Tips for working with images

Pictures have power on the page — the power to grab your reader's attention and to convey or enhance your message. Pictures help the reader scan the page and find entry points into the text. They give the reader a quick summary of what the text is about and help the reader gauge his or her interest in diving into it. They also can help a reader quickly grasp complex ideas.

Pictures can relieve the tedium of gray type. But they can also distract the reader from your message if the pictures don't relate closely to the message. Make sure you are in control of your message with the pictures that you use in your publication.

What do you want to do?

Enhance your message with pictures

When you create or select images for a publication, make them:

  • Relevant    Use pictures to clarify key concepts and attract attention to them. Because readers skim pages by reading headlines and picture captions, you can ensure that readers glean your most important messages by reinforcing the messages with a picture and a brief description.
  • Consistent    Unify your publication with your choice or treatment of pictures. You can give your pictures a consistent look in several ways. For example, you can use a small palette of colors or a single accent color, a common graphic style, the same camera angle or point of view, or consistent lighting. You can also apply the same filter effects to each image, or you can use the same human models in a progressing story line.
  • Human    Most people like to look at other people. Portraits of people will draw readers' attention, especially if the images are relevant and tell a story. By using images to show someone who is using your product or service, you help readers to see how it works and to envision themselves as using it.
  • Motionless    Animation grabs the eye and doesn't let it go. Gratuitous animation risks stopping your potential customers in their tracks — they may become so distracted that they miss the point. If you use an animated picture in an online publication, give it a clear purpose (for example, show a sequence of your product in use).

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Use the right size picture for the medium

You can change the size and resolution of the graphics that you add, usually with good results. But sometimes a graphic can't be reduced or enlarged enough to fit your needs. That's why it is good to know what you need before you start and find the graphic that is the best match.

Graphics that are created by a paint program, a scanning program, or a digital camera are made up of a grid of differently colored squares called pixels. A picture contains the same amount of information, or number of pixels, whether you scale it larger or smaller in your publication.

The resolution of a picture is expressed in pixels per inch (ppi). You sometimes may see picture resolution expressed as dots per inch (dpi) instead of ppi. These terms are often used interchangeably.

If you want more details to appear as you enlarge your picture, you need to start with a picture that has more pixels, or a higher effective resolution. Enlarging a picture decreases the resolution (fewer ppi). Reducing the dimensions of a picture increases its resolution (more ppi).

If your picture resolution is too low, the picture will have a blocky appearance. If the picture resolution is too high, the file size of the publication becomes unnecessarily large, and it takes more time to open, edit, and print it. Pictures with a resolution higher than 1,000 ppi may not print at all.

Find the effective resolution

Every picture in your publication has an effective resolution that takes into account the original resolution of the graphic and the effect of scaling it in Microsoft Office Publisher. For example, a picture with an original resolution of 300 ppi that has been scaled 200 percent larger has an effective resolution of 150 ppi.

To find the effective resolution of a picture in your publication, do the following:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Graphics Manager. The Graphics Manager appears in the task pane on the left side of your screen.
  2. In the Graphics Manager task pane, under Select a picture, click the arrow next to the picture whose information you want to view, and then click Details.
  3. The Effective Resolution field displays the resolution in dots per inch (dpi).

If you plan to have color pictures printed by a commercial printer, the resolution of those pictures should be between 200 ppi and 300 ppi. You can have a higher resolution — up to 800 ppi — but you should not have a lower resolution. If you plan to use the pictures online only (on the Web or in Microsoft Office PowerPoint, for example), the pictures need to have a resolution of only 96 ppi, which is the screen resolution of computer monitors.

The file format can also affect file size. Before you change the resolution of your picture, make sure you use a file format that is appropriate for the content of the image. The following table lists common picture file formats, their uses, and their advantages.

File format Online Desktop printing Commercial printing Primary uses Characteristics
BMP x x Line art (icons, buttons, logos) Small file size, few colors, no transparency, little compression
EMF x x Line art Improvement on BMP, with smaller file size
EPS x x Line art, art with clipping paths, duotones, spot colors CMYK color data
GIF x Low-resolution, flat-color, sharp-edged line art (icons, buttons, logos), animations Small file size, few colors, transparency, some compression with no loss of detail
JPEG x x Photos Small file size, millions of colors, no transparency, flexible compression with loss of detail
PNG x x x Line art, animation Improvement on GIF, with smaller file size, millions of colors, transparency, and compression without loss of detail
TIFF x x Photos, line art Large file size, rich RGB and CMYK color data, transparency, compression without loss of detail
WMF x x Line art Improvement on BMP, with smaller file size

Reducing high-resolution graphics

If you have just a few graphics whose resolution is too high, you may have no problem printing them. If you have several high-resolution graphics, your publication will be printed more efficiently if you reduce their resolution by compressing them.

Before you compress a picture, determine its size on the page. When you compress a picture in Publisher, it loses detail, so later enlargement will likely result in lower quality than you intended. You can reduce the dimensions of a compressed picture further without a loss in quality. If you do so, compress it again to remove additional unneeded image data.

 Important   Before you reduce the resolution of a graphic that you intend to include in a publication that will be printed by a commercial printer, you should consult with your commercial printing service. They will be able to tell you exactly what resolution you need.

Reduce high-resolution graphics

In Publisher, you can reduce the resolution of one, several, or all pictures by compressing them.

  1. In Publisher, select one or more pictures whose resolution you want to reduce.
  2. Right-click one of the selected pictures, click Format Picture on the shortcut menu, and then click the Picture tab.
  3. Click Compress.
  4. In the Compress Pictures dialog box, under Target Output, do one of the following:
    • Click Commercial printing to compress the pictures to 300 pixels per inch (ppi).
    • Click Desktop Printing to compress the pictures to 220 ppi.
    • Click Web to compress the pictures to 96 ppi.
  5. Under Apply compression settings now, choose whether you want to compress all pictures in the publication or only the pictures that you selected, and then click OK.
  6. If a message appears asking whether you want to apply picture optimization, click Yes.

A compressed version of the same picture or pictures replaces the original high-resolution picture or pictures.

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Reduce the size of your publication by using linked pictures

Each time you insert a picture in your publication, the publication grows in size. By linking to the pictures instead, you can avoid a large file size caused by embedded graphics.

When you link to pictures, any subsequent changes that are made to the image files will be reflected in the pictures in your publication.

 Note   If you move your publication to a different computer, be sure also to move copies of the linked pictures. When you use the Pack and Go Wizard, this step is done for you.

Insert a picture as a link

  1. On the Insert menu, point to Picture, and then click From File.
  2. In the Insert Picture dialog box, browse to find the picture that you want, and then select it.
  3. Click the arrow next to Insert, and then click Link to File.

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Acquire pictures that you can use

With good ideas, a good eye, and good equipment, you can take your own pictures or hire someone to take them.

If you don't have the ability to create professional-quality photos or illustrations, look for pictures at a variety of online sources, including:

  • Microsoft Office Clip Art and Media Library (unrestricted usage)
  • Stock photo companies, such as Corbis and Getty (payment required)
  • Search engines, such as MSN, Yahoo, and Google (usage rights vary)
  • Libraries and other public institutions, such as the Library of Congress (usage rights vary)

Legal issues

The wide availability of images online makes it tempting to copy and reuse a picture from the Web without explicit permission or payment.

Avoid copyright infringement action by making sure that you have the right to use an image before you publish it. For example, you can use any image in the Office Clip Art and Media Library without restriction, except if the image becomes a product for sale.

When you buy stock photography, you buy the rights to use it for a variety of purposes. Most clip art and stock photography cannot be used for resale; that is, you can use it to promote your business, but you cannot use it as the product itself.

If you have any doubts about using an image, contact the source owner and ask for permission before you publish it.

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Find the right picture

When you know the kind of pictures that you want, the resolution that you need, the file format that works best, and the copyright and usage issues, you need to find the images that will work best for your publication.

How do you narrow your search within the vast array of images in clip art and stock photography libraries? The differences between each service call for different search strategies, but we will use the Office Clip Art and Media Library, with its more than 140,000 images, to demonstrate some strategies for finding the right picture.

Searching for that perfect clip

This section has been excerpted from Make clip art look original in Publisher, by Mary Sauer, Microsoft MVP and creator of the Clip Art & Media Help Web site.

Finding the perfect clip on the Clip Art and Media on Office Online Web site is easy when you know what you want. You can search the Web site from within Publisher by using the Clip Art task pane, or you can go directly to the site's home page.

  • To open the Clip Art task pane, in Publisher, on the Insert menu, point to Picture, and then click Clip Art.

Clip Art task pane

After you type a search term into the Search for box and click Go, clips that match the search term appear in the task pane. You can click a clip in the task pane to insert it into your publication.

Searching by category

If you decide that you want more search options, you can click Clip art on Office Online at the bottom of the task pane to open the Office Clip Art and Media Web site. On the Web site, you can limit searches by category or style, and you can choose many clips at one time to download and store in the Microsoft Clip Organizer for future use.

One of the most efficient ways to search on the Web site is to start with a category. For example, simple pictures of people always make good illustrations for business topics. On the Office Clip Art and Media home page, under Browse Clip Art and Media Categories, you can click the People category.

Categories on the Clip Art and Media Web site

At the top of the home page, you can type words such as woman, desk, computer, or meeting, and then click Go.

Search bar on Clip Art and Media Web site

If you don't know what category to look in, choose keywords from your publication and use these in the Search list. For example, if your topic pertains to catering, type words such as food, utensils, or waiter.

Searching by media type

You can also limit your search by media type (Clip art, Photos, or Animations, for example) before you enter specific terms. In the Search list, click Clip art. Then type your terms.

Search bar on the Clip Art and Media Web site

You can find the clips used in the examples later in this article by clicking Clip art in the Search list and typing theaters or masks.

For more details about using the Office Clip Art and Media Web site, click a link in the See Also section.

Searching by style

Most clips on the Office Clip Art and Media Web site have a style number. To add consistency to a publication, you can choose clips that all have the same style number.

 Note   When you download clips from the Office Clip Art and Media Web site, you can no longer see the style numbers in Properties.

  • To see the style number for a clip, right-click the clip on the Office Clip Art and Media Web site, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu. A preview window opens, and it looks something like this.

Clip Art preview window

When you click the style number (436 in the illustration), the Office Clip Art and Media Web site shows clips in all categories that are similar in style.

Downloading clips from the Clip Art and Media Web site

From the Office Clip Art and Media Web site, you can add a clip to your publication or download one or more clips to your computer:

  • To quickly add just one clip from the Web site to a publication, you can right-click the clip's thumbnail image, click Copy on the shortcut menu, and then paste it into your publication.
  • To download one or more clips to your computer, select the clips that you want by selecting the check box under each image. In your Selection Basket, click Download items, and then click Download Now.

 Tip   To avoid problems with downloading clips, remember to keep your Internet cache cleared. Symptoms of a full cache include:

  • Seeing generic clips with names such as Dglxasset.aspx when you search for clip art inside the Clip Organizer or use the Clip Art task pane in a Microsoft Office program.
  • Receiving a "File cannot be found" message from Clip Organizer after you download a clip from the Web site.

To clear your cache, do the following:

  1. In Windows Internet Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  2. Under Temporary Internet files, click Delete Files, and then click OK.

Part of General tab, Internet Options dialog box

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Refine the pictures that you acquire

You can alter and enhance your pictures so that your publications have the unique look or character that suits your customers and your business. Although you can use a photo-editing program, such as Microsoft Digital Image 2006 or Adobe Photoshop, to create a nearly limitless number of changes, you can use the drawing tools in Publisher to make a wide range of refinements to a picture, including the following:

Remember: When you use any effect, you can give your publication a consistent appearance by applying the effect to all pictures in your publication.

 Tip   After you modify a clip, you may want to save it so that you can use it again. To save a modified clip, right-click it, and then click Save as Picture on the shortcut menu. In the Save As dialog box, in the Save as type list, click a file format. If you plan to use the modified clip in print publications, save it in Microsoft Windows Metafile (.wmf) format. If you plan to use the clip in Web publications, click Change, and then click Web (96 dpi). Save the clip in Graphics Interchange Format (.gif). Click a location in Save in, and then click Save.

