Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Resize Graphics Outside of Word.

Resize Graphics Outside of Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 4, 2017)

As mentioned in other issues of WordTips, Word has a feature that allows you to easily resize graphics to almost any size you want. While this can be easy to do, resizing graphics in this manner may not be the best approach to working with your graphics.

One WordTips subscriber reports the experience of their company when it comes to graphics. He works as an instructor and technical support staff in a company that produces a lot of reports. Many of the reports include lots of graphics: photos, drawings, charts, etc. Very often the employees would experience problems printing graphics. Every time a problem cropped up and the root cause was tracked down it had to do with graphics that were resized within Word. Even if the graphic was only resized a few percentage points, it could still cause problems.

Sometimes the printing problems could be solved by trying to print to a different printer or from a different computer that uses different printer drivers. Other times the problem could not be solved at all within Word. Regardless, solving the problem could take quite a bit of trial and error and therefore a lot of time.

When you insert a graphic in Word and then resize it, the full, large-scale graphic is still embedded within your document. This adds to the overall size of your document and means that the document may be slower or more difficult for Word to process.

Word is not a graphics program. (Duh!) It makes sense that specialized graphics programs would be more adept at resizing and cropping graphics than what you can get when you use Word. Therefore, you should consider resizing your graphics in a graphics program before placing them in a Word document. Doing so may result in a higher-quality graphic in your document, and it certainly will result in a lesser processing burden on Word.

If you are having problems printing graphics within Word, consider resizing and processing the graphics outside of Word completely using a program such as Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop. Chances are good that you can solve your problems sooner than you think.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1549) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Resize Graphics Outside of Word.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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