Don’t Distort Your Image

Oct 2, 2012 | Career Development

Have you ever seen a photo or a graphic in a document that looked distorted?  It may be tolerable when it’s a simple piece of clipart, but when it’s someone’s image, it can be positively awful. It not only makes the person in the image look bad, but it reflects poorly on you as the document editor.  Here’s how to avoid distorting images – yours and theirs:


It is especially important when working with photos of people to maintain the right proportions of the original photo.  To do this, select the image by clicking on it once A sizing box will appear on the corners in most Microsoft Office programs (see Figure A).  Hold down the “shift” key while you drag a corner of the sizing box to the new size you want.  Doing so will guarantee that the image stays proportionate, no matter which direction you move the mouse.

Scaling an image down to a smaller size than the original usually works fine, but use consideration if you are scaling an image up to a larger size. You must start with a high-resolution image or it will become pixilated and fuzzy when it is enlarged. Most photos on the Web have been optimized for quick loading to a website, which makes them low- resolution images. Of course, make sure you have permission to use photos if you find them on the Web.


If you only want part of the photo, you can crop the photo.  To do this in Microsoft Office programs, right-click on any toolbar and select the Picture toolbar.  Then select the cropping icon that looks like this: .  With your image selected, click on the cropping icon and a sizing box will appear on the corners (see Figure A) or lines will appear (see Figure B) depending on how the image is inserted into the document. Using your cursor, move the edges of the photo or image to the desired area, cropping out areas you do not want.  When you’re done, click on the cropping icon on the toolbar to click off of the picture completely (see Figure C) to set the new dimensions.

These cropping and resizing tips work in other graphic editing software packages.  Keep your images proportionate  with these simple tips.

© 2012 by McMurray

Originally appeared in The Office Professional Newsletter in June 2012. Reprinted with permission.

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