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When you crop an image, you are removing any areas that you don't want to be shown. In this example, all but the lower-right portion of the large image was cropped to focus tightly on the masks. The result is shown in the smallest image.

Original clip art and two cropped versions

  1. Select the clip in your document.
  2. On the Picture toolbar, click Crop Button image.
  3. Place the pointer over one of the black crop handles along the edge of the clip. Then click and drag until you have cropped the clip to the area that you want.

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When you find the perfect clip for your document, it might not be the right size. Because cropping isn't always appropriate, you can enlarge or reduce the clip so that it fits within a certain area. For example, the first clip below was reduced to the second clip.

Original and proportionally resized picture

  1. Select the clip.
  2. Move your pointer over one of the open circles at a corner of the image.
  3. Drag until the image is the size that you want.

 Note   Dragging an open circle at a corner resizes the image proportionally. If you drag one of the side circles, the image grows or shrinks disproportionately, as shown here.

Disproportionally resized picture

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Rotating and flipping

Rotating a clip can enhance a page design by adding a dynamic asymmetry. For example, this mask in its vertical orientation is static and predictable. Rotated slightly, the mask gives the impression of movement (without the distraction of animation).

Original mask image Mask image, rotated

Flipping a clip can provide symmetrical balance to the page. This pair of performers is created by copying the clip on the left and flipping its pasted duplicate on the right. They might serve as bookends for an important headline.

Original picture and flipped copy

Rotate a clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Arrange menu, click Rotate or Flip, and then do one of the following:
    • Click Rotate Left 90° or Rotate Right 90° to rotate the clip in 90-degree increments. Click once to rotate the clip 90 degrees. Continue to click until the clip is in the position that you want.
    • Click Free Rotate, and then place the pointer over the round green handle at the top of the object. When you see a circle around the green handle, drag until the object is at the angle that you want.

Flip a clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Arrange menu, click Rotate or Flip, and then click Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical.

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Adding a drop shadow

Adding a drop shadow to a clip can give dimension and depth to your publication, and it can provide a professional appearance.

Drop shadow applied

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

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

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Changing contrast and brightness

You can change the appearance of a clip by adjusting the contrast and brightness of the image.

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Picture toolbar, do any of the following:
    • To increase the brightness, click More Brightness Button image.
    • To reduce the brightness, click Less BrightnessButton image.
    • To increase the contrast, click More Contrast Button image.
    • To reduce the contrast, click Less ContrastButton image.

Adjust the levels and compare the differences. For example, you can make a clip darker by decreasing the brightness, or you can subdue it by reducing the contrast.

If you want to place the clip behind text, you can wash out the clip by clicking Color Button image on the Picture toolbar and then selecting the Washout option.

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Ungrouping and recoloring clips

The mask that was rotated earlier in this article provides a good example of the value of ungrouping and deleting parts. The original clip that was downloaded from the Clip Art and Media Web site includes two masks and additional items. The goal is to use each mask separately.

Original theater clip art

After you paste or insert the clip into your publication, the first step is to ungroup it. Ungrouping breaks a piece of clip art into individual parts. Now you can delete the parts that you don't want and regroup a simpler picture.

 Note   A clip that has been ungrouped and regrouped looks dimmed in your publication, but it is printed sharp and clear.

  1. Click the clip to select it.
  2. On the Arrange menu, click Ungroup.
  3. When you see a message about converting an imported picture, click Yes.
  4. Beneath the ungrouped clip, click the Ungroup Objects button Button image.

The ungrouped clip is now covered with small, round selection handles. This is because you ungrouped the clip into all of its parts, and all the individual parts are selected.

Ungrouped theater clip art

  1. Starting outside the picture, drag your pointer diagonally from the upper left down past the chin of the left mask to select the entire mask.

If you select the entire mask, you can click within the left mask and drag it away from the other parts of the picture for easier modifying. You might want to delete the three triangles, recolor the masks, and align them differently, as shown here.

