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Enhance Message Content in Microsoft Outlook 2010

Embedding and Modifying Images

E-mail is a means of communicating information to other people, and, as the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Using Outlook 2010, you can communicate visual information in the following ways:

  • Share photographs with other people by attaching them to or embedding them in messages.

  • Share information from Web sites, documents, and other visual presentations by capturing pictures of things on your screen using a handy tool that is new in Office 2010, and then inserting those screen clippings in your message.

  • Explain complicated processes and other business information by creating SmartArt graphics within messages or by embedding SmartArt graphics that you create in other Office 2010 programs.

  • Communicate statistical information by creating a chart within a message.

  • Decorate message content by inserting Clip Art images.

You can insert all these types of images from the Illustrations group on the Insert tab into the content pane of an e-mail message, calendar item, or task; or into the Notes pane of a contact record. (You can’t insert an image into a note.)

Inserting Pictures

The process of embedding a picture in a message or other Outlook item is straightforward. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Position the cursor in the content pane or notes pane where you want the picture to appear.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Picture button.

    The Insert Picture dialog box opens, displaying the contents of your Pictures library.

  3. In the Insert Picture dialog box, browse to the folder containing the picture you want to insert.

  4. Click the picture to select it, and then click Insert.

After inserting a picture, you can modify the picture and control the flow of text around it by using the commands on the Format contextual tab that appears when the picture is selected.

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Picture formatting options within an Outlook e-mail message.

Inserting Clip Art and Shapes

Clip Art is free media—illustrations, photographs, videos, and audio files—that you can insert into any Office document. A collection of Clip Art is installed on your computer and available whether you are working online or offline. Additional Clip Art is available from the Microsoft Office Web site at office.microsoft.com.

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After inserting a Clip Art image, you can modify the image and control the flow of text around it.

To locate and insert a Clip Art image, follow these steps:

  1. Position the cursor in the content pane or Notes pane where you want the image to appear.

  2. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Clip Art button.

    The Clip Art task pane opens on the right side of the Outlook item window.

  3. In the Search box, enter one or more keywords describing the image you want to locate.

  4. In the Results Should Be list, clear the check boxes of any media file types you don’t want to search for.

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    Removing unwanted media types from the search makes it easier to review the results.

  5. Click Go.

  6. Scroll through the search results until you locate the image you want to insert.

  7. Point to any image to display a ScreenTip with information about the file; click the vertical bar that appears on the right side of the image to display a menu of commands.

    From the menu, you have several options for working with the selected image.

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    You can display more information about each image by clicking Preview/Properties on the menu.

  8. On the menu, click Insert.

In addition to Clip Art, you can insert many types of shapes into the content pane of an Outlook item. To insert a shape, follow these steps:

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Shapes button.

  2. In the Shapes gallery, click the shape you want to insert.

  3. In the content pane, drag to draw the shape at the size you want.

Available shapes include lines and simple arrows, geometric shapes, common symbols, block arrows, mathematical operators, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and more.

After inserting a shape, you can change its outline and fill colors and modify its appearance in many ways by using the commands available on the Drawing Tools - Format contextual tab.

Capturing Screen Images

The Screenshot and Screen Clipping tools are new features of Outlook 2010 that you can use to easily capture images of either an entire window that’s open on your screen or a specific area of the screen that you select.

To capture and insert a screen image, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the window you want to capture is not minimized or, if you plan to capture only a portion of a window, that it’s visible on the screen.

  2. In the Outlook item window, position the cursor in the content pane or Notes pane where you want the image to appear.

  3. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Screenshot button.

    The Available Windows gallery displays the currently open (non-minimized) windows.

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    You can capture an image of any open window by clicking it in the Available Windows gallery.

  4. To insert an image of an entire open window into the Outlook item, click its icon in the Available Windows gallery.

  5. To capture an image of a portion of the content that’s visible on your screen, click Screen Clipping.

    If you click Screen Clipping, the active Outlook item is minimized to the Windows Taskbar so that the content behind it is visible. White shading covers the desktop, and the Screen Clipping tool (which at this point looks like a large plus sign) appears.

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    The white shading indicates the portion of the desktop that’s not being captured by the Screen Clipping tool.

  6. Position the Screen Clipping tool in the upper-left corner of the area you want to capture. Press and hold the mouse button, and then drag to encompass the capture area.

    The Screen Clipping tool makes a window in the shaded area to indicate the intended capture area. You can change the capture area until you release the mouse button.

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    The area that will be captured is unshaded and boxed.

  7. When the entire area you want to capture is encompassed in the Screen Clipping box, release the mouse button.

    The Outlook item is restored from the taskbar and the captured image appears in the content pane.

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You can format and modify screen clippings in the same ways that you can pictures.

Modifying Images

Using functionality that is new in Office 2010, you can modify and enhance images directly in the item window. From the new Picture Tools contextual tabs that appear when you select an image, you can do things like:

  • Crop or remove background elements from an image.

  • Sharpen or soften the image content.

  • Colorize the image and control color saturation and tone.

  • Apply artistic effects to make an image look as though it’s rendered in pencil, chalk, marker, or paint, or has a pattern applied to it.

  • Add shadows, reflections, and glowing or soft edges.

  • Apply three-dimensional effects.

