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Enhance Your Pictures in Word 2013

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Word 2013 makes it easy for you to add, edit, and enhance pictures in your document. Katherine Murphy shows you how to tweak your images so your illustrations really pop.

The ability to add pictures to a document is nothing new: We’ve been inserting pictures for years in Microsoft Word. But now in Word 2013, adding pictures is easier than ever, and it is a simple task to find and insert images, whether they are stored on your computer, in the cloud, or anywhere on the web. And once you add the image to your page, you can enhance it by applying a number of artistic filters, adding borders, tweaking the way text flows around it, and much more.

Adding Images from the Cloud

Your first step in adding a picture to your document is to position the cursor at the point where you want to add the image. Then click the Insert tab in Word 2013 to display your picture choices. The Illustrations group of the Insert tab actually offers you five different tools you can use to add art to your document. You can add a picture that you’ve already saved on your computer or flash drive by clicking the Picture tool; add a picture from an online source (either using a search engine or by choosing a picture you’ve saved in the cloud) with the Online Pictures tool. You can also add shapes, create a SmartArt diagram, insert a chart, or even add a screenshot of your computer screen at the cursor position.

Choose Online Pictures, and Word 2013 displays a dialog box with three choices. You can search for clip art on Office.com, use Bing to find pictures you’re looking for, or access your own SkyDrive account to grab images you’ve saved in cloud storage (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Choose your SkyDrive option to insert a picture you've saved in the cloud

When you click Browse, the dialog box changes to display the subfolders you’ve added to SkyDrive. Navigate to the folder containing the image you want to add, click or tap it, and choose Insert. Word then adds it to the document at the cursor position.

Adding Artistic Touches

Today’s documents need some kind of illustration, if you want to hold peoples’ attention. Word 2013 gives you a number of tools you can use to apply special artistic effects to the images in your document. Once you’ve added the picture to the page, select it. The Picture Tools Format tab becomes available. Click it and then click Artistic Effects, in the Adjust group on the far left side of the ribbon. A gallery of artistic filters appears so that you can try different looks for the picture.

You can try on a filter by positioning the mouse over the filter you’re considering. The image changes to display the effects of the filter. When you find the one you like, simply click it to add it to the image (see Figure 2).

Figure 2 You can easily apply an artistic filter to a picture on your page

Replacing an Image

As you’re finalizing your document, you may decide that the picture you’ve added doesn’t quite do what you’d hoped it would do. You can replace that image easily by using the Change Picture tool in the Adjust group of the Picture Tools Format tab.

Begin by selecting the picture you want to replace. The Picture Tools Format tab becomes available. Click Change Picture in the Adjust group. The Insert Pictures dialog box appears, giving you the option of inserting a picture from a file, searching for clip art on Office.com, searching on Bing, or adding the image from your cloud storage. You may also see tools for connecting to Facebook or Flickr to grab photos you’ve stored there (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 Change a picture by selecting it in the document and then choosing Change Picture in the Adjust group

Click your choice, navigate to the place where the picture is stored, and select it. Then choose Insert. The picture is automatically added to the space where the previous picture was located in your document. If you had added other effects to the picture—for example, if you added a border or a picture style—those same settings are applied to the new picture as well.

Controlling Text Flow

Another important consideration for working with pictures in Word involves getting your text to flow around your images the way you want it to. Word offers you a number of choices for controlling text flow. Begin by selecting the image on the page, and then in the Picture Tools Format tab, click Wrap Text in the Arrange group. A list of wrap options appears.

If you want text to flow around the picture evening, choose the Tight option. You can experiment with the different options to see their effects on your page. If you want to create a custom effect, flowing text tightly around the outline of your image, you can use Edit Wrap Points.

You first need to select an option like Tight; then Edit Wrap Points becomes available in the list. When you choose Edit Wrap Points, handles appear along the image so that you can click and drag the handles in the direction you want to change the boundary of the picture (see Figure 4). You can add edit points along the perimeter of the image by clicking at the point on the outline where you want to create the edit point. Then click and drag the edit point as needed to get the text flow affects you want.

Figure 4 Choose Wrap Text to experiment with options for flowing text around pictures in your document

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Final Thoughts

Word 2013 makes it easier than ever for you to make your pictures look good on your document pages. You can easily add your pictures wherever you have stored them—online, on your computer, or on your favorite social media site. You can apply artistic filters to give the image a quick, professional look, and you can fine-tune the text wrapping so that the picture becomes an effective part of the flow of your story.

Whether photography is your thing or you’re using public domain images from Office.com, illustrating your content with attention-getting pictures can help your readers enjoy and understand what they’re reading, which ultimately is a goal worth reaching for.

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