Regrouped clip with elements removed, realigned, and recolored

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Ungroup a clip, delete the parts, regroup it, and recolor it

Original theater clip art

This colorful clip provides a more complex example of simplifying a clip. In its original form, this clip might distract from the message, but you don't have to abandon the clip. You can resize it, ungroup it, delete unwanted parts, and recolor it to subdue the colors so that it will serve exactly the purpose that you want.

Ungroup a clip
  1. If you don't see the round handles surrounding the clip, click the clip to select it.
  2. On the Arrange menu, click Ungroup.
  3. When you see a message about converting an imported picture, click Yes.
  4. Beneath the ungrouped clip, click the Ungroup Objects button Button image.

Ungrouped clip art

Delete the parts of a clip

You are ready to delete the unwanted parts.

  1. On the Standard toolbar, in the Zoom listZoom list , click 200% to zoom in on the ungrouped clip. Click the page outside of the clip to cancel the selection.
  2. Select only the part that you want to delete, and then press DELETE.

For example, in the theater clip, you can delete the patterns on the buildings, the ground, the performer's costume, the highlights on the masks and performer's face, the sunbeams in the sky, and the box that surrounds the entire clip (most clip art has a transparent surrounding box), as shown here.

Ungrouped clip with unwanted elements removed

 Tip   You can select several parts at a time by holding down SHIFT and clicking each part.

Regroup the clip

When you have deleted all the unnecessary parts, you can regroup the clip. If you want to make some more changes to the clip, leave it ungrouped.

  1. Drag a selection rectangle around the entire clip so that all of its remaining parts are selected.
  2. Click the Group Objects button Button image.

 Tip   If only one part is left after you delete the unwanted parts, you won't see the Group Objects buttonButton image.

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Recolor the clip

You could stop now, but the vibrant colors will jump out on a page of text. The picture will work better if the colors are toned down. Now that the clip is simplified, you are ready to recolor it so that it creates less of a distraction.

To recolor a clip, you first have to select it. After you click the entire clip, click again on a part that you want to recolor (dark gray circles surround the selected part).

 Tip   If the dark gray circles are difficult to see against the background color of the clip, you may want to ungroup the clip again so the parts are easier to identify. Selected parts in an ungrouped clip have white handles that stand out better. If you ungroup the clip to recolor it, be sure to group it again after you finish recoloring.

Here are some actions that you can take to recolor the parts of a clip. All of the buttons are on the Formatting toolbar.

 Note   To display the Formatting toolbar, on the View menu, point to Toolbars and then click Formatting.

  • Change the fill color by clicking the Fill Color button Button image.

In this clip, a gradient fill effect that varies from orange in one corner to indigo in the opposite corner creates the sunset. The buildings use a horizontal gradient fill effect that darkens near the base of the buildings to mimic the light at dusk.

Ungrouped clip with new colors and fill effects applied

  • Change the line color by clicking the Line Color button Button image.
  • Change the border color by clicking the Line/Border Style button Button image.
Apply a uniform color to all clips

Applying a uniform color to a range of clips that vary in color and style is a simple way to unify your publication. Using one spot color when you print your publication at a commercial printing service reduces printing costs while giving the publication the richness of an added accent color.

Assorted theater clip art
Assorted theater clip art with same color applied to each clip

  1. Select the clip.
  2. On the Format menu, click Picture, and then click the Picture tab.
  3. Click Recolor.

 Note   If the clip has been converted to a Microsoft drawing object, the Recolor button is unavailable. Use Fill Colors and Fill Effects instead. For more information about recoloring a drawing object, see the previous section in this article.

  1. In the Recolor Picture dialog box, select a color (Pantone 562 C is used in the example here), and then click one of the following options:
    • Click Recolor whole picture to apply tints of the selected color to the entire picture.
    • Click Leave black parts black to apply tints of the selected color to only those parts of the picture that are not black or white.
  2. Click OK, and then repeat these steps for each of the images in your publication.

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Wrapping the text around a clip

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.

Tight text wrapping

  1. Insert the clip in a block of text.
  2. With the clip selected, on the Picture toolbar, click Text Wrapping Button image, and then click the style of text wrapping that you want to add.

You can wrap text around, over and under, or through a picture. You also can choose to edit the wrap points, which can be useful with irregular shapes.

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

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