The Quick and Easy Guide to
Using Graphics in Documents
Most writers want to integrate graphics into their documents
at times. A graphic can clarify, demonstrate or explain the text.
A graphic also involves the reader and breaks up the monotony of long,
dense text. Finally, a good graphic just looks nice. While
most writers are not artists or designers, it is fairly easy to find or
make simple graphics for documents. Using graphics correctly is really
There are a number of places (real and virtual) where you can find ready-made
graphics. These include:
Graphic Libraries - In- house, Internet, Clip Art Services - Fee
Based , Photo/Art Services- Fee Based
Clip Art Books - Available in bookstores, artstores and libraries
Internet - Most graphics seen on any web page may be copied and
saved. (See Copying
a Web Image.) Remember that not all graphics
you see on the Internet are copyright free. While you usually can
copy and use graphics for personal or instructional use, you may not use
any graphic for commercial use without written permission.
You may not be able to find the graphic you need. You have several
options for creating a visual:
Edit an Existing Graphic - Images come in different formats.
Bitmaps (.bmp) may be opened in Paint,
a small graphics program that comes with Windows. Other formats need
a more advanced tool, like Paint Shop Pro, Kodak Imaging or Photoshop,
to edit. There are freeware and shareware tools available to download
and install at no cost. (See Geo's
Web Corner - Tools of the Trade.) All graphics to be used in
web pages should be converted to .gif or .jpg formats.
Capture a Screen Image - You may make a copy
of the images on your computer screen without any special tools.
This is called a "screen capture" or "screen shot". (For directions
on how to do this, go to Screenshots:
Capturing Images on Your Computer.)
Create a Graphic - Sometimes, you will need
to create a graphic from scratch. You can use Paint,
a simple graphics program that comes with Windows, to create an image.
This program is found in the Start Menu, under "Programs", "Accessories".
You may want to use a more sophisticated program like Paint Shop Pro or
Photoshop. (For tutorials on these tools, go to On-line
Tutorials for MS Office, Paintbrush, and Other Applications.)
There is a right way and wrong way to use graphics. Partly, this
correct form is a traditional style used in publishing. But this
style also makes it easier for readers to use graphics to clarify the text.
(See Tips for Using Visuals
Written By: George Knox © 2002