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Convert MSWord Drawings
& WordArt to JPGs or GIFs

A reader asked about turning a logo he created using MSWord's drawing tools into a JPG file. Well, any kind of a graphic that can be seen on your screen can be converted into a JPG by using your PrtScr (Print Screen) key. Pressing the key causes everything visible on your monitor to be copied as a graphic to the Windows clipboard.

Next open an image-editing program such as Windows Paint, Adobe Photoshop, or my favorite for cropping pictures, Irfanview (free from Then use Edit>Paste to insert the copied graphic into the image-editor.

Any graphic pasted into Irfanview is automatically in the "crop mode," meaning all you need do is draw a box around the logo with your left mouse button depressed, followed by doing Edit>Cut and Edit>Paste to display the cropped artwork. Finally, do File>Save As, give the logo a name, and choose JPG from the "Save As Type" options.

Personally, though, I prefer saving logos as GIF files, since JPGs can be unintenionally degraded with subsequent copying. GIFs remain constant. However, GIFs are limited to 256 colors, but this is usually adequate for a logo.

In any case, it's important to understand that images captured with your PrtScr key will have a DPI (dots per inch) resolution equal to your monitor's DPI. This may vary from 72 to 100+ DPI, which is fine for subsequent computer displays, but a little rough when printed on paper (where 300 is often the lowest acceptable DPI).

In fact, when using MSWord's drawing tools and fonts to create a logo, consider doing it at three to four times larger than the desired finished size. Then you can choose 300 DPI when reducing the image to its intended size with Irfanview's Image>Resize/Resample options. The screen DPI will remain the same, but a paper printout will be much sharper.

Although MSWord is ostensibly a word processor, it has many handy drawing options. In MSWord-2003 (and earlier) click on View>Toolbars>Drawing to display the Drawing Toolbar. In MSWord-2007 click on Insert>Shapes to display a collection of triangles, ovals, stars, and other geometric shapes, which, when chosen, can be resized and reproportioned in many useful ways.

You can also choose WordArt, which lets you convert words and phrases into stylish designs. Here are some quickie examples:

WordArt Samples

MSWord Error Message: Cannot Read from Source Drive

Bill Johnson wrote that he decided to free up some space by deleting a number of MSWord documents. After finding them via Start>Search>All Files & Folders and typing in .doc, he backed them up to an external hard drive. However, when he did Edit>Select All and tried to delete the files he got the following message: "Cannot delete. Cannot read from source drive."

Well, different things can trigger this message — but the usual culprit is an open MSWord file. Yes, it's OK to have MSWord open, but any currently active file cannot be deleted (or edited in any other way) and it only takes one such file in a selected group to keep them all from being deleted.

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