How to Edit Pictures With Word

by Amy Dombrower

Microsoft Word, in its various iterations, is known for its word-processing capabilities, but it's also quite capable when it comes to photo editing. Using Word 2007's "Insert" tab, you can place a picture from your computer into a document. Once the image is in place, you can adjust its brightness, contrast and transparency, re-size or crop it, and add special effects.

Brightness, Contrast and Transparency

Select a picture you want to change by clicking it. Under "Picture Tools," click the "Format" tab. Under "Adjust," select "Brightness." You can then use this tool to change the brightness percentage as you see fit. Click "Picture Correction Options" to experiment with the Brightness slider.

Click "Contrast" under the "Adjust" group to change the contrast of the picture. Click a contrast percentage or move the Contrast slider under "Picture Correction Options."

Change the picture transparency to be able to view text on top of it, put two pictures on top of each other or to hide a part of the picture. You can only make one color in a picture transparent. To do so, select the picture. In the same "Adjust" group under the "Format" tab, click "Recolor." Click "Set Transparent Color" and click the color you want to be transparent.

Resizing and Cropping

Resize a picture manually by clicking the picture you want to resize. Drag the sizing cursor away from the center of the object to increase the size or towards the center to decrease it. Hold "Shift" while doing this to keep the picture's proportions. To keep the center of the picture in the same place, hold "Ctrl" while dragging the sizing cursor.

Resize the picture to a specific size. Click the picture and select the "Format" tab. Under "Size," enter the height and weight that you want. In the "Size" group, click the small blue icon to launch the "Size" dialog box. On the "Size" tab, uncheck the "Lock Aspect Ratio" box under "Scale."

Crop a picture, which reduces its size while removing parts you don't want. Select the picture and click the "Format" tab. Under "Size, click "Crop." Drag the cropping handle on one side of the picture inward. Press "Ctrl" while doing this to crop two sides equally.

Picture Effects

Click the picture you want to edit.

On the "Format" tab, click "Picture Effects" in the "Picture Styles" group.

Select the effect you want. Choose from a preset combination of effects--shadow, reflection, glow, soft edge, bevel and others. Point to the type of effect you want and select the variation you like.


  • These steps are just a few among the many ways you can edit pictures in Microsoft Word. After inserting a picture, click the "Format" tab to experiment with a variety of changes you can make.
  • This process applies to Word 2007, but use similar steps in Word 2003 to edit pictures. Use the "Insert" menu to insert a picture. To edit a picture, select it and use the "Picture" toolbar to crop, change brightness and contrast and create transparent area. Word 2007 has many more editing features available than past versions of Word.

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About the Author

Amy Dombrower is a journalist and freelance writer living in Chicago. She worked in the newspaper industry for three years and enjoys writing about technology, health, paper crafts and life improvement. Some of her passions are graphic design, movies, music and fitness. Dombrower earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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