My last blog post discussed the difference in behavior between the picture icon in the Content placeholder and the actual Picture placeholder.

To recap, the picture icon in the Content placeholder (used on the left in the image below) inserts the entire picture, while the Picture placeholder (used on the right in the image below) fills the placeholder space with your picture.

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If you need a more thorough refresher, you can re-read the entire post here. When working with images, I generally prefer the behavior of the Picture placeholder, because I usually want to fill the entire placeholder space with the image rather than having the placeholder itself readjust to match the image and leave me with space either on the top or the sides (like it does in the Content placeholder on the left in the screenshot above).

However, there are actually two picture icons in the Content placeholder. In PowerPoint 2013, the second picture icon is called Online Pictures. In PowerPoint 2010, this icon was called Clipart.

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In PowerPoint 2013, when you click the Online Pictures icon in a Content placeholder, a dialog box opens and lets you search for Creative Commons pictures on Bing as well your own online picture caches on OneDrive, Facebook, and Flickr. (I imagine if you’re in a corporate setting, you might have access to a stash of company pictures on Sharepoint or Brand Central or the like.)

If you use the Online Pictures icon in the Content placeholder to add an image, it behaves the same way as the Pictures icon in the Content placeholder: that is, the entire picture is inserted with no cropping.

If you’re creating custom layouts, there’s also a stand-alone placeholder for inserting online pictures. It’s called, appropriately enough, Online Image.


When you insert a picture using the Online Image placeholder, the full image is inserted, just as it would be in the Content placeholder. They behave identically.

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So, for all you PowerPoint template builders out there, here’s a summary of the behaviors for the various picture icon options in the various placeholders:

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Now, for you users (as opposed to you template builders): If you don’t want PowerPoint messing with your images or your placeholders, your best bet is to use the Pictures or Online Pictures buttons on the Insert tab of the Ribbon and insert the pictures onto a Title Only layout – or at least onto a slide without an empty content or picture placeholder. Ellen Finkelstein explains this better here.

Finally, here’s a shout-out to Julie Terberg for letting me use her polar bear picture once again! Please note also that I used the Online Pictures icons and searched Bing for dog to find that picture of the shih tzu. It’s kind of hard to tell, but this is supposed to be a creative commons image so I should be able to use it. I sure hope it is, because I would rather not get sued! Just in case, here’s the attribution: