Using Photo Editor

Microsoft Photo Editor is provided with many Microsoft applications and is thus an image manipulation program that is readily available to many people. These notes are basic instructions on the use of this software. Naturally, the basic principles, knowledge and skills in this course can be applied to any other image manipulation software as they all have similar capabilities and menu layouts.

Opening Photo Edito

To open Photo Editor you will need to have your computer turned on, the operating system running, and open at the Desktop. Use the mouse to select:

You may need to wait a moment whilst your computer opens the software, waiting time will depend upon the system capabilities.

Photo Editor Menus

Use the mouse to select a menu item and click on it once to display the sub-menu items. Following are pictures of these sub menus and short descriptions of what they do.

File Menu

New Opens a window to create a blank canvas for a new image file.
Open Opens a window to locate and open an existing file.
Close Closes the current selected image file.
Save Saves an open file over its previous version.
Save As Used to save files with a different name or format.
Revert Restores the open image file to the last saved version.
Scan image Opens the software for the selected scanner/camera.
Select Scanner source Allows you to identify which scanner/camera to use.
Print Opens the print window to allow you to print the image.
Send Opens your e-mail program and automatically attaches the image.
Propertiest Displays a window with details of the image size and type.
Exit Closes all images and the program.
There is also a list of the last files opened or saved.

Edit Menu

Undo Returns the image to its condition just prior to the last change.
Redo Re-applies the last change made.
Cut Cuts out the image for pasting elsewhere via the clipboard.
Copy Makes a copy of the image to be pasted elsewhere.
Paste Pastes the image currently in the clipboard into the existing image.
Paste as New Image Pastes an image from the clipboard by creating a new file.
Define Selection Opens a window where you can set a selection area by pixels.
Select All Selects the whole image.

View Menu

Toolbar Select to display or remove the icon based tool bar.
Ruler Select to display or remove the ruler around the image.
Status Bar Select to display or remove the status bar at the bottom of the page.
Zoom Opens a window to allow you to expand the visible image.
Measurement Units Opens a sub-menu to allow selection of measurement units.

Image Menu

Crop Opens a window for setting an area to be cropped, cut down to.
Resize Opens a window where you can set new image dimensions.
Rotate Opens a window for selecting how the image appears on the page.
Balance Opens a window where you can select the primary colour levels.
Auto Balance Resets the primary colours based on the programs own ideas.

Effects Menu

Most items will open a window that allows you to set fine parameters for the image effect that you have selected. In most you set a level, or amount, or effect to be applied. These effects occur to the whole image. Most changes occur at the pixel level, and can be undone by the undo command, or revert command.

Sharpen Makes the edges of pixels sharper, so they contrast more.
Soften Makes the pixel edges softer, so they blend or blur in more.
Negative The image is like a photograph negative.
Despeckle Removes certain pixels to smooth out the view of the base colour.
Posterize Variance between pixels is clearer, sets the image up as a poster.
Edge Pixel edges thicken and sharpen, increases contrast and loses colour.
Chalk/Charcoal The image looks as if it was drawn with chalk and charcoal.
Emboss The image looks like it was embossed into paper.
Graphic Pen Large colour areas look as if they were drawn by pen strokes.
Notepaper The image looks like special notepaper.
Watercolor The image looks like a watercolour painting.
Stained Glass The image looks like a stained glass window.
Stamp The image looks as if it is stamped on metal.
Texture The image looks as if it was on textured canvas or material.

Effects Menu

Like the effects menu these menu items open windows that allow you to set fine adjustments to the selected areas, they also operate at the pixel level. However, the effects are localised by the parameter settings and the area selected with the cursor movement.

Smudge Smudges or blurs the image of the selected area.
Sharpen Sharpens the image of the selected area.
Set Transparent Color Makes the chosen colour transparent or semi-transparent.

Window Menu

Has two choices for displaying the open images in the window. Tile divides the window equally between the open images, whilst Cascade opens the up on top of each other. It then has a list of the open images to assist with selection between images.

Help Menu

This has the menu item for the inbuilt help program and a menu item that displays the details of the version of Photo Editor that you are using.


The toolbar immediately below the menus has a number of icons that allow for fast selection of the most commonly used menu items. However, these icons select the effect for use as per the standard setting that comes with the program.

Most of the functions on the toolbar are from the File, edit, or Tool menus. The most useful are the Save and the Selection Tool icons.

If you place the mouse cursor on an icon and leave it there for a moment without clicking a button, a little window will pop-up telling you what that icon is used for.

Selection Tool

Activate this facility by clicking on the dotted line icon. Then move the cursor to the top left hand corner of the area to be cropped; depress and hold down the left hand mouse button; and then drag the cursor to the bottom right hand corner of the area to be cropped, this will cause a dotted line to be displayed on the image. This can be adjusted by selecting one of the little boxes on the dotted line; then, holding the left mouse button down, move the cursor until the line is in the desired position.

When the correct area has been outlined you right click the mouse button to display a small menu, select the desired function with the mouse and left click on it. This will then affect the selected area.

Crop, will reduce the image to the selected area.
Copy will copy the selected area to the clipboard for pasting elsewhere.
Cut, will cut the selected area out of the image for pasting elsewhere or discarding.

General Note:

There are many image manipulation programs available and most have a wide selection of manipulation choices available and provide for many fine controls and detailed levels of changes. The basic principles and techniques used are the same, just the number of change choices, and how they are reached, is varied.

Most of the specialist programs are designed for graphics artists and include facilities that are not used by most people. Cost can range from nothing to many thousands of dollars.

Copyright by Ernest E Bywater