Inserting Images into Documents

Skip to Part 1: Preparing Your Graphic
Skip to Part 2: Placing the Graphic Into the Word Processing / Page Layout File

Word processing and page layout programs allow you to combine text and graphics in a single file. While this is a relatively straightforward procedure, there are things you can do to keep your file sizes down and make your documents print faster (since files with large images or complex graphics can sometimes take a few minutes per page to print). There are also two different ways to place graphics — inline and static; which one you use may depend on circumstance. This help file with give you tips on how best to do each of these parts of the task.

Note: If you are inserting a musical notation example from a music notation app, follow the steps on our Preparing Music Notation page. If the musical example is already a PDF document or a scan, skip ahead to the instructions on this page for PDF files.

Part 1: Preparing Your Graphic

Most of the time, you will be inserting graphics in a raster format. Standard raster formats include JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and Bitmap (BMP). Files created with a digital camera (including your phone), with a scanner, or and/or in Photoshop are raster files.

If your file is in a vector format (e.g., a drawing created in an illustration program like Illustrator), or if you have an Adobe Acrobat/PDF file (which could contain vector and/or raster information), you will follow a slightly different procedure to ensure that image quality is preserved.

Raster Images (JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, PSD)

We want to keep image resolution high enough to print with good quality without making our files balloon in size and make them slower to print. The best settings for each image are determined by two factors: the type of image and the printer we will be using. Here are the three type of images you might use:

  • Line Art (a.k.a. Bitmap, Black & White): images that are black and white — no grey — such as plain text and pen drawings.
  • Greyscale (a.k.a. B&W Photo, 8-bit Greyscale): photos and other images that have shades of a single colour or that you want to reproduce on a black & white output device (e.g., laser printer).
  • Colour (a.k.a. Colour Photo, CMYK Colour, RGB Colour): photos and other images in colour that you wish to reproduce in colour.

Once you have determined what type of image you need, you will want to use the following settings to create a file that will print well at the scale you desire:

  • Line Art, 600 pixels per inch (PPI).
  • 8-bit Greyscale, 200–300 PPI.
  • 16-bit or 24-bit Colour, 200–300 PPI.

If you are scanning a printed image for use at the same size, simply use these settings. If you are scanning a slide or negative, use these settings but make sure to increase the scaling (e.g., 200%) or resolution (e.g., use twice the resolution to make it twice the size that it appears on film) to use it at a larger size than the size of the slide/negative itself. (Some scanning software will allow you to specify the final size and resolution of your scan.)

For file format, use TIFF whenever possible, as you will get the best possible quality (choose LZW compression if given the chance). The next best choice would be PDF (especially for line art). For Line Art and many Greyscale images, PNG is a good choice to keep lines and text crisp. Use JPEG as a last choice, generally only when you need the file to be very small (such as when you are e-mailing files with images back and forth) or the receiving app only accepts JPEG.

If you are changing an image using Photoshop (Image > Mode and/or Image > Image Size), make sure that you do not increase the size of the file because your original is of a low quality (e.g., an image extracted from a web page). For example, here is a typical Image Size dialog box from Photoshop.

Image Size changes from 6 MB to 3 MB

Note the highlighted portion at the top. The Pixel Dimensions describes the number of pixels that are in the total image (i.e. when someone says they have a “8 Megapixel digital camera”, this is what they are referring to). Since the number of total pixels has gone down, this is an image where resizing is beneficial. If the number were to go up or were to go down by about 25%, you should not bother resizing the image.

Once you have your raster image saved in its print-friendly format, you can insert this new graphic in your document using the steps in Part 2.

PDF, Vector Format (Illustrator) and pre-existing files

Vector files (a.k.a. illustrations) are great in that the file can stay quite small but can be reproduced with high quality at virtually any size. (This is why virtuallly all corporate logos are illustrations.) PDF is a format that works well for illustrations, as it retains all the vector information, and is a format all the major word processing and page layout programs understand. SVG is also a vector format — you can often use it directly if your app supports it, but not as many apps support it yet. Thus, we will convert our illustration into PDF format and trim it to the desired size if necessary. (If your file is already in PDF format or is a graphic file that Preview or Acrobat can read, start at Step 3.)

  1. Open the file that has the illustration in it.
  2. Save the page as a PDF (In Illustrator: File > Save As, select Adobe PDF as the file type; In any other program: File > Print, click on the PDF button and select Save As PDF from the menu that pops up).

