Edit clip art in Word

Applies to
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Microsoft Word 2002 and earlier

Clip art makes a great addition to a Microsoft Office Word document by adding character and color. While graphics are often added for personal or entertainment purposes, there are ways you can make them look professional and appealing in any type of document, whether it's an article, newsletter, or business card.

Getting started

Before you add clip art to your documents, here are a few helpful hints to make the layout and design process easier.

Know what art you want to add

The Clip Art task pane in Word makes searching for clips simple because it lets you search the Clip Art and Media site on Office Online from right within Word. When you see a clip you like on the site, simply click the clip and drag it into your document.

To see the Clip Art task pane, on the Insert menu, point to Picture and then click Clip art.

Display clip-related toolbars

The Picture and Drawing toolbars make adjusting images simple by providing all of the tools you need in one location.

To locate these toolbars and display them on your screen, on the View menu, select Picture. This will display the toolbar on screen. Repeat to display the Drawing toolbar.

Customizing your clip art

Now that you have selected your clips, dragged them into a Word document, and displayed the right toolbars, it's time to start working with clip art in your document.


When you crop an image, you are removing any areas of it that you don't want to be shown. In this example, the bottom half of the image at left was cropped to remove the second cluster of clouds. The result is shown in the image at right.

Picture of clouds, being cropped Cropped image of clouds

Cropping is helpful when you're trying to call attention to a certain area of an image, while omitting any unnecessary detail.

To crop a clip

  1. Select the clip in your document.
  2. On the Picture toolbar, click the Crop button.
  3. Place the mouse pointer over one of the black squares around the edge of the clip. Then click and drag until you have cropped the clip to the desired area.


While you might find the perfect clip for your document, it might not always be the right size. Since cropping isn't always appropriate, resizing the clip allows you to either enlarge or reduce its size to fit within a certain area. For example, the first clip below was enlarged into the second clip; the third clip has been resized disproportionately.

Palm tree image, original size Palm tree image, resized Palm tree image, distorted by incorrect resizing

To resize a clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. Move your mouse pointer over one of the open circles around the edge of the image.
  3. Click and drag the image to your desired size.

 Note   To resize an image proportionally, select one of the open circles located at a corner. Resizing by clicking one of the side points causes the image to grow or shrink disproportionately.

Adding text wrapping

One way to add a professional look is to add text that wraps around an image. The text wrapping feature lets you place a clip amid blocks of text.

To wrap text around a clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Picture toolbar, click the Text Wrapping button.
  3. From the drop-down list, select the type of text wrapping that you want to add. You can place a clip over, under, in the middle of, or in line with areas of text.

You can place the graphic in your document either before or after you add the text; however, it may be easier to position the graphic with a text wrap after all of the text is in the document.


You can change the appearance of a clip by adjusting the contrast and brightness of the image. Select the clip and locate the four brightness and contrast buttons on the Picture toolbar. Adjust the levels and compare the differences. Make a clip darker by decreasing the brightness, or make it blurry by reducing the contrast.

For a more dramatic change, you can wash out the clip by clicking Color on the Picture toolbar. Select the Washout option, and watch your clip change from bold and exciting to subtle and understated.

Rotating and flipping

Flipping or rotating a clip can enhance a page design by adding balance and symmetry.

Shark images, flipped

To rotate a clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Picture toolbar, click Rotate Left.
  3. Click once to rotate the clip 90 degrees to the left. Continue to click until the clip is in the position you want.

 Note   This task can also be done through the Drawing toolbar.

To flip a clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Drawing toolbar, click the Draw button, point to Rotate or Flip, and then click the option you want.

Adding a drop shadow

Adding a drop shadow to a clip can give dimension and depth to your document, while also lending a professional look.

To add a drop shadow

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Drawing toolbar, click the Shadow Style button and select the style that you want.

 Note   To remove a drop shadow, click Shadow Style and then select No Shadow.

Applies to:
Word 2003