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Text Box & Other Image-Management Options in Microsoft Word

After explaining recently how to insert an image-bearing Text Box into an MSWord document (so the picture can be moved at will on the page) — MSWord Text Boxes — a reader asked how to remove the box's outline. This is done by clicking on any edge of the box and going to Format>Text Box>Colors & Lines>Line, and choosing No Line. Alternatively, you can choose a color for the line, as well as choosing a style, such as dashed, double-line, and/or specify a line width.

A wide variety of color and texture options are also available for filling a Text Box with various background effects.

Other Text Box formatting options are available by clicking on Layout and choosing to have text flow around the box, or to flow around its left or its right side. You can even opt to have text flow over the face of the boxed image or behind it.

Clicking the picture inside a Text Box, followed by clicking Format>Picture, will display many similar editing options for the image. Furthermore, an image-editing toolbar will appear with additional choices, such as adjusting contrast and brightness levels, cropping the picture and/or converting it to gray scale or to a black and white image. You can even choose to convert it to a "watermark," which will appear in light gray behind your typing.

Personally, I prefer to do cropping and resizing with Irfanview (free from or with Picasa (free from before placing the picture on a Word page.

However, proportional resizing can be done on an inserted picture by simply grabbing any corner and adjusting it with your mouse. Distorted resizing can be done by mouse-adjusting any edge of an image.

Beyond all this, Word also has an assortment of drawing tools that can be helpful for desktop publishing jobs. Click on View>Toolbars>Drawing to display a toolbar with options for drawing rectangles, circles, and other geometric shapes, along with special shapes such as odd-sized arrows, a heart, and even a happy face. Rectangles can even be displayed as 3-dimensional objects, or with drop-shadows. Furthermore, any selected shape can be rotated by clicking the Rotate tool and then grabbing and revolving any corner of an object.

If all the above MSWord graphic features weren't enough, you can click View>Toolbars>WordArt, and find tools for creating colorful stylized headlines or short specialized phrases. WordArt creations can also be resized and/or reshaped by mouse-grabbing and adjusting any corner of an object. Furthermore, a WordArt object can be moved to any location on a page.

Given the above image-handling options, one might assume that MSWord makes a reasonably good desktop publishing program for creating newsletters, church bulletins, and small posters. However, Word's page-layout functions tend to be rather unstable, thus making the above options reliable only on pages that have fairly simple layouts. MSPublisher is a better choice for fancier DTP work.

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