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MS Word Tutorial

Using Clipart

Need to jazz up a newsletter?  Make stationary, an invitation, or a brochure?  Clipart in Word is a versatile and eye-catching addition to documents you produce.  It adds the "pop" that text and WordArt just can't produce.  The best thing about clipart?  You don't have to be an artist to add the art!  Let the creative juices flow (or not) and discover with me how clipart can enhance your documents.

Inserting Clipart 

When choosing a clip to add to your document, keep in mind that just about anything can be adjusted.  You can size, crop, add lines and fill effects, use a layout that lets you type text over the clip and more.  To insert clipart:

  1. Place the insertion point in the location where clipart is to be added.

  2. From the Insert menu, choose Picture and Clipart.  The Insert Clipart dialog box displays as below.

Note the Favorites category that you can add often used clips to for easy access.  You'll find out how below.  Also note, that there is a Search for clips field available for your use.  Clipart in Word is categorized and related to keywords.  By typing a keyword in this box and pressing Enter, Word will search for all clips associated with that word regardless of the category.

  1. Click on a category that suits your needs.  In our example, we've chosen "Entertainment".  The first page of clips immediately displays.

  2. To navigate through the clipart pages, use the arrows outlined in yellow below, or click on Keep Looking to go to the next page.

  1. Click on the image you want to insert.  A shortcut menu appears.  This little shortcut menu can be a valuable tool - see the explanations in the graphic below.

The last tool, which finds clipart that is similar, can be great if you need more than one clip to insert with the same theme or if you like the look of one and want to see other clipart with the same artistic effect.

  1. Once you are sure have located the right clip, click and choose the Insert Clip button, or right-click on the clip and choose Insert Clip.

The clipart is inserted in your document, but it probably needs some adjusting to fit your needs.

Modifying Clipart 

The first thing you should know about modifying clipart, is how to adjust the size.  When you single-click on clipart, the clipart is selected and square "nodes" appear on the corners and sides, as below.

To resize:

A double arrow is displayed when hovering the mouse over one of these nodes.  Holding the mouse button down, drag to reduce or enlarge the image.  

To have more control over adjusting the size, hold down the Alt key while dragging.  This allows for more precise adjustments.

Note:  The nodes on the corners adjust the size proportionally, and do not distort the image.  More than likely, you will want to use the corner nodes to adjust size.  The nodes on the bottom and top adjust the height only, and the nodes on the sides adjust the only the width.  Take a look at the following comparison.

Size adjusted with corner node.
(no distortion)

Size adjusted with side node.

To crop:

You can also use the Picture toolbar to adjust brightness, crop, change the layout, etc.  To use the picture toolbar, select the clipart, then right-click on the existing toolbars at the top of your screen and choose Picture.  The toolbar is displayed.

This same toolbar is used when you insert a picture from a file - like a family photo.  If you crop a picture, you cut out part of the picture along one of the sides.  So, let's pretend our clipart is a family photo and cut out our mother-in-law!  

  1. Choose the Crop tool, as above.

  2. Move your mouse over one of the top, bottom, or side nodes.  The crop tool appears along with your mouse.

  3. Hold the mouse button down and drag to crop.  Note that you can also press the Alt key here while dragging for greater control.

Other useful Picture toolbar tools:

If tools or selection options are grayed out, it is because the tool is only available when inserting a picture file such as a JPEG or GIF.

  • The first button on the toolbar inserts a picture from a file into your document.  You will not use this tool when working with clipart.

  • The second tool is Image Control.  You can use this tool to grayscale your clipart or make it black and white.  We'll discuss a watermark later on.

  • Following image control, are buttons that can be used to increase or decrease the contrast and brightness of the clipart.

  • The Text Wrapping tool tells word how you want to treat text that surrounds the clipart.  For example, you might want to type text over the clipart and use it as a background.

  • The Format Picture tool (paint bucket) opens the Format Picture dialog box, which is discussed in the next section of this tutorial.

  • And last but not least, if you are not satisfied with the adjustments you have made, the Reset Picture button on the end of the toolbar resets the clipart to its original state.

The Format Picture Dialog Box 

The methods discussed so far, are ones that I find are the easiest to use.  However, you can also make modifications with the Format Picture dialog box.  It allows you to make many changes at one time, and has a few additional features.

The easiest way to access the Format Picture dialog box is to double-click on the clipart.

The Picture tab is displayed first by default.  As you can see, there are fields for cropping and image control.  Exact measurements and percentages can be used here to adjust cropping, brightness, and contrast.  However, I find the Picture toolbar discussed earlier to be more "friendly".  Personally, I could spend all day going to this box and adjusting measurements, etc. - but if I use the Picture toolbar, I can see my changes immediately and modify accordingly.

In the following example, some of the more useful features are demonstrated by creating a watermark of our clipart that we can type text over for a newsletter title.

  1. Select Watermark from the Color field.

  2. Move to the Colors and Lines tab of the dialog box and select Patterned Lines from the Line, Color field.

The Patterned Lines dialog box appears as below.

  1. Select a pattern and choose Foreground and Background colors to match your clipart.  A preview is shown in the Sample field.

  2. Choose OK.

  3. Next, move to the Layout tab.

  4. Use the picture examples and choose a Wrapping style.  In our example, we need Behind text.

  1. Choose OK on the Format Picture dialog box.  Our clipart now looks like the example below.

  1. Move your insertion point and type text as you would in any document.

When you choose to have Behind text as the layout, you are allowed to move the image around on your screen.  In this case, we want to move the image down and a bit to the right.

  1. Select the image.  Move your mouse to the middle of the image, hold the button down, and drag the clipart to the proper location.  Remember, you can press and hold the Alt key for more precise movement.

Voila!  We're finished.  Clipart can be an amazing addition to your documents.  It takes a little time and practice, but is well worth the effort!

About Contributor
Karyn Stille is an experienced software trainer who has helped thousands understand Microsoft Office.  Her tutorials site and free newsletter get rave reviews from site visitors and subscribers.

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