Artistic Effects for Images or Pictures in Microsoft Office

Artistic effects options in Microsoft Office 2013

Cindy Grigg

Artistic Effects can be applied to images or pictures in Microsoft Office, making them appear to have been created from various mediums, from paint strokes to plastic wrap.

This means you can make these image adjustments in-program, without needing a separate graphics manipulation program such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. Of course, you won't have the control offered by those specialty programs, but for many documents, these creative finishes might be all you need to add a bit of flair to your graphics.

Here is how to use this tool, as well as a quick tour of the possibilities.

  1. Open a Microsoft Office program such as Word or PowerPoint.
  2. Open a file with an image you would like to work with or go to Insert - Image or Clip Art, or select the image you would like to work with.
  3. Click the image until the Format menu shows up (you may need to right click then select Format from the contextual menu, depending on the program and version).
  4. Select Artistic Effects - Artistic Effects Options. This is where you can fine-tune image effects; however, we suggest you also become familiar with the following.
  5. You can opt to use the presets that show up before you click Artistic Effects Options. As you hover over each type of preset effect, you should be able to see how it will be applied to your image. These effects include effects that make the lines within your image seem as though they were created with a certain artistic tool or medium, such as Marker, Pencil, Line Drawing, Chalk, Paint Strokes, Light Screen, Watercolor Sponge, Film Grain, Glass, Cement, Texturizer, Crisscross Etching, Pastels, and even Plastic Wrap. You can also find effects that achieve a desired finish, such as Glow Diffused, Blur,  Mosaic Bubbles, Cutout, Photocopy, and Glow Edges. Pretty cool!


From time to time, you may run into images that just would not respond to this tool. If you are running into a lot of trouble with this, try testing another image to see if this could be the problem. This tool is available in Office 2010 or later, including Office for Mac.

For the Artistic Effect options mentioned above, here are a few guidelines. For each of these, you will see controls for changing the intensity and other aspects of the effect. Keep in mind that these affect the outside edge or border of your image.

  • Shadow - Adds shading at various possible angles to create an effect of depth.
  • Reflection - Creates a partial image reflection near your picture, with a few options for angles and degree of the reflection.
  • Glow - Creates a hazy colored effect surrounding your image, without cutting off the existing edge.
  • Soft Edges - Fades the existing edge of your image to the degree you specify.
  • 3-D Format - Creates an illusion of depth that goes beyond the shadow effect, depending on how you orient the effect. For example, you could make your image look like a button or key on a computer.
  • 3-D Rotation - Creates an illusion of perspective as well as depth. For example, you could make your image look like a book cover receding into the background at an angle.
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