The Power of Microsoft Word Graphics
If you use Word, like many out there, you probably use it primarily to generate text documents. But did you know that word also has some great graphics producing features. Many of these have existed for years but the menu system of the program, prior to 2007, was clunky when it came to graphics. It seemed that these functions were always treated as second class citizens in the Word world – hard to find and hard to figure out. That might be understandable since the program was originally designed as a digital typewriter and after all, it is called “Word Processing.”
It also true, however, that “a picture can be worth 1000 words!” Graphic content, whether static (think Power Point) or in-motion (think video) has become more prevalent as the internet has evolved. Websites now contain a lot of content that is graphic in nature. Blogs (a web-log) started out as a writing platform. That means mostly words . . . but now blogs are just as likely to contain photographs, video and other graphic elements. Some blogs are even called “Photo Blogs.” Graphics have always been important to me and I spend a lot of time using Word so it is only natural that I would explore the graphic producing qualities of the program. With the arrival of Word 2007 (and then 2010), this became even easier. The ribbon menu system puts the graphic producing commands on an even footing with all of the other things Word does.
When I talk about making graphics in Word, I am not saying that you are going to create drawings or a work of art. What I am referring to here is the power to add graphic elements to a text document. Here are some examples:
- Insert elements such as Photographs, shapes and clip art.
- Insert screen shots.
- Make text boxes, either pre-formatted or custom.
- Add annotative text to other graphics – photos, maps, etc.
It only seems natural to jazz up a Power Point presentation, so why not a Word Document. That report you’re working on will look more professional and polished with added graphics. Enhanced footers, snazzier listes, accented sidebars, a diagram to help explain your point; this is all very do-able and much easier than you might think. As a bonus, export your enhanced graphic right out of Word and use it on a Website or in a Blog. As a bonus, it’s your own work, there are no copywrite issues.
Here at ProNet 6, the header at the top of the page (Yes, my blog banner) is a graphic that was generated in Word. When I was first playing around with ideas for the header, creating the final copy in Word was not something I was thinking about. I was only thinking of Word as a starting point, to develope some initial ideas. As the ideas became refined, I started using the graphic menu and soon realized that I could make the whole thing right in Word . . . and so I did. Read more about creating the blog header here . . .
Getting Started with Word Graphics
The best way to learn about this is to dive right in. Start out with something simple and soon you will find yourself making enhancements and adding more graphic features. Take it slow at first, learn as you go and try not to get overwhelmed by the whole thing. Here are some resources that might get you pointed in the right direction:
Word as a Graphic Tool . . . an overview for the beginner.
Using Text Boxes Effectively . . . all about the Word text box.
Spice Up Your Word Document With SmartArt . . . using the SmartArt feature of Word.
Using “Shapes” in your Word Docment . . . shapes are the building blocks for Word generated graphic features.
Like anything new, using Microsoft Word to make a graphic presentation does take some practice. As the program has become more powerful and added features, it has also become a bit more complicated to use. Even so, I have found it very manageable to use and the learning curve short. With a little trial and error, the program can yield some great looking graphics that will enhance any presentation.