Creating a Picture Frame Effect for Images in Microsoft Publisher
Are you bored of all your inserted pictures appearing in a rectangle in Microsoft Publisher? Read this blog to see how you can create a much more interesting frame shape for any picture you insert!

Posted by Andrew Gould on 15 June 2011

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Creating a Picture Frame Effect for Images in Microsoft Publisher

When you insert a picture into a document in Microsoft Publisher it always appears as a boring old rectangle.  This article will show you how to insert a picture into any shape you like to create a much more interesting frame effect.

Boring rectangular image I heart spiders!
We're going to change this hideous looking image... ...into this beautiful one!

Although the technique described here uses Microsoft Publisher to demonstrate the principle, you'll find that you can achieve the same results in a very similar way in most other Microsoft Office products, such as Word and PowerPoint.

Creating the Frame Shape

The single major thing you need to understand about creating this effect is that you can't change the frame of a picture after it's been inserted into the document.  That means you have to draw the frame first and insert the picture into it afterwards.  Your frame can be almost any of the standard AutoShapes that are available in Publisher.  To draw a shape on the page you need to find the AutoShapes button on the Objects toolbar.  This is normally sitting at the left hand edge of the Publisher screen.

Choosing an AutoShape

The toolbar should be at the left edge of the screen. If you can't see it, try selecting View -> Toolbars -> Objects from the menu.


Once you've clicked on the type of shape you want to draw, move the mouse over the drawing page and click and drag to draw the shape.

Drawing a shape

You can always change the size of the shape at a later stage, so don't worry about making it exactly right size.


Changing the Fill Colour of a Shape

Making our picture appear inside the shape doesn't actually involve inserting the image, rather, we change the background colour of the shape to be our picture.  To do this, right-click the shape you have just drawn and from the menu choose: Format AutoShape...

Choosing a fill effect

Make sure you're on the Colors and Lines tab and then select the option shown here.


In the dialog box that appears, select the Picture tab.

Choosing a picture

Click the Select Picture... button to browse for an image saved on your computer.


In the next dialog box, browse for a picture that you have saved on your computer and double-click on it to select it.


This is a Wolf Spider taken in Goulburn, Australia in case anyone's interested.

Once you've double-clicked on the image you want to use, click OK twice and you should find that your image now appears inside the shape you've drawn.

The embedded image

All that remains is for us to apply a few formatting options to the border of the shape.


Formatting the Border of a Shape

To add a few finishing touches to the picture frame we can format the colour and thickness of the shape's outline.  To do this, select the shape and use the options on the toolbar shown in the diagram below:

Choosing a different outline colour Choosing a different line weight
Use this option to change the line colour.  Click More Outline Colors... to see a wider selection. Click the tool shown here to change the line thickness or weight.

With a few clicks you can completely transform the look of your frame (although you'll probably want to choose a more tasteful colour scheme than the one shown here).


We're not going to win any awards, but it's still better than a boring old rectangle!

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