I am about ready to begin putting a biography together. I have separate chapters and will combine them with pictures. What is the best software to use for this? I had troubles with the pictures moving on me the last time I did this. Any hints or ideas are welcome. Thanks.
It would appear that you have faced the challenges of the default setting for pictures in Microsoft Word. It is the program of choice these days for word processing. Most of the genealogy software programs create files that are then able to be modified and printed from Word. I've taught the use of this program at our local Vo-Tech since the "olden days" and each semester we discuss the problem with placing pictures on a page. I am not sure why the programmers believe that when we insert a picture we want it to have text to show up ONLY above and below, and not NEXT to the picture. Unfortunately that is the default setting.
For your project, you'll need to change the way things "wrap" around each picture. This process also makes it possible to place pictures next to each other in a typical printed family history or biography. To change that word-wrap for each picture:
1. Right-click on the photo or picture
2. Select "Format Picture" from the pop-up menu.
3. Click on the "Layout" tab.
4. Click "Square"
5. Click OK.
The picture can then be dragged and dropped anywhere in the existing lines of text on the page. I do not know of a method for changing the default layout setting permanently as we can with fonts, margins, etc. Maybe one of my readers has solved that problem?
Consider inserting a "Table" if you wish to have a lot of pictures with captions on one page in Microsoft Word. Use perhaps 3-4 columns depending on the relative size of the pictures. Then insert 1 picture in each cell of the first row of the table. In the second row, use the cell below each picture to type the description of the photo. Then in the third row, place the next batch of pictures and so forth. Before printing, select the entire table and turn off the border. This will provide a readable page.
ONE MORE THING TO REMEMBER:
There is a TRICK is if you wish to place a picture on a page where there is not yet any text. You'll have to press "Enter" several times to 'open up' the document and get down to the line where you wish to insert the picture. Also, without text on the page, if you want the picture centered, you'll need to:
A. Place the picture on the page.
B. Single click on the picture to select it.
C. Click the "Center" alignment button on Word's Tool Bar.
Of particular importance in building readable books is the use of Microsoft Word's:
-- Table of Contents
These fantastic options more than make up for a little difficulty manipulating pictures. Remember, layout artists and web designers make about $35-85 an hour doing the same thing with graphics, so you are saving money every time you go through the steps outlined in this column.
Happy family tree climbing!
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