Change the brightness, contrast, or blurriness of a picture

You can adjust the relative lightness of a picture (brightness), the difference between the darkest and lightest areas of a picture (contrast), and the blurriness of the picture. These are also referred to as color corrections.

You can bring out detail in over or under-exposed pictures by brightening the picture or change the definition of the borders between light and dark by increasing or decreasing contrast.

To enhance photo details, you can sharpen the picture, or to remove unwanted marks on the picture you can soften it.

Picture of plant

Original picture

Picture of plant with brightness and contrast added

Same picture with brightness increased and contrast added
What do you want to do?


Change the brightness of a picture

  1. Click the picture that you want to change the brightness for.
  2. Under Picture Tools, on the Format tab, in the Adjust group, click Corrections.

Adjust group on Picture Tools Format tab

Adjust group on the Format tab under Picture Tools

If you do not see the Format or Picture Tools tabs, make sure that you have selected a picture. You may have to double-click the picture to select it and open the Format tab.

  1. Under Brightness and Contrast, click the thumbnail that you want.

 Tip   You can move your mouse pointer over any of the thumbnails, and use Live Preview to see what your picture will look like before you click the one that you want.

  1. To fine tune the amount of brightness, click Picture Corrections Options, and then under Brightness and Contrast, move the Brightness slider, or enter a number in the box next to the slider.

 Tip   If you are using PowerPoint, you can still save the original version of the picture, even though you have changed the brightness of your picture. This feature is not available in Word or Excel.

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Change the contrast of a picture

  1. Click the picture that you want to change the contrast for.
  2. Under Picture Tools, on the Format tab, in the Adjust group, click Corrections.

Adjust group on Picture Tools Format tab

Adjust group on the Format tab under Picture Tools

If you do not see the Format or Picture Tools tabs, make sure that you have selected a picture. You may have to double-click the picture to select it and open the Format tab.

  1. Under Brightness and Contrast, click the thumbnail that you want.

 Tip   You can move your mouse pointer over any of the thumbnails, and use Live Preview to see what your picture will look like before you click the one that you want.

  1. To fine tune the amount of contrast, click Picture Corrections Options, and then under Brightness and Contrast, move the Contrast slider, or enter a number in the box next to the slider.

 Tip   If you are using PowerPoint, you can still save the original version of the picture, even though you have changed the contrast of your picture. This feature is not available in Word or Excel.

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Adjust the blurriness of a picture

  1. Click the picture that you want to change the blurriness for.
  2. Under Picture Tools, on the Format tab, in the Adjust group, click Corrections.

Adjust group on Picture Tools Format tab

Adjust group on the Format tab under Picture Tools

If you do not see the Format or Picture Tools tabs, make sure that you have selected a picture. You may have to double-click the picture to select it and open the Format tab.

  1. Under Sharpen and Soften, click the thumbnail that you want.

 Tip   You can move your mouse pointer over any of the thumbnails, and use Live Preview to see what your picture will look like before you click the one that you want.

  1. To fine tune the amount of fuzziness, click Picture Corrections Options, and then under Sharpen and Soften, move the Sharpen and Soften slider, or enter a number in the box next to the slider.

 Tip   You can also add an artistic effect, other effects such as shadows, reflections, and glows, or adjust the color of your picture.

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Applies to:
Excel 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Word 2010