Import and modify pictures

Applies to
Microsoft Office Excel 2003
Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003
Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003
Microsoft Office Word 2003
Book cover This article was adapted from Microsoft Office System Inside Out by Michael J. Young and Michael Halvorson. Visit Microsoft Learning to buy this book.

This article explains how to import pictures from a graphics file or from another program, such as the Paint program that comes with Windows, and how to modify pictures. In Office, the term picture refers to a graphic object that’s derived from outside the Office program.

Import pictures

You can import a picture into a Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or FrontPage document either by inserting the contents of an entire graphics file or by copying a block of graphics from another program and pasting it into the document.

Import a picture from a graphics file

  1. Place the insertion point at the position in your document where you want to insert the picture.
  2. On the Insert menu, point to Picture, and then click From File. This will open the Insert Picture dialog box, which is similar to the Open Office Document (or Open) dialog box for opening documents.
  3. In the Insert Picture dialog box, locate and select the graphics file you want to import.

You can import graphics files in a wide variety of formats—for example, files with the extensions .bmp, .wmf, .gif, and .jpg. To see preview images of your graphics files, click the Views button and then click the Preview or Thumbnails view from the drop-down menu.

Insert Picture dialog box

The Insert Picture dialog box in the Thumbnails view.

  1. Click the Insert button.

To maximize the number of graphics formats that you can import into an Office document, make sure that all the Office graphics filters are installed. To do this, rerun Office Setup and select the Run From My Computer option for the Graphics Filters feature, which will install all the individual graphics filters. You’ll find this feature in the Converters And Filters section, under Office Shared Features. Because the filters don’t take up a lot of disk space, it’s a good idea to install all of them, rather than just the one you currently need.

Advanced Customization screen

ShowStep by step Office setup instructions

If you originally installed Microsoft Office from a network file server or from a shared folder, you must install the Graphic Filters from that location. If you installed Office from a CD-ROM, you must install the Graphic Filters from the disc.

  1. Quit all programs.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • If you run Microsoft Windows 2000, double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon in Control Panel.
    • If you run Microsoft Windows XP, click Add or Remove Programs in Control Panel.
  3. In the Currently installed programs box, click the listing for Microsoft Office or the individual Office program, depending on whether you installed the program as part of Office or individually, and then click Change.
  4. On the Maintenance Mode Options screen, click Add or Remove Features, and then click Next.
  5. If a Custom Setup screen appears, select the Choose advanced customization of applications check box, and then click Next.
  6. On the Advanced Customization screen, in the list of features to install, click the expand indicator (+) next to Office Shared Features.
  7. Click the expand indicator next to Converters and Filters.
  8. Click the arrow next to Graphic Filters, and then click Run from My Computer.
  9. Click Update.
  10. Restart the Office program you were using.

Insert a picture into an Office document by copying graphics from another program

  1. Select the graphics in the other program, and from that program’s Edit menu, click Copy.
  2. Place the insertion point at the approximate position in the Office document where you want to insert the picture.
  3. On the Office program’s Edit menu, click Paste.

Modify Pictures

This section explains how to modify pictures using the commands and options provided by the Picture toolbar and the Picture tab of the Format Picture dialog box that apply specifically to pictures.

The fastest way to modify a picture is to use the Picture toolbar, shown below. Unless you previously hid the Picture toolbar, it appears whenever you click a picture to select it. (If the Picture toolbar doesn’t appear when you select a picture, on the View menu, point to Toolbars, and then click Picture.) To see the name of a toolbar button in a ScreenTip (ScreenTip: A short description that appears when the user holds the mouse pointer over an object, such as a button or hyperlink.), rest your mouse pointer on the button.

