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Working with Images in Word - Using the Picture Toolbar

written by: Tara M. Walsh•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 5/1/2009

Many basic desktop publishing projects, like flyers, newsletters, and simple brochures can be created in MS Word. But when it comes to working with images in Word, your patience can be tested. This series offers the basics on working with images in Word, starting with a look at the Picture Toolbar.

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    Microsoft Word may drive you crazy with its many quirks, but when a desktop publishing project drops on your desk (maybe you’ve been asked to create a school flyer or the company newsletter) you may turn first to that Word program you’ve got right at your fingertips.

    Everything starts off easily enough—you add some text and then it’s time to insert some images into the project, and perhaps edit them, or move them around the existing text. That is when Word’s quirks can rear up again. And that’s where this series steps in to assist. In this series, we’ll provide the basics: how to insert images, how to edit images, and how to move images around your document. In Part 1 today, we’ll walk through the tools you’ll need to use via the Picture toolbar.

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    The Picture Toolbar

    To make things easier, I’ll describe each tool on the Picture Toolbar in order, from left to right.

    1. To insert an image into a document, you first have to select it. Click on the Insert Picture button on the Picture toolbar. This opens up a dialog box that displays all of the files on your hard drive. Select the image you want and click Insert.

    2. To convert your images to grayscale, black and white, or washout, click on the Color button on the toolbar. (Automatic reverts your image back to original form.)

    3. To increase or decrease image contrast, click on the More Contrast and Less Contrast buttons. You can continue to click on these buttons until you have reached the desired effect.

    4. To increase or decrease image brightness, click on the More Brightness and Less Brightness buttons. As with the Contrast tool, you can click on the buttons until you have reached the desired effect.

    5. To remove parts of the image you don’t want, use the Crop button. The Crop button uses a click and drag functionality, so if you’ve never cropped the top, sides or bottom of an image before, be sure to take a few practice runs (and save your original image so you can always start over. Once you’ve clicked and dragged over the portion of the image you want cropped, release your mouse button and voila, your image is cropped!

    Some additional tips:

    • Click and drag the side selection box to crop a particular side.
    • Cick and drag the corner selection box to crop a top and a side.

    6. To rotate an image that is sideways or upside down, click on the Rotate Left 90 degrees button.

    7. To create a rectangular line border around an image, click on the Line Style button.

    8. To change the resolution of an image or apply compression, click on the Compress Pictures button.

    9. To control the flow of text around an image or clipart, click on the Text Wrapping button.

    10. To open the Format Picture dialog box, click on the Format Picture button. There are many options in this dialog box that are also on the Picture Toolbar, but Layout will likely be one you'll use often. Experiment with how the Layout options can manipulate your image.

    11. To convert the image back to its original state, click on the Reset Picture button.

    And that's it. These are the tools of the Picture Toolbar. Play around with some images if you have time, and get a feel for how each tool works. In the next article in this series, we'll look at how to edit and manipulate images in Word for your DTP projects.