 16 by 9 is 1.778.

So let’s crop this like before, however, with the aspect ratio set to 16 by 9, which is the PowerPoint wide screen layout.

With the crop tool active I am going to move the crop corners to go precisely to the edge of my slide page. It takes a couple of tries to make it perfect, but when I do, PowerPoint 365 will flash a red outline.

I then go back to the still active CROP drop down box to select FILL. And we will see that powerpoint will shave a sliver of the photo at the top and at the bottom to make it a perfect 16 by 9 photo completely filling our slide.

One more bonus trick to fill the slide for Office 365 uses that may or may not work when using the DESIGN IDEAS tool.

Let me add a new slide and then insert a new photo.

And the first design idea is cropping the photo automatically to fill our slide. As I describe in our extended design ideas tutorial, this is sort of like a Las Vegas Roullet game; sometimes you get luck and when you do, it is a fast and easy winner.

There are situations where the photo has been transformed beyond recovery, and at that point you just need to reset the image. Here I amdoing mulitple crops and resizing, plus using the Artistic Effect option to recolor the photo to a stylzed black and white.

But now I want to go back. While I coulduse UNDO, this would not work if I have saved the file to work on it later. But RESET to the rescue. With the photo selected, we go to PICTURE FORMAT context menu and select the RESET PICTURE drop down button, and here we are faced with two choices: RESE PICTURE and RESET PICTURE & SIZE.

If I just want to remove any photo editing controls of the color and image look, then I select RESET PICTURE but that won’t undo any sizing or cropping. If I want to reset the photo back to its original size and coloring, then I select the 2nd choice of RESET PICTURE & SIZE.

While there is no shortcut keyboard command to invoke the CROP command, there are some keyboard tricks when cropping and resizing photos.

By default, when you resize photos, they will keep there aspect ratio by default, but that is not the case for other objects and shapes. You are able to distort items like this star symbol with a click and drag, however, if you hold down the SHIFT key while resizing with the mouse the aspect ratio will stay locked.

Here is another trick. Typically the resizing of an object will lock one corner in place as you drag the other corner to resize. With the final resting center point different from the starting center point. SOLUTION: HOld down the CTRL key when resize with a mouse and the object will shrink and grow from the same center mark.

This will also work with non-photo objects, but you will have the same issue of warping the aspect ratio UNLESS you hold downt the CTRL AND SHIFT key together while resize the object with a mouse.

The tutorial as been focuse mostly on cropping of photos, if you need more help on resizing other ojbects, do look for our companion YouTube tutorail listed above.

Advanced Cropping controls can be popped up by select the image, clicking the PICTURE FORMAT MENU and then the expanded arrow below the SIZE menu. There you will want to go to the PICTURE icon under FORMAT PICTURE and EXPAND OUT THE CROP choices.

Working the bottom four CROP POSTION settings, you can move the four edges in by either typing in a number or the up and down arrow controls. This gives you very precise controls, but it is not necessarily intuitive.

Next, you use the TWO offset controls, X and Y to change the interior focus of the image, much like we did with the fourway arrow and the mouse at the begginging of the tutorial.

It is extremely precise, but I personally prefer to use my mouse.

Now on to a pair of controls to add a unique look to your crop beyond rectangles an four sided boxes.

The simplest method is to use the PCITURE FORMAT premade picgture sytles.

But this is a Power Up Training tutorial where we show you pro tricks. With the frame applied, go back and select the CROP tool and now we can add a unique look by altering the crop shape and repointing the focus area to get a facinating new look from this stock photo.

Lets do this again, but open up the world of more shapes to cut out our images.

As before, we click on the image and Picture FORMAT menu, and CROP dropdown arrow box, and there we can choose CROP BY SHAPE to uncover all the PowerPoint object shapes to use like cookie cutters. Here I choose a DIAMOND look. And when done, i can go back to select crop and alter the look even more, including refocusing and then turning the cutout image.

We are not done, there is a third way, and that is to take any existing shape and use that as our cookie cutter.

Here I have a flower image and I will add a new shape from INSERT and SHAPE.

Next, I will position it over the flower and arrange the shape to cover all of the flower, but making sure the edges of my shape stays within the boundary of the photo.

And here are the key steps. Select the photo FIRST and the select the shape while holding down the SHIFT or CTRL key to have them both selected. Make sure you always start with the photo.

Then we are going to click NOT on PCITUER FORMAT, but SHAPE FORMAT to uncer the MERGE SHAPE drop down box, and there we will select INTERSECT to cut away everhting that is outside the intersection of the two objects.

The do become “one object” to move around, but you can always go back to the CROP tool to make some fine tuned adjustments.

And did I say you could use any object? Yes, even TEXT. Here we will do an intersection of the “shape” of COLORFUL WORDS with the colorful lego by moveing the text on the photo. selecting the photo first and with the SHIFT key selecting the text placeholder box, next going to SHAPE FORMAT and choosing MERGE SHAPE and INTERSECT. WOW! That is the ultimate in CROPPING!

Now that you see what can be done in adding photos and cropping, you need to be aware that pictures can make your presentation file baloon to huge sizes which makes it hard to store, load or email. The reason is that photos can become humnongous in size and that extra visual fidentlity is not all needed in PowerPoint.

Furthermore, if you crop a photo like these elephants, you are taking out over 75% of the image that is no longer needed, and wouldn’t need to be stored in your presenation file.

So lets see what we can do by clicking on the PICTURE FORMAT and finding the COMPRESS PICTURES action icon.

The first of two things we care about is the resolution or quality of the image to match our presentation goal, if you plan to show on a big screen, then choose HD otherwise if your goal is Print or Web or Email, then select the lower ppi, points per inch, to save storage file space. The second choice is to delete any outside cropped area, This will save tons of space, but you will NOT be able to go back and refocus the crop. Select it and you stuck with the formatting.

Finally, you can do it for just this one image or all the images in the presenation, which is a super time saver.