How to Put a Background Behind a Picture on Picasa

By Irene A. Blake

Although Picasa has many amazing picture-editing features, it can seem at first glance like the software doesn’t provide the basic option of putting a background behind a picture. The feature isn’t available among the basic picture-editing tools that appear when you select an image. Instead, it’s an element of collage creation and editing. Whether you’re working with a picture for a brochure, presentation or signage, you must open an image in the collage area to add a solid color or image background.

Open Picasa on your computer. Select an archive area, such as Albums, People or Folders, and locate the picture you want to edit on the Library view screen.

Double-click the picture to open the picture-editing screen. Click the Photo Tray “Collage" button to open the Collage screen in a separate tab.

Insert a color behind your picture. Select “Solid Color” on the sidebar, click the white box to reveal a color palette, and then select a color. If you want to insert an image behind your picture instead, skip this step.

Add an image background. Select the “Clips” tab, click the “Get More…” button to return to the Library, select an image, and then click the “Collage” tab. Click the “+” button to move the image to the Collage screen as a clip. Select the “Settings” tab, select the clip, click “Use Image" to insert a copy of the clip behind your picture, and then press “Delete” on your keyboard to delete the clip.

Pick a method to save your new image. To save the image to the Collage album in the Projects section, click the “Create Collage” button. To set it as the desktop background image and save it to the Collage album, click the “Desktop Background” button instead.


If the “Collage” button isn’t available on the Photo Tray, right-click the Photo Tray and select the “Configure Buttons…” option to open the Configure Buttons window. Select "Collage" on the Available Buttons list, click “Add>>” to move it to the Current Buttons list and then click “OK." If the picture isn’t straight when you initially open the Collage screen, select it to display the picture align rotation and zooming tool that looks like a gray circle with a handle. Click and drag the handle up or down as needed. To zoom in or out, click and drag to the left or right. You can also access the Collage screen after you select a clip by clicking the “Back to Collage” button on the Photo Tray.


Information in this article applies to Picasa 3.9 as of June 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.