Add and format images in professional Word 2007 documents

Word 2007 Inside Out book cover

Microsoft Office Word 2007 Inside Out
By Katherine Murray, Mary Millhollon, and Beth Melton

Katherine Murray has authored and coauthored more than 40 computer books with several Microsoft Office titles to her credit, including Faster Smarter Microsoft Office System—2003 Edition, First Look Microsoft Office 2003, Faster Smarter Microsoft Office XP, and Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out. She is also a columnist on the Microsoft Office Community site on www.microsoft.com. Katherine specializes in teaching people and businesses how to communicate effectively by using print and electronic media.

Mary Millhollon is an expert Web designer, developer, and content specialist with years of experience in the publishing industry, including books, magazines, newspapers, and courseware. She is also a writer, editor, and instructor who has authored and coauthored several popular books about Microsoft Office and the Web, including Microsoft Word Version 2002 Inside Out and Faster Smarter Web Page Creation. She is the owner of Bughouse Productions.

Beth Melton has been a computer instructor and developer since January 1995. Along with developing custom Microsoft Office solutions for a wide range of clients and instructing computer classes for local area colleges, she writes regularly on the Microsoft Office applications for Web sites including Microsoft Office Online, TechTrax Online Magazine, The Word MVP Site, and the Microsoft Knowledge Base. Beth has been a Microsoft Office MVP since 2000 and is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master Instructor.

To learn more about other books on the 2007 Microsoft Office system, visit Microsoft Press.


In this article


You've probably heard that pictures liven up your documents. That's true. You may also have heard that images help reinforce your message and give peoples' eyes a welcome rest. That's also true. But the real reason you'll want to enhance your Microsoft Office Word 2007 document by adding pictures, clip art, drawings, and more is that it's great fun and it adds life to your pages. This article provides a brief introduction to working with images in your Word 2007 documents.

Inserting pictures

Perhaps the easiest way to add images to your document is to click the Picture tool in the Illustrations group of the Insert tab. The Insert Picture dialog box appears, enabling you to navigate to the folder storing the image you want to add. Select the picture and then click Insert to add it to your document.

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Enhancing pictures

After you add your images, you may want to use the editing and enhancement tools in Word to put a professional polish on them. Whether you want to do simple tasks like correct lighting problems or crop out unnecessary elements—or stylize the images by adding shadows, frames, and more—this is where the fun of working with images in Word really begins. We'll start with the Picture Styles because they give you the most dramatic enhancements for the smallest amount of effort.

Applying Picture Styles to your images

Picture Styles work similarly to the other quick styles you'll find in strategic places throughout Word. When you select a picture in your document, the contextual Picture Tools become available on the Ribbon. The Picture Styles have their own group in the middle of the Format tab.

Picture Styles group

The Picture Style gallery shows the various styles you can apply to the selected image. You can display the entire selection of styles by clicking the More button in the lower right corner of the gallery (see Figure 1). Preview the various styles by positioning the mouse pointer over an item in the gallery; when you find one you want to use, click the mouse to select the picture style.

Picture Styles gallery

Figure 1 The Picture Styles gallery provides you with many different ways to display an image.

Adding a picture shape

If you want to create a unique effect, you can apply a shape to the picture so that the image appears within the body of the shape. You might do this, for example, when you want a picture to pop off the page and catch the reader's attention (see Figure 2). To add the shape to the selected image, click Picture Shape and choose the shape you want to apply from the palette that appears.

Picture shapes menu

Figure 2 You can apply a shape to a picture to create a cut-out effect for the image.

Displaying a picture border

When you click Picture Border in the Picture Styles group, a color palette appears, enabling you to choose the color of the border you want to apply, as well as the weight and style of the line used to create the border. The top portion of the palette lists the colors that match the Theme that is currently applied to your document; the Standard Colors area of the palette provides primary colors. If you want to choose a color that does not appear in the palette, click More Outline Colors and then select the color from either the Standard or Custom tab. To apply it to the selected picture, click OK after you choose the color.

Picture Border color palette

Adding a picture effect

Picture effects give you a huge range of special formats you can apply to the selected picture. You can choose from among a variety of shadow styles, apply a glow to the outer edges, display a reflection of the image, soften the edges, create a beveled effect, and apply 3-D effects and rotation.

To apply a picture effect, select the picture and then click Picture Effects in the Picture Styles group. A palette of choices appears. Point to the effects category you want to apply (Preset, Shadow, Reflection, Glow, Soft Edges, Bevel, and 3-D Rotation). A palette of effects opens to display your choice. Use Live Preview to see how the different effects will appear in your document (see Figure 3).

Picture Effects to enhance pictures

Figure 3 Use Picture Effects to enhance your pictures by adding shadows, bevel effects, 3-D effects, and more.

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Editing and adjusting images

Word includes a number of image adjustment tools you can use to bring out the best in your images. You'll find the whole set located in the Adjustment group of the contextual Picture Tools. To display the tools, click on the picture you want to change. The Picture Tools appear on the Ribbon. The Format tab is automatically selected.

