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Often you will only want to use part of an image. Getting rid of the bits that you don’t want is called cropping. There is a crop button on the Word toolbar but this doesn’t actually discard the unwanted parts – indeed you can even use this button to add a border to an image so making it even bigger – so cropping in Word will not on its own reduce the file size. It is a useful way to make small adjustments to an image in a document, however, and is worth looking at.

To illustrate the Word toolbar process, one of the illustrations used elsewhere in this project has been used as an example.

You may just want to use the flower part and could use the Crop button on the Picture toolbar to do this

Click on the picture – the selection handles will appear. If the Picture toolbar does not also appear, right click on the picture and select Show Picture toolbar. Click on the Crop button.

You can remove parts of the picture by then moving the mouse over any selection handle. When it is in the right position the mouse cursor will change to a small bar. Then hold the left mouse button down and drag the bar in to remove part of the picture (or out to add a border or to reveal a previously cropped part). As you move the bar a dotted line will indicate where you are cutting to.

Repeat the operation on each side (using the middle handles).

You should be left with just the section you wish to display. This is not the best way to crop an image and is only really suitable for use in a Word document. Only use it for an image that is already a smallish file.

Use an image editor to make adjustments wherever you can and save the amended file with a different name. This amended image can then be used in a wide range of applications and, as you will be able to control the dimensions, quality and file size of the image which is particularly important for internet use. Remember too that Word documents are often the files offered for people to download so even if they do not appear on-line, anyone downloading your files containing pictures will appreciate the faster download time that properly adjusted images will provide.

Because every image editor has a different user interface it is not possible here to illustrate the cropping process but most popular programs offer straightforward tools for this common process. Just remember that you need to check the physical size of your image as it will appear where you want it (on screen or in print) and reduce the quality of the image if necessary to reduce further the file size.

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page updated by Andrew Hill, Dunstable College 24 July, 2006