Certain effects can be applied to only specific types of files. For example, you can apply artistic effects to a photograph that’s saved in .jpg format (a common format for digital photos) but not to an illustration that’s saved in .wmf format (a common format for Clip Art illustrations).

In this exercise, you’ll insert a photograph in an e-mail message and then use some of the new Picture Tools commands to modify the photo before sending it.

  1. Maximize the message window.

  2. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab.

    While the cursor is in the To field, only the commands in the Include group are available.

  3. Click to position the cursor in the content pane.

    The commands in the Tables, Illustrations, Links, Text, and Symbols groups become available.

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    Commands on the Insert tab are available only when the cursor is located in a text box, such as the content pane or notes pane, into which you can insert content.

  4. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123474.jpg On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Picture button.

    The Insert Picture dialog box opens, displaying the Pictures library or the previous location you browsed to in the current computing session.

  5. Navigate to the Chapter10 practice file folder, click the Lighthouse photo, and then click Insert.

    The photo appears in the e-mail message content pane, and the Picture Tools - Format contextual tab becomes active. Because the image is so large, only the upper-left corner of the photo is visible in the content pane.

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    External images are inserted at their original sizes; the dimensions of the selected image are shown in the Size group on the Insert tab.

  6. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123548.jpg On the Format tab, in the Size group, click and hold the down arrow in the Shape Height box until the shape height is 4“.

    The shape’s width decreases proportionally with the shape’s height so that the photo maintains its aspect ratio.

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    You can change the size of a graphic by setting specific dimensions or by dragging its resizing handles.

  7. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123552.jpg In the Adjust group, click the Remove Background button.

    Purple shading obscures all but selected areas of the photo. Resizing handles surround an area selector in the center of the photo. The Picture Tools - Background Removal contextual tab appears on the ribbon.

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    The Background Removal tool makes its best attempt at identifying background areas in the photo; you can refine the selection to fit your needs.

  8. Drag the upper-left resizing handle to the left edge of the photo, keeping it just above the top of the lighthouse. Then drag the lower-right resizing handle to the lower-right corner of the photo.

    The purple shading now covers only part of the sky.

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    Resizing the area selector is one way of controlling the area marked for removal.

  9. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123558.jpg On the Background Removal tab, in the Refine group, click the Mark Areas to Remove button. Then move the cursor back to the photo.

    The cursor shape changes from an arrow to a pencil.

  10. Click the area of sky that remains visible just below the purple screen.

    After a moment, a marker appears in the location you clicked, and the purple screen extends to cover the area defined by your clicks.

  11. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1122718.jpg Click two more times (or as necessary) to shade the entire sky. If a click results in an unintended effect, click the Undo button on the Quick Access Toolbar to remove the effect, and then try again.

    Each click affects the area that resembles the marker location.

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    Removal markers are labeled with minus signs.

  12. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123564.jpg On the Background Removal tab, in the Close group, click the Keep Changes button.

    The purple-shaded area is removed from the photo, leaving only a white background. The Background Removal contextual tab disappears from the ribbon and the Format contextual tab becomes active again.

  13. Click in the content pane, away from the photo, to see the full effect of removing the background from the photo.

    The lighthouse and landscape details are clearly outlined as though the photo had been carefully trimmed with scissors.

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    A three-dimensional effect can be achieved by removing the background from a picture.

  14. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123568.jpg Click the photo to select it and activate the Format contextual tab. On the Format tab, in the Size group, click the Crop arrow (not the button), and then click Aspect Ratio.

    A menu of width-to-height ratios opens.

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    You can crop a graphic to a precise aspect ratio.

  15. On the Aspect Ratio menu, click 1:1.

    A selection area appears on the photo.

  16. Drag the photo to the right within the square selection area so that the left edge of the photo is aligned with the left edge of the square.

  17. Press and hold the Shift key, and then drag the lower-right crop handle up and to the left until the square selection area encompasses the lighthouse, trees, and only a bit of rock. Release the mouse button first, and then the Shift key.

    The resulting selection is approximately three inches square. The area of the photo outside of the selection is depicted in grayscale rather than in color.

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    You can crop a picture to show only the portion you want.

  18. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123574.jpg In the Size group, click the Crop button.

    The photo is cropped to the square shape.

  19. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1122858.jpgIn the Picture Styles gallery, click the More button.

    The Picture Styles gallery expands.

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    You can apply predefined sets of formatting to pictures to achieve a professional effect.

  20. In the Picture Styles gallery, point to several of the icons to see their names and the effect of applying that style to the selected photo. Then click the Rounded Diagonal Corner, White style (in the fourth column of the third row).

    A combination of shapes and shadows is applied to the photo.

  21. httpatomoreillycomsourcemspimages1123578.jpgWith the photo still selected, click the Artistic Effects button in the Adjust group.

    The Artistic Effects gallery expands.

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    You can choose from a wide range of effects.

  22. In the Artistic Effects gallery, point to several of the icons to see their names and the effect of applying that style to the selected photo. Then click the Mosaic Bubbles effect (in the fourth column of the third row).

  23. Click in the content pane away from the photo to see the full effect.

    The artistic effect causes the photo to more closely resemble a painting than a photograph.

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    An artistic effect.

  24. In the message header, enter your e-mail address in the To box and enter SBS Picture Tools in the Subject box. Then send the message.

  25. When the message arrives in your Inbox, note that you can select and copy the embedded picture in the Reading Pane or in the open message window for use in other documents.