If you open the file in Preview:

  1. Choose the Select Tool (button with rectangular marquee) by clicking on its button (or Tools > Select Tool or Command–3).
  2. Click-and-drag to select the area you want to use (you can adjust the size of the area by dragging the handles on the corners and sides of the rectangle that appears).
  3. In the File menu, select Copy (or Command–C).
  4. The graphic is now ready to be pasted into the word processing document (File > Paste or Command–V) — do this instead of inserting the file as stated in Part 2. Note: You can choose to crop (Tools > Crop or Command-K) and save the cropped image, but as a warning dialogue box will probably tell you, it will not eliminate any of the cropped areas from the file; using the copy and paste method will copy over just the selected area.

If you open the file in Adobe Acrobat Pro:

  1. Make the Pages panel visible in the right sidebar (View > Tools > Pages), then click on the Crop tool ().
  2. Click-and-drag to select the area you want to use (you can adjust the size of the area by dragging the handles on the corner of the rectangle that appears).
  3. Double-click inside the rectangular area to crop (or Command–Shift–T). Click on OK in the resulting dialog box.
  4. Save the newly-edited graphic file. Note: If you want to take more than one excerpt from that page, choose “Save as” instead of “Save” or duplicate the file prior to cropping so the original page is left intact.
  5. Continue to Part 2

You are now ready to take your PDF graphic and insert it into your document.

Part 2: Placing the Graphic Into the Word Processing / Page Layout File

Most word processors and page layout programs provide two separate and distinct ways to insert a graphic into a file of text:

  1. treat the graphic as an inline element (i.e. the graphic is treated just like any character you have typed into your document, only much bigger; if text is added or deleted before the graphic, the graphic moves up and down to ensure that it stays in the same place in the text flow);
  2. treat the graphic as a static element (i.e. no matter what happens to the text, the graphic stays anchored to a particular page and location unless you manually change its position).

For most academic papers, you will want to use the first method — inline placement of the graphic. We will describe how to do this in the two word processors we support: Microsoft Word and Pages.

Inserting the Graphic as an Inline Element

  1. In your word processing or page layout document, place the cursor where you would like the graphic to be placed. In most cases, you will want to place the graphic on a line of its own, single-spaced.
  2. Insert the graphic using a menu command:
    • Using the menus in Microsoft Word, Insert > Photo > Picture from File…, then select the graphic file you want.
    • Using the ribbon in Microsoft Word, under Home > Insert, click on the Picture button/pop-up menu, select Picture from File…, then select the graphic file you want.
    • In Pages, Insert > Choose… (or Command-Shift-V), then select the graphic file.

If you need to resize the graphic, click on it and adjust the size using the handle(s) that appear on the edge of the graphic. In both Word and Pages, if you grab a corner handle, the image will maintain its original proportion. Note: You may reduce the quality of your printout if you try to increase the size of a scanned/bitmap/raster image; it is better to rescan at the desired size if you are going to increase the size significantly.

This inline graphic technique can also be used to put special symbols or icons into the flow of the text. Try to scale the graphic as closely as possible to the size that you need, or use fixed leading (line spacing) such as “32 pt” for double-spaced papers.

Inserting the Graphic as a Static Element

The technique for doing this varies based on the program:

  • In Microsoft Word, you insert the graphic as you did before, but when it is in the document, you can select how you would like text to flow around (or over) the graphic (a.k.a. text wrap). If you choose anything other than In line with text, the image will stay where you put it on the page and the text will flow around/over/under it as you specify. To change the text wrap, either:
    • Select the picture (by clicking on it) and then select Format > Picture… (or right-click on it and select Format Picture…), click on the Layout tab, and then select the way you would like the text to wrap around the graphic; or
    • With the ribbon on, double-click on the the image; when the Format Picture controls show up, under the arrange section, click on the Wrap Text pop-up menu and select the way you would like the text to wrap around the graphic.
  • In Pages, the easiest way to insert the graphic as a static element is to drag-and-drop the file from the Finder rather than using Insert > Choose. It will automatically be added as what Pages calls a “Floating” image with text wraparound. You can also take an image that you inserted previously (e.g., using Insert > Choose) and make it float using the Inspector palette’s Wrap tab. If the Inspector palette is not open, press Command-Option-I or choose View > Show Inspector. In the Wrap tab (third from the left), change it to a floating image and specify the type of wraparound you would like.

If you need to resize the graphic, click on it and adjust the size using the handle(s) that appear on the edge of the graphic (the corner handles maintain the proper proportions). If you need to move the graphic around, click on the graphic itself and drag it around.

Changing from Inline to Static or Vice Versa

You can change your mind once the image is inserted. Use the steps described in Inserting the Graphic as a Static Element (above), as this gives you access to detailed settings and choices on how the text should wrap, if at all.