Today we will have a look on the new image editing functions of Excel 2010. Please note, that in general the discussed features below also applies to the other programs in Office 2010 like Word or Powerpoint. In addition to a comparison of the image precessing features of Excel 2007 and Excel 2010, we will also discuss the new Background Removal Tool.
In a first step, I opened Excel 2010 and inserted an image in a worksheet. I choosed an image which I personally use for my avatar in some forums. And I colored the excel sheets’ background to green.
In order to make the comparison of both versions easier, I first changed the language in Excel 2007 from German to English. Then I inserted the same image in a worksheet of Excel 2007 and called in both versions the context sensitive ribbon for formatting images. To achieve this simply click on the picture and then choose “Format” below „Picture Tools“. The following picture shows Excel 2007 in the background and Excel 2010 in the foreground.
At a first glance, we can see that some buttons have been added to the ribbon in Excel 2010 and some buttons available in Excel 2007 seems to be removed or reordered. The button „Background Removal Tool“ suggests that we would be able to remove the background from images. If you ever have dealed with image processing as a programmer, you surely know about the complexity of the algorithms behind.
But first, let’s look at what lies behind the new buttons on the left side of the ribbon. If we click on the „Corrections“ we got following options.
We can change the contrast and/or the brightness of the picture or sharpen and soften it. In Excel 2007 theses options were available in two separate buttons and Excel 2007 showed fewer options. Like other formatting features in Excel, when hovering with the mouse over the options, you get a live preview. If someone is missing the percentages values displayed in the Excel 2007 options, don’t worry, they appear now as tooltips. If we click now on “Color” we got following options:
In essence, we will find here the options from the button „Recolor“ from Excel 2007. However, in my personal view, these options are better arranged than in Excel 2007. And we can see new options for changing the color saturation or color tone for the picture.
All buttons mentionned before provides also an option for calling the format picture dialog; later more about this feature. By the way, have you noticed that Excel 2010 shows a preview of the picture in the options panel itself? Cool, isn’t it?
If you click on „Artistics Effects“, you’ll see some nice predefined filters. We don’t know if Microsoft will add more filters in the final build of Excel 2010.
Concerning the „Picture Styles“ button, nothing changed compared to Excel 2007. In Excel 2010, the buttons „Picture Border“ and „Picture Effects“ moved up and the new button „Picture Layout“ was added. With this feature, you can easily add a SmartArt object and embed the picture.
The button „Picture Shape“ moved in Excel 2010 to a new place, you can find this feature in a sub menue entry when choosing „Crop“. I think this more logical than before. In fact, if you’re assigning a shape to a picture, you’ll do something similar to crop it.
The cropping feature itself has not been changed in Excel 2010, a new option for changing the aspect ratio has been added.
Let’s have now a look at the „Background Removal“ tool. When you click on the button, Excel 2010 opens a new view, as you can see in the folloing picture.
You can see a rectangle which will mark the area from which the background will be removed. You can change the position and/or resize the rectangle with the mouse. However I must say, I didn’t really understood the logic behind, as you can see here:
In this example, I can’t say why the right bracket would be removed. However, I know that the background removal tool is still improved by Microsoft; so I think this may be more logical in the next versions. Very interesting features are the „Mark to include“, „Mark to remove“ and „Delete marks“ buttons. They allow you to place linear markers on the picture and then remove or add parts of the image background. The following figure shows a few experiments with the markers and its outcomes.
Finally let’s have a look on the formatting options dialogue for the picture. You can call it by right clicking the picture and select „Format Picture“. Compared to Excel 2007, the options „Fill“, „Line Color“, „Line Style“, „Shadow“, „3D-Format“, „3D-Rotation“ and „Textbox“ remained unchanged. New are the options „Reflection“ and „Glow and Soft Edges“, allowing you to setup reflections for your picture or add some glow effects to the picture.
Additionally you’ll find in the dialogue options for more precise adjustements for the previously discussed options „Picture Corrections“, „Picture Color“ and „Artistic Effects“. You can also setup the picture and crop position when selecting „Crop“ in the dialogue and resize or lock the aspect ratio of the picture using the options found in „Size“.
This article has also been published in German and in English on the following sites:
- Excel Ticker Blog, German
- Professional Excel Solutions by Maninweb.de, English
- Professional Excel Solutions by Maninweb.de, German