Crop Circles in PowerPoint

Categories: PowerPoint 2013 and PPT 2010.

The most common way to turn your rectangular picture into a perfect circle is to create a circle shape and fill it with an image. I came up with a quicker method earlier this week. How did I not discover this before?! This method works in PowerPoint 2010 and 2013.

Insert your picture onto your slide. (Insert | Picture) Select the picture. On the Picture Tools Format tab, click the bottom of the Crop button and choose Aspect Ratio, 1:1. This crops your image to a perfect square.


Now change the perfect square to a perfect circle by clicking the bottom of the Crop button again. This time use Crop to Shape and choose the oval shape. Because the aspect ratio is 1:1, the oval is actually a circle.




Sneaky little Cropping refinements:

If the image isn’t positioned correctly, you can easily move it inside the circle shape – or within any crop, for that matter. Click the top of the Crop button to activate crop mode, then just drag the picture around within the frame. If the edge of your picture is right at the edge of the crop frame like it is in this example, press Shift while you drag. This keeps the picture from becoming mis-positioned within the frame, leaving you with blank pixels near an edge.

If you want to resize the picture within the frame, activate cropping mode and drag the corner of the picture to resize it. Make sure you grab the white circle at a corner of the picture and not the black crop handles, which control the cropped frame itself. Also, even though you’re dragging a corner, be sure to press Shift when resizing a picture so you don’t distort the image.


(Big thank you to Julie Terberg ( for letting me use her polar bear picture.)


  1. Echo Swinford

    Right, Jay, but the point here is you can turn your rectangle into a perfect circle rather than just an oval, which is what you’d get if you didn’t select the aspect ratio crop first.

  2. Oh, brilliant! Echo, thanks for sharing! I’ve often wondered what those ratios did in passing but did the usual… “I’ll play with that later” thing. Love it.

  3. Echo Swinford

    Glad it helped, Cindy. I’ve become really fond of the crop to 16:9 option lately as well.

  4. Thanks for the tips, Echo! (I’ve been experimenting with short video tips lately, but this shows the great value of instead using carefully cropped still shots for scanability.)

    Looks like there’s lots more goodies in 2010 than 2007, which makes me wish we had 2010 where I work.

    For the moment, guess I’ll have to content myself with filling a shape, or using the Picture Shape button for quick but non-circular results.

    Actually, your post’s inspired me and I can think of a couple of fairly ways to do this in 2007. So when I get a chance, I’ll put together a post about it.

    Thanks again,

    (P.S. It took me a while to get the pun in your post’s title. I blame the alien conspiracy!)

  5. Echo Swinford

    Glad you found it useful, Craig. For 2007, you can insert a circle on the slide and then fill it with an image. Then go into the fill settings (right-click and choose Format Shape) and you can adjust the picture inside the shape. To do so, click Tile Picture as Texture, then you can change scale and offset, etc. Just make sure the pix is larger than the shape so it doesn’t tile.

    Alternatively, you can always crop your pix to a square and then use the Picture Shape button to get the perfect circle.

    As a reminder (and I believe you understand this, but it seems I wasn’t perfectly clear in the original post), of course if you use the Picture Shape tool in 2007 and apply a “circle” shape to a rectangular (not square) picture, you’ll get an oval, not a perfect circle.

    This is the same in 2010 and 2013 if you use the Crop to Shape option to crop to a “circle” on a rectangular (not square) image — you’ll get an oval instead of a perfect circle. That’s one reason the aspect ratio option is such a convenient feature.

    Thanks for providing an easy place for me to add clarification!

  6. atikah

    perfect! i been wandering in the internet just to find the easiest way to crop my circle picture, without even knowing it can be done easily on PPT!!! thanks for the new knowledge for me!

  7. Thanks so much! Just found this post and it worked perfectly. Now I can uninstall those useless crop apps I just added to my phone :-D

  8. Liz

    OMG, soooo helpful. It was driving me crazy that PowerPoint didn’t just have a crop-to-circle option. You saved my sanity! Thank you.

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