The Adjustment group is located on the far left. Depending on the type of change you want to make to your picture, click one of the following tools:

  • Brightness     Changes the amount of light included in an image. When you click Brightness, a palette of brightness options appears, with values ranging from +40% to -40%. You can use the Live Preview feature to point to a setting and see how it will affect the selected image. When you find a brightness level you like, click it to apply it to the image.
  • Contrast     Controls the way in which items in your picture are defined. When you click Contrast, a palette of contrast options appears. Experiment with the different settings until you find the one that looks right in your picture.
  • Recolor     Enables you to apply a color wash to your picture that may give it an old-fashioned feel (like a sepia-toned image) or enable it to blend naturally with the color scheme in the Theme applied to your document. When you click Recolor, a palette appears offering you a number of different color possibilities (see Figure 4). Again, point to the ones you're considering, and Live Preview will show you the results. Click the one you decide on, and it is applied to the image in the document.

Recolor options in the Adjust group

Figure 4 Use Recolor Picture in the Adjust group to add a color wash to the image in your document.
  • Compress Pictures     Reduces the file size of the image (not the actual size of the image in the document) so that when you save the file, it will be as compact as possible. When Word displays the Compress Pictures dialog box, click OK to compress all images in the document. If you want to compress only the selected images, click the Apply To Selected Pictures Only check box before you click OK.

 Tip   Click Options in the Compress Pictures dialog box to display additional choices for compression. In the Compression Settings dialog box, you can choose to compress images on save, delete image areas that have been cropped, or specify the type of compression you want depending on the desired output for your document (screen, print, or e-mail).

  • Change Picture     Displays the Insert Picture dialog box so that you can replace the selected photo with a new one.
  • Reset Picture     Reverses any modifications you've made to the original photo and returns it to its original size, shape, and coloring.

Cropping pictures

Cropping images is a simple process, but it can dramatically improve the look of your photo by enabling you to remove unnecessary elements from the image. For example, suppose that a diver's swim fin appears in the corner of an underwater photo you want to use for the Coral Reef Divers annual report. You can easily crop the photo to remove the unwanted fin and help your readers focus on the important part of the photo.

To crop your photo, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the photo in your document and make sure it is selected. The Picture Tools appears.
  2. Click Crop in the Size group. The pointer changes to a cropping tool.
  3. Position the tool on the edge or corner of the image where you want to begin cropping. Drag the side or corner of the image inward until the portion of the picture you want to remove has been cropped out (see Figure 5).

Cropping pictures

Figure 5 Crop a photo to make sure only the best part of the image is displayed.

 Tip   When you crop a photo, the rest of the image isn't gone; its display is merely suppressed. This means that if you decide to move the photo to another part of the document and redisplay the hidden part of the image, you can do that. Just select the Crop tool again and this time drag the corner or side outward to reveal the rest of the hidden image. Note, however, that if you have selected the Delete Cropped Areas Of Pictures check box in the Compression Settings dialog box, the cropped portions of the image will be deleted when you save the document.

Resizing pictures

An operation that goes hand-in-hand with cropping is resizing the images you import. This is one technique you'll use all the time—pictures rarely come into your documents at just the right size.

Resizing a picture in Word is similar to resizing any object. To begin, click the image. Handles appear around the edges of the object. If you want to enlarge the image, click in one corner of the picture and drag the handle outward. When the image is the size you want, release the mouse button.

If resizing your picture to a precise measurement is important, use the Size command available in the picture's options. Here's how:

  1. Right-click the image in your document.
  2. Choose Size from the options that appear.
  3. In the Size dialog box, enter the Height and Width settings (see Figure 6). Additionally, you can enter other positioning values, such as Rotation and Cropping.

Size dialog box

Figure 6 Use the Size dialog box when entering a specific size for an image is important.
  1. Click OK to save your settings, and Word resizes the image according to your specifications.

Rotating pictures

Some of your documents are likely to be fairly straightforward and won't require a lot of special picture techniques. But once in a while you will have a reason to do something fun like rotating pictures. The rotating control in Word enables you to simply drag a picture in the direction you want to rotate it—very simple and easy to use. Instead of moving the image in predesigned increments, the Rotate tool lets you be in control of how far you want the picture to rotate.

Start by clicking the picture in your document. You'll notice that a round green handle appears in the top center of your image. This is the rotate handle. Position the mouse on that handle. The pointer changes to a curved arrow, indicating that you can drag the handle in the direction you want to rotate the image.

Rotating an image

 Tip   When you apply shadows or frames or other special picture effects to the image, Word automatically takes the angle into account, with no calculating required. Nice.

Adding captions to pictures

Readers like to know what your images contain, so unless you're certain that readers will understand what your images are showing, you may want to consider adding figure captions. The process is simple, and you can control the look and placement of the text by following these steps:

  1. Right-click the picture you want to add the caption to.
  2. Click Insert Caption. The Caption dialog box appears, as Figure 7 shows.

Caption dialog box

Figure 7 You can easily add captions to the images in your document by right-clicking a picture and choosing Insert Caption.
  1. In the top text box, type the caption you want to appear with the figure. You may want to customize the look of the caption by changing one of the following items:
    • If you want to hide the label (for example, Figure), click the Exclude Label From Caption check box.
    • If you want to change the way in which the captions are numbered, click the Numbering button and select your choice.
  2. Click OK to save the caption settings and return to the document.

The caption is displayed in a color, font, size, and style that is controlled by the Theme selected for your document. If you change the Theme later (by clicking the Page Layout tab, selecting Themes, and choosing a new Theme from the gallery), the captions will be reformatted automatically.

If you prefer to change the format of the captions, you can do so by clicking the Home tab and choosing new settings from your choices in the Font group. Remember, however, that once you change the captions from a Theme-supported style, you'll have to reformat them automatically if you ever apply a new Theme.

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Applies to:
Word 2007