Microsoft Word: Creating Emphasis in Your Screenshots

Microsoft Word: Creating Emphasis in Your Screenshots


Screenshots are an excellent way to illustrate your documents. It gives your reader a reference point for the discussion or training. What can really make a screenshot work is being able to add emphasis to the screenshot to help your reader navigate the information you provide.


Below I have a screenshot of the ‘Insert’ menu where we will find the tools I used to add the circle and arrow for emphasis. The triangle on the menu bar is an example of a shape that hasn’t been manipulated, this is how it appears when you first place it in your document.

The shapes button has a drop-down menu with the available shape selections (see figure on the right below).

  1. Click on the shape you want to insert into your screenshot. (I am selecting an arrow pointing down.) A cross bar cursor will appear.
  2. Move the cross bar to the spot you want to place it.
  3. Click and drag diagonally to place the shape and to create the size of shape.
  4. You can move the shape by clicking on it and when the perimeter boxes appear click and hold and then drag the shape where you want it. You can also move it by clicking on it and when the perimeter boxes appear use the arrow keys to move it. If you only need to move it a tiny amount the arrows are usually best.
  5. The shape will begin with a black outline and if it has a filled center that will be white and opaque like the triangle on the right of the menu bar above. NOTE: The green circle has been manipulated so it is green and see-through.
  6. To change the color or make it see through you need to go to the format menu which you will see when you click on the shape and the perimeter boxes appear (See below).

In the format menu you can select colors, line ‘weight’ (how thick it is), and whether the shape has a colored fill or ‘no fill’. There are also other effects that can be used with your shapes. Things like 3-d, shadow effects, gradient effects, etc. (See Format menu below.)


This is something you can really have a lot of fun with and it is easy to get carried away. It is a tool that needs to be explored so that you can make the best use of it to create emphasis in your documents. Have fun exploring with shapes.



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