Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Setting a Transparent Color for an Image.

Setting a Transparent Color for an Image

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 17, 2016)

Whenever you place a picture in your worksheet, it is rectangular in nature. Sometimes, the image may actually be rather small, but the area occupied by the image is rather large. For instance, you could have a logo that is diagonal in nature, which means that there is a large "background area" on the image. This background area, for all intents and purposes, is wasted space.

Fortunately, Excel allows you to define a particular color in your image as a transparent color. This means you could select the background area of your image, designate it as transparent, and thereby allow the underlying cells show through. To make a transparent area in your image, follow these steps:

  1. Select the image you want to modify.
  2. The Picture toolbar should be visible. If it is not, use the Toolbars option from the View menu to turn on the Picture toolbar.
  3. Click on the Set Transparent Color tool on the toolbar. (This is the second tool from the right.) The mouse cursor changes to look like the tool itself.
  4. In the image, click on the color you want to be transparent.

If you can't select the Set Transparent Color tool in step 3, then you might not be able to set a transparent color in the image. Excel allows you to set the transparency color for bitmapped graphics, but not for other types. If you later want to turn off the transparency color, then you need to click the Reset Picture tool on the Picture toolbar.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2200) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Setting a Transparent Color for an Image.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Blank Page Printing after Table at End of Document

When you print, do you get an extra blank page printed at the end of the document? It could be because of the final paragraph ...

Discover More

Duplicate Workbooks Opening

If you ever open a workbook and always see two workbooks instead of one, chances are good the reason is because of the number ...

Discover More

Making Fast Work of Uploading Files to Drive

What's the fastest way to get files into your Drive space? Why, dragging and dropping, of course! You'll find the complete ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Selecting Drawing Objects

Excel allows you to create all sorts of drawings using a wide assortment of tools. When you need to take an action upon those ...

Discover More

Changing Chart Types

Want to change an existing bar chart to a different type of chart, such as a line chart or a column chart? It's easy to do ...

Discover More

Adjusting Picture Appearance

Excel provides the Picture toolbar to help you modify any images in your worksheet. This tip explains how to use the toolbar ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is four less than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.