I love to find the right picture to bring an idea to life, or sometimes the picture itself inspires a new direction to go in. This year I got my hands on my first digital SLR camera and started making more frequent trips to popular photo sharing services and digital libraries – all in search of great ways to add strong visuals to personal projects, and to the work I do every day as part of the graphics team for the Mac Business Unit. We’re the team that builds the engine for shapes, diagrams, charting, and pictures throughout Office for Mac. Underneath, we share the same graphics engine with Windows Office.
A picture speaks a thousand words, but sometimes the picture needs a helping hand to realize its full potential. With Office for Mac 2011, we’re including a powerful set of photo editing tools to help you quickly get your pictures looking great throughout Word documents, PowerPoint slides, and Excel worksheets. Here’s a look at some of the features we designed to make the most of your favorite photos:
If you’ve imported your digital photos into iPhoto, you can access your photo libraries from Office for Mac 2011’s Media Browser, or simply insert an image from file if you’ve stored it somewhere else. At any time, double-click on the photo to show the Format Picture tab in the ribbon, where you can access the new photo editing tools.
From left to right, you will find tools based on a workflow of making photo corrections, special effects and filters, removing unwanted parts of the photo, and choosing a framed look for the picture or other final formatting.
As most of us have experienced, a photo imported from a digital camera may need adjustments to look just right, including changes in brightness, contrast, sharpness, or coloring. The “Adjust” and “Color” menus in the Format Picture ribbon will show you thumbnail previews of the selected picture, and you can quickly choose one of the most common settings by clicking one of the thumbnails. With these controls, you can help address overexposure, suboptimal lighting conditions and other common problems.
The “Filters” menu includes 22 special effects that you can use to stylize a picture, including a watercolor painting or a pencil sketch effect. You can use the Crop mode to cut off edges of the image in order to drive to the main point within the picture. Even more powerful for establishing the focus of your story, the Remove Background tool lets you remove specific portions of the picture by intelligently finding background regions and hiding them, revealing just the foreground person, place, or thing that you want to show. You can also draw on the picture to add regions to the removed area, or draw a line across an object to add it to the foreground.
To finalize your picture, add a frame effect or a colored border, a reflection or shadow, and position the picture in your document. In a few steps, you can use Office 2011 to bring a picture to life to tell a much more vibrant, compelling story — all 1,000 words of it!
So, what are my editing tools of choice? They range from the most common — getting brightness and contrast just right — to more artistic formatting with the Cutout filter and precise Remove Background tool. These advanced options allow me to do something that wasn’t possible before without separate photo software: remove any distraction in a photo from the story I want to tell.
By now, we hope you’re excited to start editing all of your favorite photos using Office 2011. We’ve made several enhancements to provide new ways to work with digital images in Office for Mac and you can see it in action in our recent video blog with the MacBU’s Kurt Schmucker.