Picture toolbar

To modify the selected picture like this Do this with the Picture toolbar
Add a new picture from a graphics file. Click the Insert Picture button. (Clicking this button is equivalent to clicking the Picture command on the Insert menu, and then clicking From File.)
Set the picture colors to Grayscale (shades of gray), Black & White, Washout (faded tones), or Automatic (the original color values). Click the Color button and choose an option from the drop-down menu.
Make light colors lighter and dark colors darker. Click the More Contrast button, repeatedly if necessary, to achieve the result you want.
Make light colors darker and dark colors lighter. Click the Less Contrast button, repeatedly if necessary, to achieve the result you want.
Make all colors lighter. Click the More Brightness button, repeatedly if necessary, to achieve the result you want.
Make all colors darker. Click the Less Brightness button, repeatedly if necessary, to achieve the result you want.
Crop the picture. For more information on cropping, see Crop a picture below. Click the Crop button and then drag one of the sizing handles displayed around the picture.
Rotate the picture image 90 degrees counterclockwise. Click the Rotate Left 90° button.
Draw a border around the selected picture. Click the Line Style button and choose a style from the drop-down menu.

Modify either the selected picture or all pictures in the document in one or more of the following ways:

  • Optimize the picture resolution for either the Web or for printing.
  • Compress the graphic data for the pictures.
  • Delete cropped areas of pictures (if you do this, you won’t be able to restore cropped areas).
Click the Compress Pictures button and select the desired options in the Compress Pictures dialog box.
Change a picture’s text wrapping style (available in Word only). Click the Text Wrapping button (displayed in Word only) and choose a wrapping style from the drop-down menu.
Open the Format Picture dialog box. Click the Format Picture button (or on the Format menu, click Picture).
Make a particular color in a picture transparent. Click the Set Transparent Color button and then click an area in the picture with the color you want to make transparent. (This command isn’t available for pictures in certain formats, such as a picture in .wmf format inserted from the Clip Organizer.)
Restore the size, cropping, and colors of the picture to their original values, and remove the border if you applied one. Click the Reset Picture button.


  • If a picture or other graphic object in a Word document has the In Line With Text wrapping style, Word won’t let you use the Line Style button on the Picture toolbar to apply a border. A workaround is to assign a different wrapping style, apply the border, and then switch back to the In Line With Text style.
  • FrontPage displays an extended version of the Picture toolbar known as the Pictures toolbar. To display it, on the View menu in FrontPage, point to Toolbars, and then click Pictures.
  • The Picture tab of the Format Picture dialog box provides an alternative way to crop a picture, to change the color (to Grayscale, Black & White, Washout, or Automatic), to adjust the contrast or brightness, to compress a picture, or to reset a picture. Although less convenient than the Picture toolbar, it lets you crop by entering precise measurements. You can also adjust the brightness and contrast by entering exact percentages. To do any of these, follow the steps below:
    1. Click the picture to select it.
    2. On the Format menu, click Picture, or click the Format Picture Format Picture toolbar button toolbar button on the Picture toolbar.
    3. Set options in the Picture tab of the Format Picture dialog box.

Format Picture dialog box

  • You can also display the Compress Pictures dialog box when you save a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document. In the Save As dialog box (File menu), on the Tools drop-down menu in the dialog box, click Compress Pictures.

Crop a picture

Changing the size of a picture by dragging a sizing handle or by using the Size tab of the Format Picture dialog box scales the picture—that is, it compresses or expands the graphics contained in the picture.

Alternatively, with a picture you can use the Picture toolbar’s Crop button or the Picture tab in the Format Picture dialog box to crop a picture. Cropping a picture changes the size or proportions of the picture itself without changing the size or proportions of the graphics it contains. Cropping results in either cutting off some of the graphics or adding white space around them.

Scaled and cropped images Notice that scaling a picture is not the same as cropping it. The first image is the original size. The next two images are scaled smaller and larger respectively. The last two images are cropped smaller and larger respectively.

  • To crop using the Picture toolbar’s Crop button, select the picture, click the Crop button, and then drag any sizing handle on the picture.
  • To crop using the Picture tab of the Format Picture dialog box, click the Format Picture button on the Picture toolbar. Enter the amount that you want to crop each side of the picture—as a positive or negative number—into the Left, Right, Top, or Bottom box.
Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003