|On a PC, the free graphics package is
Does "a picture paint a thousand words"?
Sometimes you spend so long searching through the clip art
installed on your computer that you could have written the thousand
words! Pictures should provide information that you cannot show in
words - for example, a diagram to explain digestion or a detail
from a famous painting.
- You can find images of almost anything
on the world wide web. You cannot publish them (because someone
else owns the copyright) but you may use them in your schoolwork.
See our guide
to copyright for more information. If you use your right mouse
button and click on a picture, you can choose where to save the
image. On a Mac, drag the picture to your desktop.
- You can create your own images in many
ways. The most obvious are taking photographs with a digital camera
or scanning a picture or photo you already have. You can use a
painting package (such as Paint on a PC) to create diagrams.
- You can copy a screenshot to the
clipboard or hard drive with special keys. On a PC PrintScrn copies
the entire screen, while Alt-PrintScrn only copies the active
window. You can then paste this into a picture editing package. On
a Mac use Command-Shift-3 to copy the entire screen, or
Command-Shift-4 to copy an area you select. (To copy just the
active window, press Command-Shift-4 with Caps Lock on and select
the window.) A picture is saved directly onto your hard drive (the
Mac icon on desktop) as Picture 1.
There is a huge range of image editing
software available - such as Paintshop Pro or GraphicConverter.
Use this software to crop pictures, to
change the colours and create particular effects, such as
distorting shapes or making a photo look like a poster. Improve the
appearance of scanned photographs by changing contrast or
brightness. Most importantly, you can change from one picture file
format to another. Bitmaps (.bmp) may be useful for things you will
print, but the files are very big. JPEG (.jpg) files are smaller
and more convenient, but if you increase them in size, they may
lose quality. JPEG files and (for certain images) Graphics
Interchange Format (.gif) files are the only image files that you
can be sure will display on a web browser.
Make sure your pictures look right in
the document where you place them. You might want to crop or resize
them so that they are all the same width. If you have a border,
make it the same for all pictures - or don't have a border. Don't
place the image at the top or bottom of a page, like an
afterthought - find an appropriate place in your text.
To put a picture in a Word document, use
the Insert menu, choose Picture, then From File..., and browse to
the file you want; alternatively copy an image to the clipboard and
paste it onto the page. Use the Print Layout view to see how the
picture will appear. You can also put sound or other multimedia
files on a page that people will read on a computer - but you need
to make sure they have the means to hear it (speakers or