When you want to insert a photo into PowerPoint, you should think about how you can edit that photo to improve it. For example, you might want to:
- Crop it
- Change its brightness or contrast
- Recolor it
- Remove its background
- Give it a border, shadow, or reflection
You can usually do these tasks in PowerPoint. Since PowerPoint 2010 added a Remove Background feature (shown here), you often don’t need to leave PowerPoint.
But you may not have PowerPoint 2010 and the feature sometimes leaves rough edges.
And you may find the tools elsewhere to be better or easier to use. So here’s a list of free photo-editing tools. Of course, you can use them for your personal photos or any other use, not just for PowerPoint.
Microsoft Office Picture Manager
I use this a lot. It has an Auto Correct button on the toolbar that almost always makes my photos look better–in 1 click! I like this tool so much, that I’ve set it as my default to open JPGs and PNGs. The instructions to do this depends on your version of Windows; to find out how to set a default program to open a specific type of file, go to Start, Help and Support and search for “default program.” This is important because Microsoft Office Picture Manager has a strange idiosyncrasy; you can’t simply open a file from within the program. How weird is that? Instead, you click Shortcuts and let it find locations where you have images and use the Picture Shortcuts pane to navigate to images. How weird is that?
To find the Picture Manager, go to Start, Programs, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office Tools. Another way to open an image in the Picture Manager is to right-click it in Windows Explorer and choose Open With. You should see a list that will hopefully include the Picture Manager.
Once you open a picture, after trying the Auto Correct button, click Edit Pictures for other options, which are:
- Brightness and Contrast
- Rotate and Flip
- Red Eye Removal (something you can’t do in PowerPoint)
- Compress Pictures
You can also choose File, Export to change the file format and more.
Picnik is typical of free online photo editors. You upload a photo, use the tools (Crop, Rotate, Exposure, Colors, Sharpen, Resize), then save the photo to your computer. One nice feature is that you don’t have to register.
Pixlr is a free online photo editor that is also a drawing tool. You can create art from scratch or upload your image. You can add text, distort photos, replace colors, and more. Pixlr is quite Photoshop-like.
GIMP is free software that you install. It’s as close to Photoshop as you can get without getting Photoshop and is widely used. It has many features for editing and composing images.
Other free tools
Here are some other free tools. Many are supported by ads. You have to try them out to see which one you like best. Thanks to MediaBistro for their list.