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Office 2010: New Image Editing Features Bring Docs to Life

Debbi Landshoff

Attract your readers and make your content easier to understand, all without leaving the tool you're already using. With Office 2010's enhanced graphics tools, you can customize pictures directly in your Office document; you don't need to edit them in a separate application or third-party tool. These tools make it easier to add great pictures and images to everything from donor appeal postcards to your organization’s annual reports.

For example, if your organization has a volunteer who assembles a monthly newsletter, that person would be able to make more advanced edits to images within that newsletter, without needing to have a separate image-editing application installed. These enhanced features can save budget-conscious nonprofits and libraries both money and time.

Office 2010 has enhanced many of the graphics tools from prior versions of the suite and this article highlights a few. The instructions outlined here are specific to Word 2010, but the techniques tend to be similar for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote in the 2010 Office suite.


Our Examples

The examples shown below start with dummy text generated using Lorem Ipsum and a picture of Earth retrieved from NASA's JSC Digital Image Collection. Each example builds on the one before to produce the final image.

A couple of hints as you try these techniques:

  • Picture formatting tools can produce results different from what you expect. Try variations on your actions and you'll come to understand how to get the results you want.
  • You can always undo an action by pressing Ctrl-Z on a PC.
  • You can use the Save As Picture command in the right mouse context menu to save your images as files as you go along. This will save some (but not all) of the format changes, making it easier to go back and try again.


Start With Text and a Picture

A picture doesn't need to be perfectly edited before you bring it into your document, since you'll be able to fix the way it looks within Word.

If your organization doesn't have the exact picture you need, you might try the many Internet sites (including that offer free public domain and royalty-free images. See Additional Resources at the end of this article for more image-sourcing links.

Use a Picture on Your Hard Drive or Network

  • Place your cursor close to where you want the picture to end up. Usually it is best to be at the beginning of the block of text you want it to match: for example, at the very beginning of a paragraph.
  • In the Illustrations group in the Insert tab, choose Picture (see below).
  • Select the picture you want and click Insert.

Use a Picture on Your Computer Screen

  1. Make sure the screen area you want to capture is open, even if it is behind your document.
  2. Place your pointer in your Word document close to where you want the picture to end up.
  3. In the Illustrations group in the Insert tab, choose Screenshot. You'll see thumbnail versions of all your open windows and a Screen Clipping command below. Choose Screen Clipping.
  4. With your mouse, draw a box around the screen area you want.

Example of Text and a Newly Inserted Picture



Find the Picture Tools

The tools for positioning and modifying pictures are on the Format tab. The Format tab is a contextual tab: it shows up in the ribbon only when a picture (or other illustration) is selected.

When a picture is selected, you can see a set of sizing handles along its edge and a rotation handle at the top (see below).


Tip: Double-click the picture to select it and activate the tab at the same time.

Change the Picture Size

Trim (Crop) Unneeded Parts of the Picture

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Size group in the Picture Tools tab, click Crop. A set of cropping handles appear along the edge of the image (see below).
  3. With your mouse, drag these handles until they are around the area you want to keep.
    Repeat this procedure whenever you want as your document takes shape. To reverse a previous cropping action, just move the handles out.

Make the Entire Picture Larger or Smaller

  1. Choose the picture.
  2. With your mouse, drag one of the sizing handles in or out. Or, if you want to be sure not to distort the picture, click the office-2010-new-image-editing-features-05.jpg(dialog box launcher) icon in the Size group in the Picture Tools tab. The Layout dialog box opens with the Size tab selected. Change the Height percent, being sure to keep the Lock Aspect ratio checkbox selected and click OK.

Undo the Picture Resize

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Size group in the Picture Tools tab, click office-2010-new-image-editing-features-05.jpg.
  3. In the Size tab of the Layout dialog box, click Reset, then OK.

Example of Resizing and Cropping



Change Where the Picture Appears In Relation to the Text

Unless your Word options have been changed, a picture is inserted inline with the text. It shows up exactly at the spot within the text where your pointer was, as if it were a character. The bottom of the picture lines up with the bottom of the text line and the picture will move along with that point as you add to and change your Word document.

Below are some actions you can take to change this relationship.

Change from Inline to Floating

A floating picture can be positioned precisely on the page and can be formatted so text floats around the picture.

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Arrange group in the Picture Tools tab (see below), choose any option other than In Line with Text.

Display the Anchor

Anchors are formatting marks that show which paragraph a picture belongs to. For most people, Word's display options keep the formatting marks hidden. You don't have to see the anchor to work with it, but it helps some of us.

  • To display the marks, click the Show/Hide ¶ button in the Paragraph group of the Home tab.
  • When you no longer want to see the marks, click the Show/Hide ¶ button again.

Drag the Picture Within the Page

When a picture is floating, you can move the picture by dragging it with the mouse.

Move the Picture to the Right of Your Text

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Arrange group in the Picture Tools tab, choose More layout options.
  3. In the Text Wrapping tab of the Layout dialog box, make sure that Square is selected.
  4. In the Position Tab of the Layout dialog box, set Horizontal Alignment as Right relative to Column (see below).
  5. Click OK.

Set Anchor Layout Options

The default layout options work in most situations, but if you move the text and the picture doesn't move the way you want it, try changing them.

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Arrange group in the Picture Tools tab, choose More layout options.
  3. Look at the two checkboxes in the Options section at the bottom Position tab of the Layout dialog box:
    • The Move object with text box is checked by default, so pictures normally move along with their anchors. If you don't want them to move, clear this check box.
    • The Lock anchor box is unchecked by default, so moving a picture moves its anchor. If you want the anchor to remain where it is, check this box.
  4. Click OK to save your settings.

Example of Square Wrapping and Placement on the Right



Make Image Adjustments

Here are two examples of how to use the adjustment tools.

Remove the Background

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Adjust group in the Picture Tools tab. choose Remove Background. The ribbon shows the contextual Background Removal tab and Word makes an initial determination as to what is background and what is foreground.
  3. Drag the boundaries with the mouse to select the general foreground area and use the Refine tools to fine-tune the edges. Select Keep Changes when you're done.

Example of Removing the Background


Add an Artistic Effect

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Adjust group in the Picture Tools tab, choose Artistic Effects. Try out the different effects and select one that works for you. The illustration below shows the Glow Diffused effect applied.

Example of Applying an Artistic Effect



Change the Picture Style

Use picture styles to frame the image, add shadows, or display it at different angles. Here are a couple of examples.

Add a Frame

  1. Select the picture.
  2. The Picture Styles group in the Picture Tools tab shows the available styles, either as a gallery within the ribbon or a list that drops down when you click Quick Styles (see below). Try out the different styles and select one that works for you. The illustration below shows the Metal Oval style, which works because of the round shape of the Earth.


Note: When I created this example, the relationship between picture and text changed. But Word has options for fixing problems like that. I used a couple of the Wrap Text tools: Edit Wrap Points and More Layout Options.

Example of Adding a Frame


Color the Frame

  1. Select the picture.
  2. In the Picture Styles group in the Picture Tools tab, choose Picture Border and choose a color.

Example of Coloring the Frame



Does Your Audience Have Office 2007 or 2010?

Some image formatting works only with the newer versions of Microsoft Office. If your audience might use earlier versions or different word processing applications, you can give them PDF (portable document format) files. Just choose PDF (*.pdf) from the Save as type list when you save your document.


Additional Resources