Create professional-quality graphics for your documents

By Stephanie Krieger

Your document lives in Microsoft Office Word 2003, and that's exactly where it belongs. Word is all about creating great documents. However, when you want to add graphics to your document, keep the other Microsoft Office System programs in mind as well. When you use the best program for the task, you'll often get better results with less work. Use Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 and Microsoft Office Excel 2003 to help create graphics for your Word documents, and you might be surprised at just how easy it can be to get the perfect graphic every time.

In this article, you'll learn how to use other Office programs and features — including PowerPoint, Excel, and Microsoft Office Clip Art — to add effective graphics to your documents.

What you can do with clip art might amaze you!

In addition to the wide range of clip art available from the Clip Art task pane or on the Clip Art and Media on Microsoft Office Online site, it's nice to know that you can customize most clip art drawings. In PowerPoint, you can ungroup clip art drawings to extract or recolor specific elements.

For example, you can use PowerPoint if you want to use just the bottle in the following image, and you have a different color scheme in mind.

Clip art

In just a few quick steps, the preceding image becomes the following.

Detail of clip art

ShowTo modify clip art in PowerPoint

  1. Choose and insert a clip art drawing from the Clip Art task pane. THe inserted drawing is automatically selected.

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

  1. On the Drawing toolbar, click Draw, and then click Ungroup.

 Note   Photographs cannot be modified in this way. If the Ungroup command is unavailable, your clip art object cannot be modified.

  1. When prompted to convert the imported picture to a Microsoft Office drawing object, click Yes.
  2. The image is converted to a drawing object. Ungroup it again.
  3. The ungrouped object might be in many pieces. To select and modify the pieces of your object, zoom in on the object while it's selected. To zoom, click a percentage in the Zoom list on the Standard toolbar.
  4. To cancel the selection of all pieces so that you can select individual pieces to delete, click outside the object.
  5. Delete or modify pieces of the object as needed.
  6. To ensure that the finished object remains intact, group it before copying it to Word.

Adding the ideal PowerPoint diagram to your document

Although you can create AutoShapes and diagrams in Word, PowerPoint is made for creating presentation graphics. When you use PowerPoint to create diagrams for Word documents, you have many tools available for getting the perfect graphic with the least amount of work. For example:

  • Instead of creating ten objects for your diagram and then trying to make them look identical, create and format one shape and then duplicate it so to create the others. To duplicate an object, select the first object and then, on the Edit menu, click Duplicate.
  • Instead of fussing to try to align objects on the page, use the Align or Distribute tools on the Draw menu (available from the Drawing toolbar) to get flawless alignment with one click.
  • When the Align or Distribute tools can't provide the alignment you need, turn on PowerPoint drawing guides. On the View menu, click Grid and Guides. Select the Display drawing guides on screen check box, and then click OK.

For more help about creating presentation graphics in PowerPoint, see the See Also section.

Adding exceptional Excel charts to your document

Although you can create charts in Word, Excel is all about managing your data. So it provides the most powerful and flexible charting feature of all Microsoft Office System programs. When you use Excel to create charts for your Word documents, you're likely to get the best possible results for the least amount of work. And formatting your Excel charts to match your Word documents might be simpler than you expect. For example:

  • Instead of applying custom colors individually to each piece of text or each object, you can use Excel to add custom colors so that they are available to every element in your workbook. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Color tab. Click a color in the color palette that you'd like to customize, and then click Modify to specify your custom color.
  • When you change the font for the chart area, the font automatically changes for all elements of the chart. To match the font of all text on your chart to that of your Word document, select the chart area before modifying font attributes. To select the chart area, on the Chart toolbar, click Chart Area in the Chart Objects list.

For more help about formatting Excel charts, see the See Also section.

Ensuring that your graphics remain great

When you have the perfect graphic, be sure to place it in Word so that it stays perfect. To keep your graphics easy to manage, consider these two best practices:

  • Place graphics in Word as pictures.     Even if your graphic originates in PowerPoint, Excel, or another program, keep the editable graphic available in the original program and paste it into Word as a picture. This ensures that no sensitive data is editable by recipients of the document, and pictures often provide smaller file sizes than editable objects.
  • Format graphics by using the In Line With Text layout option.     Although text wrapping options might seem to provide more flexibility, you can use the In Line With Text option to place and format a graphic as easily as you do text. To access this option, on the Format menu, click Picture (or Object), and then click the Layout tab.

 Note   To easily place content beside a graphic that is formatted with the In Line With Text layout option, place the graphic in a table cell.

As you've seen, including effective, professional-quality graphics in your Word documents can be much easier than you might expect. Keep in mind that choosing the right graphic for your particular document is the most important place to start.

For help about determining the type of graphic you need, see the article "Choose the right media for your message" in the See Also section.

Then after you decide what kind of graphic to use, take advantage of the tools in the Microsoft Office System programs that you use every day to create a well-crafted, effective graphic every time.

About the author    Stephanie Krieger is a Microsoft MVP and a document production expert with more than 10 years of consulting experience, as well as the author of the book Microsoft Office Document Designer. Stephanie writes for several pages on the Microsoft Web site, including Microsoft At Work and Office Online, and she regularly delivers Microsoft Office tips and tricks webcasts.

Applies to:
Word 2003