Become a master cropper–PowerPoint cropping secrets


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Recently a member of the Power Pointers Quarter Hour weekly training program asked me how to crop a headshot of a person to fit into a circle. I did a training session on the topic and thought I’d share the basics with you.

The reason this is difficult is that the headshot needs to be a perfect square; otherwise you’ll distort the image, as you see here.

How to crop to a square

There are 2 little-known features of cropping that you can use to get some nice effects and also to create consistency among multiple photos on a slide.powerpoint-tips-cropping-2

When you select an image and click the Format tab, you’ll see the Crop button. But if you click the Crop button’s Down arrow, you’ll see some options you might not have investigated – Crop to Shape and Aspect Ratio. You might think that you want to crop to a circle, but remember that the shape is an oval and you’ll just get the headshot in an oval — a nice effect, but not what we want.

Cropping to a square doesn’t work either because it’s really a rectangle and the image is already a rectangle.

So instead, use the Aspect Ratio option to get a perfect square. Once you have that, you can get the circle look you want. From the Aspect Ratio drop-down list, choose the Square 1:1 option and you’ll see crop handles in the shape you want. Drag the headshot so that it fits properly within the square and click outside the handles to finish the crop.powerpoint-tips-cropping-3

Now you have a perfectly square headshot. You have 2 options now.

The simplest is to choose Format tab, Crop down arrow, Crop to Shape, and choose the Oval shape. You’ll get a perfect circle.


But you can also fill a circle with the image. Follow these steps:

  1. Copy your square headshot to the clipboard.
  2. Insert a circle, holding down the Shift key as you drag (or just click on the slide to get the default size).
  3. Right-click the circle and choose Format Shape.
  4. In the taskbar that appears, click the Fill & Line icon and then expand the Fill category.
  5. Choose Picture or Texture fill. You’ll see the default texture in your circle.
  6. Click Clipboard under the Insert Picture From label.

powerpoint-tips-cropping-5I know, that’s a lot more steps!

Either way, you can add an outline and make it wider, add a shadow, add beveling, etc. to get the look you want. Here’s my final headshot in a circle. Do you like it?

You can use SmartArt picture layouts to put multiple images in a square or circle.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Ellen Finkelstein – View the original post .


About the author

Ellen is a PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional, a Microsoft award), one of only 11 in the United States and 40 in the world. Her well-known website at offers many PowerPoint tips, a blog, and the free PowerPoint Tips Newsletter. She specializes in training speakers and presenters to convert Death by PowerPoint to Life by PowerPoint; communicate clearly and powerfully; and design high-impact, persuasive and professional-looking slides.

She is an Amazon bestselling author. Some of her books and e-books are PowerPoint for Teachers: Dynamic Presentations and Interactive Classroom Projects, How to Do Everything with PowerPoint 2007 (and three earlier editions), Slide Design for Non-Designers, 101 Tips Every PowerPoint User Should Know, The Lost Art of Persuasion, and others. She has written numerous articles on presenting and PowerPoint for Microsoft’s website and blog, Inside PowerPoint,, PresentationXpert, Presentations magazine, and more.

Ellen Finkelstein has done training for Citrix, Brainshark, Disney, Microsoft, Pennsylvania State Education Association, Maharishi University of Management, State University of New York at Buffalo, State University of Illinois, Vastu Homes, and others. She does on-site training, 1-on-1 virtual coaching/training, and live workshops. Read other posts by

Published On: 23rd Aug 2016

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