SEARCH

How-To Geek

Lesson 4: Working with Pictures, Shapes, and Graphics

Word Formatting 4

Word allows you to do much more than simply insert or place graphics. For our fourth lesson in this series, we will focus on the graphic design functions in Word such as pictures, SmartArt, screenshots, and other items that can be found on the “Insert” tab.

These functions really breathe life into your drab black and white text documents. With a simple picture or chart, you can turn your term paper from meh to yeah! Luckily, there’s a whole range of ways you can add images to better illustrate (no pun intended) your point.

We’ll wrap the lesson by changing gears a bit and discussing how to use more than one language in Word 2013.

Images and Multimedia

You don’t have to think of Word as simply a word processing program. It has requisite tools for doing some pretty nifty page layout. While it’s not a feature-complete or robust as a professional page layout program such as Adobe InDesign. You can still get very professional looking results if you know what’s in your toolbox and how to use it.

clip_image001

Pictures and Online Pictures

Both “Pictures” and “Online Pictures” accomplish the same goal. The only difference is that “Pictures” means you can insert pictures locally, while “Online Pictures” allows you to insert images from an internet-based source such as clip art from Office.com, Bing, or OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive).

clip_image005

You can also insert pictures from your Facebook profile or Flickr although you could always just save the pictures you want to insert to your computer and then insert them from there if you don’t want to connect Office to these profiles.

clip_image007

Picture Tools

As always, when you want to edit a picture or any element place in a Word document, you can click on it and the appropriate tab will appear on the Ribbon.

With pictures, that tab is “Picture Tools.” Here we see you can make all kinds of corrections to the picture on-the-fly. For example, you can correct brightness and contrast, the color, add a border.

clip_image009

Where you position and how you wrap text will also play a large role in formatting your documents.

clip_image010

Here we see those controls. In our documents, we don’t worry so much about word wrapping or positioning because Word isn’t the final step toward publishing online. However, if you’re going to produce something WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get), such as for a PDF or print publication, then these things will definitely matter.

clip_image011

Also, there are a couple ways you make changes to your pictures inline, such as resizing, rotating, and moving them. In the following image, you see these controls, many of which you will likely be familiar with.

clip_image013

When you click on an image in your document, you get a box on each corner, which will let you resize a picture. At the top, in the middle, is a circular arrow, grab this to freely rotate your picture. To move the image, hover the mouse over the image until the pointer is the four arrows, you can then click and drag the image anywhere you like.

Finally, if you click on the little “Layout Options” button, you can change your text wrapping without going to the Ribbon.

Clicking on “See more…” at the bottom of the “Layout Options” opens the full-blown “Layout” dialog.

clip_image014

Note, the size tab both on the Ribbon the “Layout” dialog allows you to specifically resize, rotate, and scale your pictures, rather than relying wholly on winging it:

clip_image015

We’d like to spend the whole day talking about formatting images in Word, but as you can see, there’s a ton of options at your disposal. Let’s move on now to other objects you can insert into your documents, starting with “Shapes.”

Shapes

Microsoft Word 2013 comes with an array of built-in shapes, which you can use to create callouts, boxes, stars, and other shapes.

clip_image017

When you choose a shape, you simply draw it on a blank space on the page. It doesn’t matter if you get it perfect or just the way you want it because you can adjust it to your heart’s content once it is placed in your document.

Note in the screenshot, the previously mentioned little “handles” you can use to resize and rotate your shapes.

clip_image019

At the bottom of the “Shapes” menu, there’s an option to create a “new drawing canvas.” This will open, what is essentially a text box for shapes. With this drawing canvas, you can create drawings using these shapes allowing you to create things like diagrams and flowcharts.

SmartArt and WordArt

SmartArt and WordArt tend to have some overlap, particularly if you create something using WordArt and then customize any of the text within it. Of course, you can use one or the other and never the twain shall meet, but we’re going to talk about them in the same section because one often leads to the other.

Think of SmartArt as premade drawing canvases that you can insert into your document and then customize as you like. Simply pick an arrangement, such as a list, process, or cycle.

clip_image021

As you can see, we created a graphic based on a “Continuous Block Process.” When we click on the text boxes, we can edit what is inside. There are also the usual grab handles needed to resize the image, and the “Layout Options” allowing you to wrap text to your preference.

clip_image023

If you use SmartArt, note that the Ribbon changes to reflect this. The “SmartArt Tools” features two tabs: “Design” and “Format.” Let’s cover each one and its features.

The right half of the “Format” tab allows you to pick from a number of “SmartArt Styles” and you can also “Change Colors.”

clip_image025

If you look at our previous example, you can see we applied an embossed, shiny effect and changed the colors of our text boxes and arrow.

clip_image027

On the left half of the “Design” tab, you can “Create Graphic” so you can add shapes, bullets, text, and move things around.

clip_image029

The “Layouts” section lets you change how your graphic looks on the fly. Simply hover over any of the built-in options to see how it would look utilizing a different layout. Changes to the layout are not applied unless you first click on a style.

clip_image031

The right side of the “Format” tab is used for affecting changes to text. These include “WordArt Styles” and other effects suchs as fill and outline. Beyond that, you can arrange multiple layers by sending them forward and backward.

clip_image033

The “Layout” dialog pops out if you select the little arrow in the bottom-right corner of the “size” section or you can choose more options from any of the drop-down menus including “Position”, “Align”, and “Rotate.”

clip_image035

    Continue Reading »
  • 1
  • 2
  • Next

Born and brainwashed an Ohio State Buckeye, Matt now lives a warm, snow-free life just north of the Texas/Mexico border. He fancies himself a modern-day jack-of-all-trades; favorite conversation starters include operating systems, Android, BBQ, quantum physics, and roller skating.

  • Published 02/20/14

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!