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Power Cropping Images in PowerPoint

Crop any number of photos to one consistent size with this incredibly useful PowerPoint "hack"

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PowerPoint "Power Cropping"

While shortcuts are the FASTEST way to double your productivity in Microsoft PowerPoint, that does not mean they are always the fastest way to get something done.

Take cropping and resizing your images in PowerPoint, for example.

Even if you know all the best picture and cropping shortcuts, you will never beat PowerPoint at what it does best.

As you will see in the video below, this is what I call “Power Cropping.”

Step #1. Select your images (all of them)

While holding Shift or clicking and dragging with your mouse, select all the images on your slide that you want to crop into a standardized size for your presentation. The number of pictures you have is irrelevant. PowerPoint can crop and resize them all at the same time.

Step #2. Open the Picture Layout dropdown

With your images selected, navigate to the Picture Format tab and open the Picture Layout dropdown menu.

Step #3. Pick one of these two layouts

Within the Picture Layout dropdown menu, select one of the following two SmartArt layouts depending on what shape you want your pictures to crop to:

  1. Bending Picture Semi-Transparent Text for squares and circles (1x1 dimension)
  2. Picture Grid for rectangles or ovals

Although the Picture Layout dropdown gives you lots of options, I find these two are the best as they maintain the quality and crispness of the images.

Selecting one of these layouts forces all your pictures into a PowerPoint SmartArt graphic as pictured below (but you don’t want to stop here).

Even if you want a round picture (which I’ll show you how to get in just a second), you still want to start with one of the two layouts I recommend above.

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Step #4. Ungroup your layout twice and remove the extra pieces

Once you have your SmartArt layout, hit Ctrl + Shift + G on your keyboard twice to ungroup the graphic and break it down to the pictures, shapes and/or textboxes.

Delete all of the shapes you do not want to keep in your layout. In the picture above, that means deleting all the semi-transparent text boxes from the Bending Picture Semi-Transparent Text layout.

Step #5. Adjust your photo’s X and Y crop offsets (if necessary)

For any image that appears cut off or not quite centered correctly within the shape that PowerPoint cropped it down to, you can adjust it by following these steps:

  1. Right-click your image
  2. Select Format Picture
  3. Click the Picture icon
  4. Adjust the Offset X and/or Offset Y values

Offset X moves your picture horizontally within the cropped frame while Offset Y moves your picture vertically within the cropped frame.

Step #6. Change your picture shape (optional)

Once you have broken your SmartArt graphic apart and adjusted your images, you can change the shape of your images as follows:

  1. Select your pictures
  2. Go to the Shape Format tab
  3. Click on Edit Shape
  4. Select Change Shape
  5. Choose the Oval shape (or whichever shape you prefer)

You can convert multiple pictures at the same time to another PowerPoint shape. You do not need to do this one picture at a time.

Picture Hack Conclusion

While there are many shortcuts for manipulating and cropping pictures in PowerPoint, there is no way to do so for multiple slides at a time. That’s where figuring out how to leverage special tools and hacks in the software comes in handy.

Being able to Power Crop 56 photos into a standardize size and shape is always going to be faster than using your keyboard shortcuts to manually crop and resize your images one-by-one.

In the next article, we will dive into your Hold Shortcuts and I’ll teach you a clever mechanic to learn them a lot faster than everyone else.

Up Next ...

In the next lesson I'll show you some PowerPoint HOLD Shortcuts ... with a twist!

Taylor Croonquist
I’ve had millions of dollars of funding riding on PowerPoint pitch books and proposals that needed to be perfect, and I was sick of working on them until 3AM in the morning only to have a boss or client decide to change 90% of it when they reviewed it the next morning. So I geeked out on PowerPoint: I joined groups, bought books, went to conferences and worked backwards through everything I thought I knew. I took the most time intensive tasks that waste your time and figured out how to get PowerPoint to do them for you. After more than a decade of pursuing PowerPoint proficiency, I’m excited to teach it to you!
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