How can I quickly remove picture backgrounds from Office Power Point 2010?

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Removing picture backgrounds for an image has always been a challenging task for casual users.  Traditionally we need a good picture editing software like Photoshop and use its magnetic Lasso tool to select the portion of the image that we want to retain.

In the technical preview of the incoming MS Office 2010, there is built-in capability to remove the background of an image so that the subject of the portrait will be the only thing remaining.

First open your favorite Office application like word or PowerPoint.  In PowerPoint or Word you can use the Insert menu to insert  a picture to your document.

Click the image inside the document to select it.

Click the Picture Tools button on the top right part of the window.

Click the background removal button:

Wait for a few seconds.  The picture will appear with the background highlighted with a saturated color.

Click anything outside the picture. The image  is now without a background!

The feature is not that perfect, the end result came out with some parts of the penguins omitted (maybe considered as part of the background image by the program).

It wasn’t able to distinguish the back of the neck of the penguin on the left from the background clouds.

Office 2010 is great for quick and dirty background removal tasks, but it works good for those quick needs.

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