When I worked at a local video store I would often make posters to advertise various promotions using the Drawing toolbar in Microsoft Word. These were fairly basic graphics but they served a purpose. One such poster attracted the attention of my youngest son who asked me to show him how I created these drawing objects. I showed him how to transform a blank page into an amusing full-size drawing object in no time at all.

First of all I pulled out a circle on the page. At this stage the size of the circle was not important; I just kept it a comfortable size to work with. Then I pulled out another, smaller circle which I positioned in the centre of the original one. I highlighted this inner circle and filled it black. I made a third, even smaller circle, which I positioned on the inside edge of the black circle in the north-east compass point position. This is a basic cartoon eye, complete with white spot of reflection.

To make the eye an individual object rather than three separate ones, I held down the Shift key and selected all three circles. Going to Draw/Group I converted the eyeball into a drawing object that could be resized and moved as a single unit. I highlighted the eye and copied and pasted to make a pair, which I positioned side by side. I pulled out a small ellipse for a nose, which I slid into position under the eyes.

To make a mouth I went into AutoShapes/Basic Shapes and selected the crescent. This appeared upright on the page so I used the rotate tool to take it through ninety degrees and make a crude smile. I positioned this under the nose and then grouped all the objects together to keep the elements of my face in position.

The next stage was to make the head - a simple portrait ellipse pulled out onto the page. I highlighted this and selected No Fill so that I could see the face through it when positioning and sizing. When I had positioned the head satisfactorily around the features of the face, I selected the head ellipse and filled it Tan. This move caused the face to disappear beneath a solid block of colour but, with the head still selected, I clicked on Draw/Order/Send to Back. This brought the features of the face to the front and I highlighted and filled the nose in Tan as well, but left the smile white.

I went back to AutoShapes/Basic Shapes and selected the Block Arc shape. Again this needed to be rotated through ninety degrees, and after I'd done this I resized it to make a basic ear shape. I filled this Tan and positioned it on the side of the head, resizing and repositioning until I was happy with it. I used the Send to Back function again so that only the curve of the ear was visible. Just as with the eyes I made an identical ear with Copy and Paste. There was another stage this time, however, as I wanted a mirror image for the opposite ear. I did this simply by selecting my new ear and going to Draw/Rotate or Flip/Flip Horizontal. I positioned the flipped ear as I had with the first one and used Send to Back to hide the unwanted parts. Et voila a basic smiling face.

I added a flat cap to the face by pulling out a pair of ellipses, positioning a long narrow one at the front for a peak. Having grouped and resized these I positioned them on the head and that was the end of the drawing part of the operation.

Using the Shift key I grouped all the separate parts of the drawing and reduced the size of the head till it took up only a small area of the page. I copied this and pasted it so I had two identical heads, which I positioned side by side and then grouped together. I used copy and paste again to make four heads, which I lined up and grouped again. I created eight and then sixteen heads all in a row, and then grouped and copied the entire row and pasted it, lining it up below the original one. I continued pasting until I had filled the entire page with identical smiling cartoon faces.

Not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination but a good demonstration of how to use the drawing tools of Microsoft Word. My son soon picked up the techniques and he produced a very similar page with only minimal prompting from me. And during the creation of this image he familiarised himself with such functions as pulling out shapes, fill, group and ungroup, rotate, send to back, resize autoshapes and flip.

Obviously, as Word is not specifically a graphic design application it does not have the capabilities of a dedicated drawing program. It does though have a very useful and easy to use toolbar that can create drawing objects to add style and colour to your documents. There is a lot more to the drawing capabilities of Word than the cartoon faces I created, and learning how to use them will demonstrate that Word is far more than a computerised typewriter