You can use Powerpoint to edit your photographs with advanced features like transparency, masking, and custom borders. You can actually create some pretty stunning creations using your digital photos and auto shapes. The drawback to PowerPoint is that you are unable to accurately measure things. You can’t set the resolution or the actual graphic size by pixels.
Setting up Powerpoint for graphics editing
Under the view menu select grids and guides. Select snap objects to grid and select 1/16th as the grid size. Make sure the display grid on screen checkbox is checked. On the right side menu click the “blank” layout box (this gets the annoying text boxes out of your way)
Under the view menu select toolbars and make sure the drawing toolbar has a check mark next to it.
The drawing toolbar is where you will import your graphics, select AutoShapes, and select WordArt.
Importing Your Pictures
Once you have your screen setup you can import your first picture. To do this click on the insert picture icon from the drawing toolbar, select the picture file you want to import, and click OK. This will put your picture on the screen.
Click and drag the corner handles of the picture to resize it. Don’t use the center handles as this will distort the picture. Resize the picture to the size you want it. In the case of this tutorial I resized the picture to 2 grid blocks high by three grid blocks wide. In my version of Powerpoint, each grid box represents approximately 150 pixels, so my resized picture will be 300 pixels high by 450 pixels wide.
This is a good size for e-mail and the resulting file size will be much smaller than the original picture.
To Save The Resized Picture: Right click on your resized picture and click Save As Picture from the menu. For a finished picture that you want to e-mail or use on your website, chose the JPG format. This will result in the smallest file size. If you are going to bring your picture back into Powerpoint for use with AutoShapes, use the PNG or TIF format.
File Size Reduction: Resizing our picture from almost full screen to a 2×3 grid size resulted in a much reduced file size when saved as a JPG.
Original size: 600H x 900W = 256K
Reduced size: 300H x 450W = 14K
When you send pictures by e-mail, a small file size is a must for people who have dial up internet connections. Using Powerpoint is a quick way to modify your large digital camera pics for sending by e-mail.
Adding a Border To Our Picture: To add a quick border to our picture, right click on your resized picture and click Format Picture. In the box that opens select the Colors & Lines tab. In the Line section, set the color, line type, and size in the boxes. Click OK.
You can create some interesting borders easily with this tool. Experiment with different colors and line sizes until you get the look you want. By clicking on the color box and selecting patterned lines, you can create all sorts of creative borders. Experiment and have fun with this tool.
Importing Pictures Into AutoShapes: You can easily import your pictures into different AutoShapes as a background for a lot of creative effects. Using the grid decide how big you want your final picture to be.
In the example above I resized my original picture to two grid blocks high by three grid blocks wide. I saved the reduced size picture as a PNG file to my computer.
I then created an AutoShape from the AutoShape menu (On the Drawing Toolbar) that was the same size. I dragged the AutoShape to two grid blocks high by three grid blocks wide. Now I had a picture and a shape that were both the same size.
To import my saved picture as a background, I right clicked on my AutoShape and clicked Format Auto Shape from the menu. In the box that comes up, click on the color box under the fill section . Then click on the Fill Effects selection. In the resulting box, click on the Picture tab. In the picture dialog box click the Select Picture box and select the reduced picture you saved to your computer above. Make sure to click a checkmark into the Lock Picture Aspect Ratio checkbox. Click OK.
Your picture will now be the background of your AutoShape. In our picture above you can see some of the great graphics you can create using this technique. Make sure you save the resulting pictures as PNG files so they will have transparent edges. You can use these great graphics on web pages, word documents, and objects in your next Powerpoint presentation.
Here is a full size example showing the transparent edges and great quality of the PNG file. Have fun with this and experiment with different AutoShapes, colors, and border effects.