Adding Pictures To Your Documents
December 30th, 1998

Happy New Year and welcome to our new and improved magazine. What was Webintosh is now The Mac Observer in keeping with the expanding coverage of Macintosh news as well as the innovative columns available only on this site. When I was first approached about writing this weekly column I was astonished to learn that there did not seem to be any columns anywhere, designed for Mac users, especially older Mac users, that covered the basics in non-technical language. If I didn't believe it before I certainly do now after several months of reading letters from readers who say this is the only place they can find to help their mother, father, sibling, friend, etc. become comfortable with their computer and learn new things. I am always grateful for those letters. They help counterbalance the occasional rude put-downs I get from young techies emboldened by the anonymity of the Internet who apparently know everything there is to know about everything.

Today's column is on a basic option that is fun, but sometimes confusing. I want to talk about adding graphics to documents. There are lots of graphic packages available, but I want to address using what is already available on most of your machines. It is a good easy way to start and the skills will be transferable to other settings.

The word processing program used on most Macs is ClarisWorks so I am going to use ClarisWorks 5.0 as an example. Let's start by opening a new document in ClarisWorks which you do by double clicking on ClarisWorks and then, when it is open, going to the File pull-down menu and selecting new. You will get a dialogue box asking what type of document you want to create (unless your preferences have been set to make a choice for you. You want to choose a word processing document which will give you a blank page. Let us assume that you are creating personalized stationary and you want to include a graphic in the upper left hand corner. Go back to the File pull-down menu and click on Libraries. If you have installed the full package with Claris Works 5.0, a box will open to the right that lists 32 categories of graphic images. Still holding down your mouse, move over to a category in the new box and release the mouse, that category will open. A box will appear somewhere on your screen that contains all the subjects in that category. You can move that box at will by clicking on the top, holding down your mouse and moving it to a new place on the screen. Release the mouse when you reach your destination. I chose animals and moved
down to cat. If I click once on the word cat, a small picture of the graphic will appear and the word Use will be visible at the bottom. If I click on Use then the graphic of the cat will appear on my page.I can click on the image and the outline of a box will appear with a dark square in the bottom right hand corner. I can use that dark square to change the size or shape of my cat image simply by clicking on the square, holding down the mouse button and moving it around like the following examples. No matter what size you use, you will have a large cursor following the graphic. If you want to move your graphic elsewhere on your page then you can click in front of the graphic, the large cursor will appear there, and you can simply tab to the new location. If you want to delete your graphic and start over simply click on the graphic and when the little box with the dark square appears, you can hit delete.

Suppose you want your cat to be purple or stripped. To do this you must open a new page. Go to the File pull-down menu, click on new and open a drawing document. It will open on top of your first document. Follow the same steps to go to the library and create the cat on your drawing page. Once you have the graphic on the drawing page you can use the tool box on the left to make changes. You can even type words over your graphic by clicking on the "A" button at the top of the tool box and then clicking inside your graphic where you want to add words. Type the words and click the mouse outside the graphic somewhere on your page and the text will be part of the graphic. To move the graphic and the text back to your original document, go to the Edit pull-down menu, click on select all. Black squares will appear around both the graphic and the text. Go back to the Edit menu and click on copy. Move back to your original document and go back to the Edit menu and click on paste. Your graphic, complete with text, will appear. If you are an artist then you can use the drawing page to create your own graphic and then move it to your document page using the same steps. If you have a printer that only prints black and white you can follow these same steps, using the toolbox and create an outline image.

Obviously there are limitations on what you can accomplish using the standard Claris Works library options. Suppose you want to have a graphic as a very faint image, perhaps covering the whole page. You need to be a bit more inventive, but it is still relatively easy.

You need to start with a photo of some kind. Either something you have scanned on your computer or something you have downloaded previously. How about your new house, or that new Macintosh you got for Christmas, or a litter of new puppies. Make it easy on yourself at this point and if your object is not already saved to the desktop, move it to your desktop by dragging the image. Doing so will save you several steps. To do this kind of graphic creation you will need Graphic Converter or some similar program. (for info on Graphic Converter see the column for December 23rd) First open Graphic Converter and click on the File pull-down menu. Then click on Open. In the first pull-down menu at the top of the box click on desktop. Then click on the name of your object and click on open at the bottom of the box. It will open as a Graphic Converter document. You can work with the whole document or with a small part of it as I have done for this example. To achieve this washed out look I Opened the Effect pull-down menu and then clicked on Gamma Correction. Adjusting the ticks on the bar from high to low gave me these effects. When I tested these images as a full page document they worked very nicely. The only way I know to actually create a finished product that you can print over is to run pages through your printer to print the backdrop and then use those pages as your stationary. If there is a way to create the image and then type over it in one step, I do not know how to do it.

I found for myself that once I had experimented with these kinds of projects I was much more able to figure out different things to do and to be ready to experiment.

If you have any tips or hints on this topic, make sure you write me so that I can share your thoughts with other readers.