Word’s usability doesn’t stop at writing and editing text. You can add tables, charts, images, and simple graphics to embellish your writing and make it more reader-friendly. If you think outside the box a little, why not use Word to design photo collages?
Admittedly, Word might not have all the features and tools of a design/graphics app, but this doesn’t stop you from making a great collection of your favorite photos. With some creativity and a few tips and tricks from this article, you will be able to do it in no time.
In addition, you can save your design as a template/layout and just change the images in the collage. But first things first, let’s see what the steps to create a collage in Word are.
Making a Collage in Microsoft Word
As hinted, Word doesn’t offer a ready-made collage layout or template, unless you download a third-party one from the internet. This means you’ll need to make everything from scratch. Initially, it might take a bit more time but you will get a fully customized final result.
Using Developer Option
Open a new Word document, click on File, and select Option from the blue menu on the right. Choose Customize Ribbon in the pop-up window and make sure to check the Developer option under “Customizing the Ribbon” section. Click OK to confirm when you finish.
Note: This step applies to those who use Microsoft Word 2013 or 2016. If you are on a different version the first step might not be necessary. Mac users will need to click on the ‘Word’ option in the upper left-hand corner, then click ‘Preferences,’ and ‘View’ to turn on the developer options.
With the Developer option on, go to the Developer tab and select “Picture Content Control.” Click on the icon and add as many image slots as you want, then click the center of the image to add pictures from a file.
Once the image is inside the slot, you can drag the sides to resize it and match the layout. There is also an option to tilt the images a little to make for a more interesting design. Just grab the image and move it left or right to get the desired angle.
Using Word Tables
This method can be used in any Word version and it applies even if you use the cloud/app-based free version. Here are the necessary steps.
With a new Word document on, select the Insert tab and click on the Table drop-down menu.
Based on the number of images you want to insert, choose the table layout. You can fit the table to the page if necessary.
You’ll get a relatively small text box at the top of your screen. It’s advisable to extend it to cover the entire page. This way you get extra room to insert the images.
Also, feel free to use the Table Design tab to change the color of the layout and select a background fill. Check out all the available styles by clicking on the arrows in the toolbar. There is also an option to get a different border style.
If you choose a border style, use the pen tool, and click on each border to apply the style. This is where you can get creative since there is no need to apply the style to all borders.
With the basic layout in place, it’s time to insert the images into your Word collage template. Select the collage panel/slot where you want to insert the image, click Insert, and choose “Picture from File.”
Unless you resize the image prior to import, it won’t fit to collage slot. If it turns out too big, select the image and resize it to fit the image to the collage.
Image Manipulation Tips and Tricks
Word offers a surprising amount of image manipulation tools and effects to make the images stand out. You can make brightness and color corrections, add artistic effects, or change the image transparency.
What’s more, there are close to thirty image effects and borders you can apply. You can fine-tune each of the applied effects from the Format Picture menu on the right. Click on the Effect tab and select the arrow to reveal the adjustment sliders.
When you finish the design, click the small floppy disc icon to save the collage. Give the document a name, add some tags, and choose the destination and file format.
You should know that file formats are one of the downsides of making a collage in Microsoft Word. To be precise, the documents are saved in different text formats (.doc, .docx, .dot, etc). That said, you can export the collage to PDF, which might be a better option if you want to print it. However, you won’t be able to upload the collage to certain social media.
The built-in SmartArt feature is another way to add photos in various layouts in Microsft Word. To use SmartArt follow these steps:
With a Word Document open, click on the ‘Insert’ tap in the ribbon and click on ‘SmartArt.’
A dropdown will appear, click ‘Picture.’ Choose the layout you’d like to use. It will appear in the document once selected.
Add your photos to the template.
Your photos will automatically size to fit within the template making a picture collage.
Collage Made of Words
During our testing, it took about ten minutes to make a Word collage but you can spend much more time perfecting the design. And there’s a neat hack to work around Word’s inability to export JPEGs or PNGs.
Instead of exporting the document, you can take a screenshot and get the collage in JPG or PNG. Depending on the specs of your computer you could end up with an HD collage ready for social networks.