Formatting Tips: Images in Microsoft Word

Formatting Tips from Dog-ear Book Design

In this series, we explore common techniques for formatting manuscripts in Microsoft Word for print and e-book conversion.


When using Microsoft Word to format for e-book conversion, working with images in Microsoft Word is not difficult, but there’s some things you need to know.

How to properly place images in Microsoft Word
Images in Microsoft Word need to be placed ‘in-line’ with the text, meaning that the image stays with the text when it reflows. If the image is not placed in-line with the text then the converter software may move the image to the end of the text, typically at the end of a chapter.

The best way to ensure that your image is placed inline with the text is to use Insert > Photo > Picture from File

Cutting and pasting from the clipboard may or may not place the image in-line. You can check by attempting to move the image by clicking on it and dragging while the mouse button is depressed. If the image moves, it is not placed in-line and needs to be fixed before uploading your MS Word file for conversion.

Apply center justification to the image or apply a style with a style that has center justification.

Editing images in Microsoft Word
If you crop, resize or otherwise edit images in Microsoft Word, keep in mind that you may need to redo these edits in an image editing program and re-insert the images before uploading the file for conversion. Not all conversion software will recognize edits made to images within MS Word.

If you are working with newer versions of MS Word (I use Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac), you can right-click on the edited image, and save the edits to a new file using the Save As Picture function. Then re-insert the new image. A great shortcut.

Creating images in Microsoft Word
If you use Smart Art in MS Word to create charts, etc. for your e-book, use the Save As Picture function to save your art as a JPG or PNG file and replace in your file using the steps above.

Tip: Using Word Art to create stylized text is not recommended. In MS Word 2011 for Mac, there is no way to have the software save this as a JPG or PNG file. If you are comfortable, you can try taking a screen shot of the artwork created, using a graphics program to crop the image and convert it to JPG or PNG format.

If you are working with newer versions of MS Word (I use Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac), you can right-click on the edited image, and save the edits to a new file using the Save As Picture function. Then re-insert the new image. A great shortcut.

File types and file naming
Microsoft Word is more versatile with image formats than most conversion programs. Best to stick with JPG for images and PNG for text. Make sure that the files you insert are JPG or PNG files to begin with. If you have other formats, open them in an image editor and resave them to JPG or PNG format before you insert them.

Because the converter is going to turn your MS Word file into XHTML code, it’s a good idea to make sure none of your file names have spaces, including the file names of your images. Remove spaces altogether or use underscore characters instead. This is not necessary for all converter programs, but it’s good habit to get into.

Tip: In the past I have noticed issues with PNG files not displaying after conversion. It’s always a good idea to check your converted file. If you find your PNG files are not displaying, convert them to JPG and reinsert the images.

Some other things to keep in mind
Converters (and current reflowable ebook formats for that matter) do not like text appearing over top of images. Converters also do not like text boxes. If text appearing over top of an image is crucial to your ebook design, then add the text in the image file with an image editing program. Just keep in mind that the text added is no longer considered text, so the text now added to your image will not scale with the rest of your text.

I hope you found this helps you in prepping your manuscript for e-book conversion.

Have a question or a tip? Have another formatting question you would like to see covered here? Don’t be shy. Leave a comment below, ’cause I love comments!

Read More

Vector images – a primer for authors

Thanks for stopping by. I’m taking a closer look at images and what you need to know about them when working on your own cover or with a designer.
If you missed the blog post all about bitmap images (i.e. photos), you can read it here.


Basic types

There are 2 basic types of digital images…bitmap and vector.


Bitmap images

Bitmap images are made up of pixels within a grid structure. Photographs are good examples of bitmap images.

Early morning in Millview

Taken in Millview, PEI on August 18, 2013.
Copyright (c) 2013 Valerie Bellamy.

Vector images

Vector images are made up of curves, points, lines and other geometric elements. Logos are typically built as vector images.

vector artwork floral background

Vector artwork background from graphicstock.com

The curves, points and other elements that make up vector images are based on mathematical equations. Because the files are based on mathematical equations, the equations can be recalculated so the vector image can be scaled (made larger) with no loss in quality. The image is the same quality whether it’s small (like a one inch square) or it’s been blown up very large (like on a billboard).


Vector images in detail

Let’s have a closer look at the floral illustration example used above. Each flower is made of of shapes, like this one flower I have selected (shown with a bright blue outline).

close up vector artwork view

A close up view of the vector artwork background from graphicstock.com.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Use the back button to return to this post.

Once I remove the other flowers and background, it’s clearer to see.

Vector flower artwork close up

A close up view of two shapes that make up a vector flower.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Use the back button to return to this post.

This particular flower is made up of two shapes…a yellow circle and an orange complex shape. Both are made up of points and curves, as shown on the orange petals. These curves and points are editable, meaning I can change the shape. I can also change colors very quickly, add gradients and outlines. Actually, color and basic feature changes to vector files are very simple and quick to do.

Click on the image to enlarge. Use the back button to return to this post.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Use the back button to return to this post.




Resizing vector files

Vector files are called ‘scalable’ or ‘resolution independent’. We can enlarge a vector file without loss in quality that can happen with bitmap images. Here’s a up-close look at the circle, at size on the right and enlarged (to approx. 4 times size) on the left. The curve is smooth on both circles.

A close up view at an enlarged vector file compared to the original size. Click on the image to enlarge. Use the back button to return to this post.

A close up view at an enlarged vector file compared to the original size.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Use the back button to return to this post.




Output

When it comes to artwork that needs to adapt to many sizes, vector is great. And, you can easily make vector artwork into special ink colors (you may hear these called Pantone colors). Vector images will also print much clearer than the same image saved as a bitmap at print resolution, due to the way printers interpret both types of files. This difference is most notable when dealing with text. Here’s a fabulous demonstration of this from printhandbook.com.
That’s why designer build logos as vector files.

Tip: if you are looking to get promotional items printed, like pens, travel mugs, embroidery on clothing etc., most printers will request, and some can only work with, vector artwork. Let your designer know early if you plan to do these.

Did you know: modern font formats (like postscript, open type and true type) are based on character drawings saved in vector formats?


File types

Vector files come in many different file types, but the most common for graphic design are AI (Adobe Illustrator), CDR (Corel Draw) and EPS (encapsulated postscript). Sometimes you will see vector artwork as a PDF, but PDF files are not necessarily vector files, and PDF can also support bitmap images. SVG (scalable vector graphics) for web use is becoming more common. If you work with CAD or 3D modelling, you’ll see different vector formats.



Vector files aren’t perfect. Most ordinary software (like Microsoft Word) can’t use them. Photo realistic drawings are possible in vector files, but are very time consuming and require great skill. It is possible to create vector files that are too complicated and cannot be printed or rendered to a bitmap file (converted to pixels) properly. Preparing vector files properly for scaling requires some specialized knowledge, like how to treat outlines (or strokes, as Illustrator calls them) on a shape.

I hope this clears up the basic images types and why/how they are used. Have a question? Something not clear? Let me know. Post a comment below.



Is there a topic you have been meaning to research and just haven’t got the time? Comment below or send me an email…let me know what you want to know. I’ll do the research for you and write about it in a future blog post.

Read More