When you use the Office 2010 applications you'll know you can images, change size, position and also alter brightness and contrast but did you know that it has a host of additional photo editing features right from within the application. This article summarises how to use the new photo editing features in Word 2010, and these features work in the same way in Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook 2010.

How to Access Image Editing Features

With an existing or new file open in Word 2010, first of all, ensure you are not in compatibility mode, because if you are, then not all image editing features are available. So in normal mode, choose the insert tab, click the picture button, then navigate to find the required picture and insert it into the Word document. Ensure the picture is selected, and you'll see the additional tab format at the top of the screen. Select this tab to access all the picture editing features.

The Adjust Commands Group

At the far left of the adjust commands group you'll find the background removal button. This is perhaps the best new photo editing tool in Office 2010. The new background removal button can auto detect the content in the image and completely remove the background, giving you a plain white background to blend into your Word document.

To use this, ensure the image is still selected and then click on the remove background. The effectiveness of this tool does depend on image content and consistency of background but it can be surprisingly effective. You can also adjust within the tool if the background removal has wrongly removed parts of the image. If you apply tight text wrapping to the resulting image with the background removed, the Word text will flow closely around the actual image.

The adjust commands group also contains some commands you may have used in previous Office versions, such as brightness, contrast, recolour and compress picture, but in Office 2010 all these features more options in Office 2010 and all have auto preview. So with an image selected, you can choose, for example, Corrections command. The Corrections pop down offers a range of sharpness, brightness and contrast settings to preview and select. What's also impressive is that if you apply an option from one command, for example a colour effect, then if you click the pop down on a different command, the auto preview shows the image with the first option applied.

The Picture Styles Commands Group

The next group of commands are for picture styles. The pictures styles gallery contains nearly thirty preset styles which apply different combinations of picture frames, borders and shadows to create impressive surrounds for the image. Again you can hover over any still and auto preview the effects on the selected image. So by using Picture Styles you can quickly apply a professionally designed frame to the image.

At the right of the picture styles commands group you'll also find buttons to manually select picture borders and special effects. The picture border command lets you choose a border colour, line type and line thickness. The picture effects command lets you apply special effects such as shadow, bevel, glow, reflection and 3D rotation effects. The reflection effect can be particularly effective when applied to an image containing text.

Alternatively you can also access picture effects features by right clicking the image and choosing format picture. In the format picture panel you can select an effect from the left hand list, for example shadow, or reflection, then make adjustments in the right hand part of the panel using sliders and click OK to apply. These sliders give you more adjustment settings than available in the picture effects pop down auto previews.

Hopefully this article has whetted your appetite for exploring the new photo editing features in Office 2010. If you're interested in learning more, a really effective way of boosting your skills is by attending a training course. That way you can learn a great deal in a friendly hands-on environment.