Strictly speaking, Word is a wordprocessor not a graphics application. Neverthelss, it does offer a small, but functional range of tools for do-it-yourselfers. So whether you’re an Indie creating a cookbook of favourite recipes, a student putting together a thesis, or simply someone with a report to write that includes a lot of graphics, this series of posts is for you.
Changing Word defaults
As mentioned in the introduction, Word is primarily a wordprocessor. More importantly, it is a wordprocessor for business applications, so it automatically reduces image quality in order to provide the best overall result for business documents. To control the quality of the images in your document, you have to change two of the Word defaults: image compression and image resolution. Both of these settings can be found in File/Options.
To begin, open your manuscript in Word and click the blue File tab on the Ribbon.
Select ‘Options’ from the navigation pane on the left:
Word now displays the Options dialog box:
- Click Advanced to display the Advanced options on the right hand side of the dialog box. Scroll down until you see ‘Image Size and Quality’.
- Tick the box next to ‘Do not compress images in file’.
- Next, click the small arrow next to ‘Default resolution’. This will display a drop down list.
- Select the option for ‘High Fidelity’ as shown in the screenshot above.
- Click the OK button to exit the Options dialog box.
Now, when you add an image to your document, you will be in control of the quality of the image.
Inserting an image
If you are working with images, chances are you already know how to insert an image into a Word document. Still, it doesn’t hurt to cover the basics so this is how you place an image in a document.
Click the cursor at the location where you want the image to go [roughly].
Click Insert on the Ribbon and select the ‘Picture’ option:
Note: the ‘Picture’ option is for images saved to your computer. ‘Online Pictures’ allows you to search the internet for pictures and paste them directly into your document. Quite apart from copyright issues, ‘Online Pictures’ is not a good option because you can’t control the size or quality of the image you import into your document.
Locate the required image on your computer and select it.
Word will automatically resize large images to fit the space available. It will also place the image ‘In Line with Text’. This is the default ‘Wrap Text’ setting, and it will ‘lock’ the image to the text at that location.
Wrap Text Settings
The ‘Wrap Text’ settings determine how the image will interact with the text. If you leave ‘In Line with Text’ as the setting, you will be able to change the size of the image, but you will not be able to move it.
There are two ways of changing the ‘Wrap Text’ settings of an image. The first is via the Ribbon. The second is via the small icon displayed next to the image.
Wrap Text via the Ribbon
Click an image to select it.
This will open the Picture Tools/Format menu:
The available ‘Wrap Text’ settings show ‘In Line with Text’ at the top of the list. Next to each setting is an icon that represents the function of that particular setting. The same icons are shown on the mini menu available next to each image.
The Wrap Text mini menu
When you select an image, it is displayed with ‘handles’ around the outside and a small icon to the right:
Click that icon to display the mini menu of ‘Wrap Text’ settings.
The mini menu displays the same icons as the ‘WrapText’ option on the Ribbon, but it does not label those icons so it’s only useful once you know what each icon represents.
The Wrap Text Icons
In Line with Text
This is the default option for each new image. It does not allow the image to move freely.
Square, Tight & Through
These three options make the text flow around the image on four sides. There are minor variations, but the image will look as if it’s ‘boxed’ in by the text.
Note: click-hold-and-drag the image to position it horizontally in the paragraph from the far left through to the far right.
Top & Bottom
This option pushes the text above and below the image, like bread in a ‘sandwich’.
Note: the image is locked to the paragraph that comes before it. If text is deleted above this paragraph, and there is not enough room for both paragraph and image to ‘move up’, neither will, resulting in a gap on the page. To fix: reduce the image size or change the text wrapping.
This option allows the image to become the background with the text sitting on top of it.
Note: the image can be hard to select if you need to do any editing.
In Front of Text
This option allows the image to float over the top of the text. It will also obscure any text beneath it.
To select any of the ‘Wrap Text’ options, simply click the icon that represents the setting you wish to use.