Crop, Size, or Resize Images in Microsoft Office

Work With Pictures More Precisely in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and More

Format Picture Tools in Microsoft Office 2013
Format Picture Tools in Microsoft Office 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Your documents in Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, and even other programs like Excel may involve images or pictures. Getting those images to the right size is an important skill for creating polished, dynamic documents.

The Very Basics

Getting these and other objects to behave alongside your text and other document elements can be tricky.

When it comes to sizing pics, most of us probably use the drag and drop sizing handles--those little bubbles near the corners or edges of an image that we have selected.

That works well as a fast, general method, but you may find times when this needs to be more precise. For example, what if you need just part of an image? Or what if all images in your document need to be the same width or height?

Looking Beyond: How to Be More Precise When Cropping or Resizing Images

For example, you may have a sequence of images that need to all be the same width, height, or both. But you can also use a specific dialog box or in-ribbon tool for entering an exact value. That way, you can crop, size, or resize images with more precision.

For either method, here are quick directions as well as a few additional tips and tricks.

Here's How:

  1. First, you need a picture.You can find images for your documents from your own work or an image service (always make sure you have permissions for business documents).
  2. Save the image(s) to your computer or device so you can insert the artwork into the Microsoft Office program you are interested in.
  1. Open that Office program if you have not already. Make sure you are clicked or tapped into the exact place you would like the image(s) to go, but keep in mind you will likely need to work with Text Wrapping or other tools for precise placement (see more on this in the link below).
  2. Then select  Insert - Image or Clip Art.
  1. To resize the image, click on it and drag the corners (also known as sizing handles) to the desired dimensions. Or, to be more precise, select Format - Shape Height or Shape Width and toggle to the exact size.
  2. To crop, you have a few options. The first is to select Format - Crop - Crop, then drag the wide dashes on the image outline inward or outward. Select Crop one more time to complete it.

How to Get the Most Out of Text Wrapping in Microsoft Office

Additional Tips:

  1. You may find situations when it would be helpful to crop an image to a specific shape. After clicking on a picture to activate it, you can also select Format - Crop - Crop to Shape then select a shape of your choice. For example, you could crop a square picture into an oval picture.
  2. Also after clicking on a picture to activate it, you might choose to select Format - Crop - Crop to Aspect Ratio to change the picture area to certain dimensions of height and width. You can use this with the Fit and Fill buttons as well, which resize the image according to that picture area.
  3. Adding several images to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, or other Office file tends to make them larger files. If you run into problems storing or sending the file to others, you may also be interested in Compressing Images in Microsoft Office. This involves zipping a file into a more compact form, which the next user (and this might be you depending on the situation) then unzips to read or work with the file. 

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