Microsoft

Office challenge: How do you change the shape of a clip art image?

If you know how to change the shape of a clip art image, take part in this week's Office challenge. You'll also learn the answer to last week's question on hiding duplicate values in Excel.
Most clip art is square or rectangular, which is okay most of the time. You have to be satisfied with the shape because you can't change it – or can you? I ran into this last month while working on a PowerPoint presentation, but the solution I used works in most Office applications, not just in PowerPoint. How would you change the shape of a clip art image?
Last week, we asked…

How do you hide duplicate values in the same column without filtering the entire row? Pjroutledge (Peter) suggested conditional formatting, which is exactly the tool  I used. The condition is a formula that compares the content of two cells. The format trick is to match the font property to the cell background, rendering the data invisible when the conditional formula equals True. Duplicate values are still there, you just can't see them.

Let's look at a quick example. Suppose you wanted to hide all but the first occurrence of each city in a spreadsheet of address data. To do so, you could do the following:

  1. First, sort the list by the column in question. In this case, you'd sort by the City column. The values must be sorted, so don't skip this step.

  1. Select the range that contains the values (that's F2:F92 in the example spreadsheet).
  2. Choose Conditional Formatting from the Format menu.
  3. From the Condition 1 control's drop-down list, choose Formula Is.
  4. Enter the formula =F2=F1, where F1 is the cell directly above the first cell in in the data range. I know it doesn't seem to make sense, but you must reference the cell just above the first cell in the data range or this will not work as expected.
  5. Select the font color that matches the cell's color. In this case, that's white. Be sure to manually select white from the Color control's palette, even if the current color appears to be white already.
  6. Click OK to return to the Conditional Formatting dialog box.

  1. Click OK to return to the sheet.

With the cells still selected, you can still see the duplicate values -- they are white in a highlighted cell.

Once you unselect the cells, duplicate values disappear. They're still there, you just can't see them, because the font and cell colors are the same.

In Excel 2007, the process is similar, but the steps are a bit different:

  1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. Click the Home tab and then click Conditional Formatting.
  3. Click New Rule.
  4. Select Use A Formula To Determine Which Cells To Format.
  5. Repeat steps 5 through 8 above.

If you sort the spreadsheet by another column, the conditional format still works. It won't hide every single occurrence but the first, as it does in this example. Instead, it hides every single occurrence but the first within contiguous blocks of the duplicates. In fact, that's what the example does too -- it hides all occurrences but the first because all duplicates are in the same contiguous block.

What formatting task has you stumped? Perhaps we can help. Or feel free to stump your fellow readers by presenting your own formatting challenge.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

10 comments
thetrolls
thetrolls

Hi All I found ETJ's answer perfect... Using Publosher I have also used white shapes (and layers) to cover parts pf a Pic... But although that is easy it is problably not a great way of doing it. Cheers John

thetrolls
thetrolls

Hi All I found ETJ's answer perfect... Using Publosher I have also used white shapes (and layers) to cover parts pf a Pic... But although that is easy it is problably not a great way of doing it. Cheers John Gisborne New Zealand

happymedia_dz
happymedia_dz

Hi everyone, For this challenge i have a proposition but just for the 2007 Office version and it work even if the is inserted is a clipart or any other image type. To proceed first, select the image, then under the format tab (Picture Tool) expend, in the ?Picture styles? group, the ?Picture shape? list and finely select the shape type you want to apply. Regards.

Joaquim Amado Lopes
Joaquim Amado Lopes

Considering the list starts on F2, instead of =F2=F1 user =countif(f$2:f2;f2)>1. This way, it will count the number of instances of the value on that cell up to that point. If (including that occurrency) it is more than 1, then it's repeat. The list doesn't need to be sorted.

blogs
blogs

I change the fromat of the clipart to .gif or .png, both of which support transparent pixels. Then, I change to areas I wish to 'discard' to transparent, and save the file in the .gif or .png format. When placed in a document, only the non transparent part shows. In addition to being useful to control shape, this method allows one to break the image into separate sub images, in the same file. I have also used a technique that covers the unwanted part of a clipart image with a graphic that is the color of the background paper. This is a lot messier to work with, if you ever wish to move the image.

ETJ
ETJ

1)Open an office document and insert an AutoShape that is the shape you would like to use for the clipart. 2)Right click the auto shape and select ?Format AutoShape?. 3)From the ?Colors and Lines? tab select the ?Color? drop down and select ?Fill Effects?. 4)Select the ?Picture? tab in ?Fill Effects?. 5)Click the ?Select Picture? button and select the clip art (or any other picture) that you would like to change the shape of.

TobiF
TobiF

You ask about "how to reshape a clip-art item" First of all, the following would work only for vector-based clip-art. 1. Import the clip-art picture you want to work with. 2. Right click on the picture and select Grouping-ungroup. 3. You'll get a warning: "This is an imported picture and not a group, do you want to convert it?" - OK on that. 4. And now you can: - Move different parts of the picture relatively to each other - Duplicate parts of the picture - Delete pars of the picture - Flip part of the picture or the whole picture - Change colour on parts of the picture etc. - Right click on a part and choose "Edit points" to fine-tune the appearance of some particular item. (zoom in really close for this one...)

thetrolls
thetrolls

Hi All I found ETJ's answer perfect... Using Publosher I have also used white shapes (and layers) to cover parts pf a Pic... But although that is easy it is problably not a great way of doing it. Cheers John

happymedia_dz
happymedia_dz

I was thiking about a similar solution inserting a "Drowing Area" in Word. Regards