Word: Formatting Pictures

Lesson 19: Formatting Pictures



There are many ways to format pictures in Word. For instance, you can change the size or shape of an image to better suit your document. You can also enhance its appearance using Word's image adjustment tools.

Optional: Download our practice document.

Watch the video below to learn more about formatting pictures.

To crop an image:

When you crop an image, part of the picture is removed. Cropping can be useful if you're working with an image that's too big and you want to focus on only part of it.

  1. Select the image you want to crop. The Format tab will appear.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Crop command.
    crop command
  3. Cropping handles will appear on the sides and corners of the image. Click and drag any handle to crop the image. Because the cropping handles are near the resizing handles, be careful not to drag a resizing handle by mistake.

    using the cropping handles

  4. To confirm, click the Crop command again. The image will be cropped.
    finished cropped image

The corner handles are useful for simultaneously cropping the image horizontally and vertically.

To crop an image to a shape:

  1. Select the image you want to crop, then click the Format tab.
  2. Click the Crop drop-down arrow. Hover over Crop to Shape, then select the desired shape from the drop-down menu.
    selecting a shape
  3. The image will be cropped to the chosen shape.
    image cropped to teardrop shape

To add a border to a picture:

  1. Select the picture you want to add a border to, then click the Format tab.
  2. Click the Picture Border command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. From here, you can select a color, weight (thickness), and whether the line is dashed.
    applying a border
  4. The border will appear around the image.

Making image adjustments

With Word's image adjustment tools, you can easily change properties like color, contrast, saturation, and tone. Word also offers built-in picture styles, which can be used to add a frame, drop shadow, and other predefined effects.

When you're ready to adjust an image, simply select it. Then use the options below, which can be found on the Format tab.

adjustment options


From here, you can sharpen or soften the image to adjust how clear or blurry it appears. You can also adjust brightness and contrast, which affect the image's lightness and general intensity.

corrections menu


Using this command, you can adjust the image's saturation (how vibrant the colors appear), tone (the color temperature of the image, from cool to warm), and coloring (the overall tint of the image).

color menu

Artistic Effects

Here, you can apply special effects to your image, such as pastel, watercolor, or glowing edges. Because the results are so bold, you may want to use these effects sparingly (especially in professional documents).

artistic effects menu

Picture Styles group

This group contains different predefined styles that make image formatting even easier. Picture styles are designed to frame your image without changing its basic settings or effects.

picture styles menu

Compressing pictures

If you plan to email a document that contains pictures, you'll need to monitor its file size. Large, high-resolution images can cause your document to become very large, which may make it difficult to attach to an email. Additionally, cropped areas of pictures are saved within the document by default, which can add to the file size.

Thankfully, you can reduce your document's file size by compressing your pictures. This will lower their resolution and delete cropped areas.

Compressing a picture may noticeably affect its quality (for instance, the image may become blurry or pixelated). Because of this, we recommend saving an extra copy of your document before compressing pictures. Also, be prepared to use the Undo command if you're dissatisfied with the results.

To compress a picture:

  1. Select the picture you want to compress, then navigate to the Format tab.
  2. Click the Compress Pictures command.
    compress pictures command
  3. A dialog box will appear. Check the box next to Delete cropped areas of pictures. You can also choose whether to apply the settings to this picture only or to all pictures in the document.
  4. Choose a Target output. If you are emailing your document, you may want to select Email, which produces the smallest file size.
  5. Click OK.
    compress pictures dialog box


  1. Open our practice document.
  2. Scroll to page 2 and select the picture of the sailboats.
  3. In the Format tab, change the style to Simple Frame, White.
  4. With the picture still selected, use Crop to Shape and crop to the Double Wave shape in the Stars and Banners category. Hint: The shape names will appear when you hover over them.
  5. Select the picture of the anchor.
  6. In the Format tab, use the Color drop-down menu to re-color the anchor to Gold, Accent color 2 Light.
  7. When you're finished, your page should look like this:
    Format Pictures Challenge