How to Edit Pictures With Word

By Contributor

Updated May 12, 2020

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'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 Format" tab that appears at the top, click "Corrections." This will open a drop-down preview of different effects on thumbnail versions of the same picture. Click “Picture Correction Options” to experiment with the Brightness slider.


Here, you can adjust the Brightness/Contrast settings, as well as Sharpen/Soften settings by. clicking a percentage or moving the "Brightness" and "Contrast” sliders.

Adjusting brightness and contrast of picture in Word.

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.

Adjusting transparency of picture in Word.

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.

Resizing picture manually in Word.

Resize the picture to a specific size. Click the picture and select the “Picture Format” tab. Find the Height and Width boxes to the right side of the tool bar at the top of the screen to input your desired dimensions and the little box next to them.

Adjusting custom height and width of picture in Word.

Crop a picture, which reduces its size while removing parts you don’t want. Select the picture and click the “Picture Format” tab. Click “Crop.”

Cropping picture in Word.

Drag the cropping handle on one side of the picture inward. Press “Ctrl” while doing this to crop two sides equally.

Dragging cropping handles of picture in Word.
Selecting Picture Effects tab in Word.

Picture Effects

Click the picture you want to edit.

Clicking on picture in Word.

On the “Picture Format” tab, click “Picture Effects” tab in the tool bar at the top.

Selecting Picture Effects tab in Word.

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.

Picture Effects options in Word.
More Picture Effects options in Word.


These steps are just a few among the many ways you can edit pictures in Microsoft Word. After inserting a picture, click the “Picture Format” tab to experiment with a variety of changes you can make.

This process applies to Word 2014, but use similar steps in Word 2010 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 2010 has many more editing features available than past versions of Word.