Tuesday, November 12, 2013



As genealogists we work with all sorts of documents & images.  Right?  Many times these documents or images are crooked, difficult to read or have extra borders around them.  When you are ready to work with these items (after downloading them from an online site or scanning), how do you go about "fixing" the problems?  Here are the questions:

1.  Do you buy an expensive photo editing software?
2.  Do you just leave them the way they are?
3. Do you use the programs that come with your computer?

Many people cannot afford to buy or don't want to have to learn to use programs like Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or Corel.  The learning curve on some of these programs can be daunting.

If you are like me, you want the documents that you attach to your ancestors files to look good.  Especially if you plan to use them in reports or share them with family or online.

Your downloaded or scanned document may look something like this.  It's not pretty, that's for sure.
Wouldn’t you rather that it looked like this?

Here is what I do with my images.  
I use Microsoft Office 2010.  This is a program can be purchased for $94.99 at the following site http://www.softwareking.com/O2K10HSPKC.html?gclid=CI7n7MCI4LoCFaQ9QgodUEAA

It is part of the Microsoft Office suite.  Many people are not aware that there is a photo editing software included with the office suite. 

(If you are using a Mac, I apologize.  I cannot speak to the programs included with a Mac.) 

You can go to any image in your computer, right click and choose “open with” and then choose Microsoft Office 2010.  Here’s a question – was this program called Microsoft Office 2008 or 2009, prior to this?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I also used this program when I had Windows XP.  I am currently using Windows 7.

Once you have the image opened in the program you should see a screen like this.  Now click on "Edit Pictures"

 A new section will open up and look like this:

Now you will click on rotate first, as you want to straighten this item before cropping it. When you click on the ROTATE option it will open up a menu on the left.  Use the arrow in the "by degree" area to rotate the item either left or right.  TIP: You can actually select increments like 1.5 or 1.8 or -1.5 or -1.8 to get the item as straight as possible.  Now it looks like this:
To crop the item click on "Edit Pictures" in the top menu again.  Now select "CROP" from the menu on the right.  You will see corner brackets around the image.  Move them to crop your item and then BE SURE to click the OK button (located under the menu on the right) to finish the crop.  
TIP: If your image is too light click on the "AUTO CORRECT" in the top menu.
Please remember to SAVE your image or you will lose all your changes.  Now your image looks just like the second one I showed you at the beginning of this post.

I do hope this was helpful.  Play around with this program.  You can resize images or o adjust the color.  How about removing red eye from pictures?  This little FREE program has some very nifty features.  If you like it, set it as the default when you open any JPG or PNG image.  I don't work with TIFF or BMP or GIF files, so I will be honest and tell you that I don't know if the program works with them.  

Happy cropping,
Michigan Girl 

Copyright ©  2013   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Unfortunately this no longer comes with Microsoft Office designed for Windows 8. Office 2013 I think its called. Microsoft do offer a free alternative download though. Windows Photo Gallery also has this capability but its not as nice to use. You have to download it with the Windows Live bundle from the Microsoft Site. Office Picture manager was my favourite photo editor by far but its gone the way of the dodo now/

  2. If you want a totally free program to work with image files, download Google's Picasa. This program can has many editing features, including straighten.

    If you are using Windows 7 (and possibly 8), you can use the Snipping tool to "take a picture" of the image on-screen and save it as an image. Then straighten in Picasa.

  3. Andrew - I'm sorry to hear that they have discontinued this handy program in the Microsoft suite. Seems to happen all too often. Thank you for letting me know. One more reason I won't rush into Windows 8 any time soon.

    Cindy - thank you for your comment about Picasa. I will be checking the features they offer. Always good to have other options.

    Thanks for reading my blog,

  4. Hi Diane,

    This is very helpful. Do you cover how to add a citation to a document? I'd imagine that the image would be a bit smaller and then added to the top. I don't like to attach or release my documents 'into the wild' with out the citations on them.


    1. Thank you for your question. I personally have never added a citation directly onto the document. You certainly have me thinking about it now, though. As I am sitting here answering you, I am thinking about ways to do this. A very easy way would be to use Paint, which is a FREE program included with PC's. I find it very useful and use it for adding text or arrows or boxes etc. to the images I add here on my blog. This may be something I cover in a future post.
      Thank you for visiting.

  5. I use Irfanview, a free program to download. It's an awesome program but it is not as simple as the Office feature you've shown here. I've only scratched the surface of what it can do.

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thanks for telling me about the program. I do love the simplicity of MS Photo editor. I have Adobe PS Elements and use it for the more complex photo edits, but really use MS daily. I also frequently use Paint, especially for my blog post images. However, my big question will be when I buy a new computer (in the next year or so) and it comes with Windows 10 or whatever the current one is at the time. Will I still be able to use MS 2010 programs?

    2. You've made me think whether I have an easier option on straightening pictures than the one in Corel Paintshop Pro which is what I usually use but is slow.
      Windows 10 Photos App has a nifty straighten tool but has so many other disadvantages. You can save or save as a copy but there is no control over where or what format or degree of compression for jpgs ...
      I've finally found there is a Straighten tool in my current version of FastStone Image Viewer. I'm not sure how long it's been there. I don't think it was there last time I looked closely at FastStone's abilities.
      There is this option apparently for adding the MS Photo editor to later versions of Office but if you have to play with entering a degree for the rotation, that's a show stopper for me. I've been there, done that in earlier versions of Paintshop Pro. But here's the URL: http://www.askvg.com/how-to-install-and-get-microsoft-office-picture-manager-back-in-office-2013/

    3. Hi Cathy,
      The degree option in Microsoft Office Manager/Photo editor is super easy. I have heard, however, that later versions of Office (I have 2010) do not have the same photo manager. I currently have the option of purchasing Office 2016 for a ridiculously low price via work. I'm reluctant to do so because I don't want to lose this valuable program. I'm still using Windows 7. Guess I'll leave well enough alone for now. Thanks for your comment.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.