19.2. Excel's Clip Art Library
One of the challenges in using pictures is finding the right image. If you need to use a company logo, you probably have that on hand already. However, if you're looking for a picture on a specific subjectsay a drawing of French fries for your analysis of fried versus steamed carbohydrate caloriesit can take hours of Web surfing to find an image that fits your requirements and is legal to use.
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Figure 19-9. A 3-D rotation is a dramatic way to make the statement, "I have too much free time."
Excel answers this challenge with an innovative online library of clip art that, at last count, contained a staggering 150,000 images. Best of all, anyone who owns Excel can search this clip art library and use any of its images for free.
To insert an image from the clip art library, follow these steps:
Select Insert Illustrations Clip Art .
A Clip Art pane appears on the right side of the Excel window (see Figure 19-10). As described in the next steps, you'll use it to search for images.
Note: The Clip Art pane provides a few extra options at the bottom of the window. You can click the "Organize clips" link to launch Microsoft Clip Organizer, a utility that can scan for clip art on your computer and help you catalog ituseful if you need to manage huge numbers of clip art files. You can also click the "Clip art on Office Online" link to browse Microsoft's online clip art using your Web browser instead of searching from within Excel.
In the Clip Art pane, you can use the "Search in" list to limit where you search. Each search location appears in the list with a checkmark next to it. Turn off the checkmark to avoid searching a particular area .
My Collections includes all the clip art on your computer that the Microsoft Clip Organizer knows about. My Collections can include clip art in several different folders, as well as pictures that you've downloaded from the Microsoft Office Web site.
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Figure 19-10. The Clip Art pane is your doorway to the vast resources of clip art on your computer and on Microsoft's Office Web site. You can search for images using topic keywords, and then drag the pictures into your worksheet.
If you want to add clip art to your collections, you should run the Clip Organizer, which can search your hard drive for folders that have pictures. To do so, click the "Organize clips" link at the bottom of the Clip Art task. The first time you do, the Clip Organizer prompts you to scan your computer for pictures, which you can do immediately (click Now), put off until the next time you run Clip Organizer (click Later), or configure in more detail (click Options). Clip Organizer also doubles as a handy tool for browsing the pictures that currently reside in your collections.
Office Collections includes all the clip art that Microsoft Office (or Excel, if that's the only Office program you have) has installed on your computer. You can expand this item to choose specific categories (like Animals or Business).
Web Collections is Excel's name for the Microsoft Office Online clip art repository. You can expand this item to choose specific categories (like Animals or Business).
Note: Make sure you choose Web Collections if you want to perform a search that includes the huge library of art on Microsoft's Office Web site. Usually, searching all collections works perfectly well, as long as you use keywords that are specific enough, as described in step 4 in Section 19.2.
In the "Results should be" list you can choose the media types you want to search for .
The Clip Art category includes common vector graphic file types like Windows Metafiles (.wmf and .emf). Vector graphics are images that are stored as a series of instructions (as in "draw blue square, add green circle "). The key benefit to vector graphics is that you can resize them without losing quality.
The Photographs category includes common bitmap file types like Bitmaps, JPEGs, and GIFs. Bitmap graphics are stored as a series of individual points, or pixels, arranged in a rectangle. Bitmaps require more disk space than vector graphics, and you can't resize them without some compromise in quality. However, they can provide photo-realistic detail.
The Movies and Sounds categories include animated files and audio recordings.
Note: The majority of Microsoft's catalog consists of ordinary clip art. However, if your search returns movie or audio files (like when you search with the keyword "scream"), you should probably remove these categories from your search and try again. Unless you want to startle your co-workers , there's really no point to dropping a sound object into your worksheet.
In the "Search for" text box, enter a few words that describe the images you want to find .
Microsoft stores a list of descriptive words for every image in its clip art library. When you perform a search, Excel tries to match the words you enter against the description for each image. If it finds the words in the description, it shows you the picture as a match.
You can include one word or a combination of words. If you use the search words mad monkey , you'll find only pictures that have the words mad and monkey in their description. On the other hand, if you search for monkey , you'll end up with a much larger list of results.
For even more results, you can search for pictures that have either one of two or more words in their description. Just use a comma to separate the words. The search mad, monkey gives you all pictures that have the word mad in their description, and all pictures that have the word monkey in their description.
If you're searching for a file in one of your computer's clip art folders, and you know the file name, you can use that as a search term . If you don't know the exact file name, you can use wildcards like ? (for any single character) and * (for any series of characters ). You'd type in car?.jpg to locate file names like car1.jpg or car2.jpg. Or enter car*.jpg to locate file names like cardboard.jpg or carton. jpg. If you want to use the asterisk (*), you must place it at the end of the search string, but before the file extension. It cannot appear at the beginning or in the middle of the string (* board.jpg or car*d.jpg doesn't fly).
Click Go to start the search .
The results appear as a list of thumbnail images in the Clip Art task. Because Excel needs to download results from the Internet, it can take a little bit of time before all your results appear. You can click Stop at any point to cancel a search that's in progress.
If you see an image you want to use, drag it onto your worksheet (Figure 19-11) .
Once you drag a picture onto your worksheet, you can treat it like you would any other picture, so go ahead and resize it, crop it, change the contrast, and so on. When you save your worksheet, Excel adds the picture data to your file, so you don't need to download it again.
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Figure 19-11. In this example, a search using the word "dollar" has just finished. The search turned up dozens of matching images, which are shown as thumbnail- sized images, including the collection of currency that has been dragged onto the worksheet as a picture object.