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How To: Edit photos Using Microsoft Office Picture Manager

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Written by veryatlantic‚ĄĘ   

How To: Edit photos using Microsoft Office Picture Manager.

Picture Manager is a handy application to do a quick edit or upgrade to photos, with a surprising number of great features and some annoyances.  All are described below, but don't overlook this "free" Microsoft product that performs many basic functions found on outrageously expensive photo editing software.  (Picture Manager is "free" only in that it is included when you purchase Microsoft Office.)

Step-by-step instructions:

1.  Organize the photos you want to edit into their own folder.  You can save time by always downloading your camera photos to the same folder.  Picture Manager works best on organized batches of photos.  Your folder should look something like this:

photo folder

2.  Two ways to open Picture Manager are Start>All Programs>Microsoft Office>Microsoft Office Tools>Microsoft Picture Manager, or by a RIGHT-CLICK on any photo in the folder (see step 1).  The RIGHT-CLICK displays a menu, choose "Open With" and then choose "Microsoft Office Picture Manager".

opening a picture

3. Picture Manager can open in one of three display modes:  thumbnail, filmstrip and single picture.  I use thumbnail since one of the first operations I use is "Auto Correct".  This handy button corrects saturation and hue, and I find it amazingly accurate enough to use nearly every time.  Try it, the effects are reversible until you click "Save".

microsoft picture manager

4.  By far, the most use you'll get is from the drop menu under the "Picture" tab.  Some of these work as expected, others produce truly novel effects, including many colored filters.  Here is the menu:

cropping a photo

5. The Picture Menu items have the following properties.

Auto Correct:  same as the Auto Correct icon, this "corrects" the color, but gives no other options and does not ask for confirmation.  Use it, but be careful.

Brightness and Contrast:  handy if you need it, includes an "Auto Brightness" button that seems to work identically to the "Auto Correct".  Has an interesting "Midtone" adjustment that can work wonders.

Color:  again, an "Enhance Color" that works like "Auto Correct".  While I don't usually care for color settings, play around with these.  They don't work like all the others and you can get some very novel effects ranging from moonlight to black and white.

Crop:  the best crop I have ever seen in a Windows product.  You can freehand, or set it to preserve your aspect ratio.  Gets rid of white space often left by other windows photo edits, I won't mention any names.  Names like "Paint".

Rotate Flip: Seems quaint, but find the "By degree" button and experiment.  See if you can figure out how I once "animated" a movie banner using just this simple feature.

Red Eye Removal:  included here to let you know what MicroSoft thinks of your photography skills.  Use the cross-hairs to select and edit all three of your eyes in your pirate pictures..

Re-size:  this function can save your bacon.  When all else fails, this will force you photos to conform to the size options you want.  My favorite is the "E-mail-Large", which practically guarantees a fast download at the receiving end.

Compress Picture:  I don't like to compress jpegs (since they are already compressed) but this feature is great to standardize picture sizes on your web page without having to fiddle with CSS or frames.

The only other useful command is Rename under the Edit Menu, but it is finicky.  It will rename photo groups you highlight with a variety of logical renaming options.  Be careful, for the name changes do NOT take effect until you locate and click on the "Okay" button AND the names change onscreen only--the underlying files are NOT renamed unless you do a "Save All".  It would not the first dumb thing MicroSoft has ever done.


Be extra careful when using the "delete" feature.  When a global effect has been applied to a group of photos, Picture Manager does NOT automatically unselect the group afterward.  If you see a photo in the group you don't like, POW!  Unless you unselected the group, they are gone (fortunately to the recycle bin).  Duh, Microsoft.

The other quirk in Picture Manager is that whatever effects you apply on screen do NOT take effect until you SAVE the changes.  This includes renaming the files.  If you do a lot of work and close the application, all your changes are lost.  On the other hand, it is far too easy to irreversibly overwrite original photos.  Thus, I tend to use "Save As" a lot.

A  major annoyance is the Crop, Re-size, Compress and Rename functions have an "Okay" button at lower screen right that must be used to activate your changes.  Pressing "Enter" has been disabled for these modes, and you cannot use the standard file "rename" (it appears to work but will ask you to SAVE before accepting the change).

Other than that, the program is worth taking a look at for when you need some quick and dirty changes.

Source: Tales From The Trailer Court‚ĄĘ .


Disclaimer: veryatlantic‚ĄĘ is a non-technical source for advice and entertainment and is not responsible for any damages under any theory. All posts sacrifice technical accuracy for user-friendliness. If unsure, get help. Please feedback errors for correction.

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