MS-Excel / Excel 2003

Excel with Clip Art

Most users are familiar with the cutesy, comic-strip-like graphic images collectively referred to as clip art that the Microsoft folks let Office users use for free. (They couldn't get away with charging for that stuff, could they?) Along with these cartoon images, clip art collections also include some really fine stock photo images.

Microsoft has provided Excel with its own Clip Art task pane that you can use to search for just the right clip art image and insert it right into your worksheet. To open the Clip Art task pane, first display the task pane in the workbook window (if one's not already open) by pressing Ctrl+F1 and then click the task pane's drop-down button and select Clip Art on the pop-up menu.

The Clip Art task pane contains three text boxes: Search For, Search In, and Results Should Be.

  • Search For: Enter the type of image to use.
  • Search In: Select what type of Clip Art collections to search. By default, Excel selects the All Collections option, which includes
    • The Office Collections that contain the images that come with Microsoft Office
    • The Web Collections containing images that you pull down from the Internet using the Clip Art on Office Online link at the bottom of the Clip Art task pane
    • Any personal collections you may have put together
  • Results Should Be: Select the types of media files to include in the search. By default, Excel includes all types of media files (clip art, photographs, movies, and sounds) that are listed in your Microsoft Clip Organizer.
    (To have Excel go through all the media files on your computer and organize them into collections with the Organizer, click the Organize Clips link in the Clip Art task pane and then click the Now button in the Add Clips to Organizer dialog box.)

If you want to see only the cartoonish Clip Art images, clear all check boxes except Clip Art in the Selected Media File Types drop-down list box. To see only stock photographic images (my preference), clear all the check boxes in this list box except for Photographs.

After you do a search, the Clip Art task pane shows you thumbnail images of art that meets your specifications. To insert one of these clip art images into your spreadsheet, click its thumbnail in the Clip Art task pane.

After you insert a clip art image in the worksheet, you can manipulate it in the following ways:

  • To resize it, drag its sizing handles (the white circles around the perimeter).
  • To move it, position the mouse pointer somewhere in the image and then drag it to its new position.
  • To rotate it, position the mouse pointer on the rotation handle and then drag the mouse right (to rotate clockwise) or left (to rotate counterclockwise).

When you've got the image oriented, sized, and positioned the way you want it, click a cell outside the clip art to deselect it.

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