A PowerPoint Tip to Make Your Slides More Professional

Kesha Dougan
Posted: September 18, 2018

Following our recent webinars, How to Design Your PowerPoint Slides Like a Pro and How to Bring Your PowerPoint Training to Life with Better Animations and Transitions, we received some great feedback regarding the tutorials and freebies we gave away during the live sessions — so much that we thought to turn a popular question into a blog post. (Pro tip: In case you missed either/both of the sessions, head to the links above for full replays!) Whether you’re an instructional designer sharpening your skills or a professional brushing up on your PowerPoint expertise, let’s learn how to cut out the background on images.

Want to learn how to cut out the background of images for cleaner PowerPoint slides and designs? Click To Tweet

If you’re familiar with my weekly Tiny Topics to help you #UnlockInnovation, you know these are micro tasks that only take a few minutes to read. Today I invited my friend and fellow Innovator, Melissa Curtis-Hendley, as she is particularly knowledgeable and skilled in this area and I felt it would beneficial to give a quick tutorial on how it’s done. Thank you, Melissa!

First things first: COB stands for “cut out background.” This is apparently a veryoldterm used back in the day when we had to physically lay out paper copy for ads in our college newspaper. If you wanted a graphic to have the background removed, you wrote “COB.” I get a confused look every time I use this acronym now, so this is my attempt to bring it back! COB = Cut Out Background.

Alas, I am burying the lead!

If you currently do not know how to COB to get rid of the white space behind a graphic…brace yourself — this little trick is going to ROCK YOUR GRAPHIC WORLD!

1. You build a beautiful PPT slide.

2. Then, you want to add a cool graphic like this, but… UGH! All the white space in the graphic messes up the words and the other elements behind her. You think, “if only I could COB that white part!” Well…YOU CAN!

3. Click on the picture and choose Format Picture.

4. Click the Color drop-down, then select Set Transparent Color.

5. Then simply click the white space in the graphic — and voila! Text and background elements now show even right behind her!

Would you like more tips and tricks on how to design your PowerPoint slides? Start here!


About the Author

Kesha has been in the learning industry for over 20 years helping companies and individuals reach their highest potential. Helping companies create training solutions to match the needs of the learner is a true passion of hers. She is a true creative person and brings her out-of-the box thinking and can-do spirit into everything she does. Her philosophy is to be open to change and willing to take risks that produce breakthrough performance. Her favorite quote is from Audrey Hepburn – Nothing is impossible; the word itself says “I’m possible!”