Select and Remove Picture Backgrounds in Office 2011 for Mac - dummies

Select and Remove Picture Backgrounds in Office 2011 for Mac

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Remove Background is a new feature for Office 2011 for Mac applications. The Remove Background feature automatically figures out a shape’s boundaries, which make removing it super quick. In many ways, this tool is easier and more capable than Photoshop, and it works amazingly well on many pictures.

  1. Select a picture.

  2. Click the Ribbon’s Format Picture tab. In the Adjust group, click Remove Background.

    Remove Background surrounds the area(s) of your picture it guesses that you want to keep with a selection box. Remove Background indicates what it interprets as the background with a pink overlay. Resize the selection box by dragging the handles so that the desired foreground is highlighted. As you drag, the size of the selection is indicated in a ScreenTip.


  1. Press Return to remove the background.

    The perfect result, determined automatically.


The Remove Background tool is simply brilliant at picking out the subject from the background. But if you have a picture that Remove Background did not interpret perfectly on its own, you can help it out by specifying which portions of your image are foreground or background.

To manually add to the selected area, take these steps:

  1. Notice that as you move the mouse cursor over the pink overlay, it becomes a green plus.

  2. When the cursor is a plus, drag a line across a portion of the picture you want to add to the selection.

  3. To manually remove portions of the selected area, hold Command down to change the plus to a minus and then drag over the area you want to remove.

If you make a mistake, click the small circle in the center of each line to undo that line. Note that you don’t click on boundaries — you draw lines over the center of areas to select them.