Wiki Life: A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

There is a saying, "A picture is worth a 1000 words". I'm sure you've heard the idea behind this saying. A picture (of something you’re trying to describe) helps people understand (or visualise) what you’re attempting to communicate far better than a "1000 descriptive words could".

It’s no secret that pictures are very effective at helping communicate ideas and concepts. Take time to create and format the images you intend to use to achieve maximum impact! Here are some tips!

  1. Use clear (good quality) images
  2. Use an editor to add lines, arrows, etc. for indicating highlights. This makes your images look clearer and more professional. It adds credibility to your article.
  3. Format (compress) your images if you can (think of faster download times) (see the links to good free image editors below)
  4. If you can, save your image "for the wiki". If your source image has a width over 600px, save it with a maximum width of 600px (the maximum width supported by the wiki page format)
  5. You can use Microsoft Word's drawing canvas and tools to create an image. Then snip it with the Snipping Tool (Windows 7/8 users)
  6. Use the snipping tool to take screen shots (Windows 7/8 users)
  7. Only snip the area of screen that is relevant to your article. This makes sure what you are trying to communicate with the image is clear.
  8. Remember, images are not deleted from the Wiki once they've been uploaded – so be careful about what you upload
  9. If your image contains sensitive information, then use an image editor to "mask" that part of the image.
    Tips for scrubbing/masking: use a blur filter, a thick line, or a rectangular box (filled-in). This will keep your image looking neat.
  10. Always set the maximum width property to the actual width of the source image (if the image is 600px or less).
  11. Use a width property that is less than or equal to the width of your source image (browsers generally do a bad job of enlarging an image)
  12. Use pictures wisely. Not everything needs a picture. For example, "Step 6: Click Ok to close the properties dialog window", would not need an image of the dialog box with the "OK" button circled. Most people are familiar with using the Ok button to close a dialog box; it doesn't need illustrating!
  13. Have fun! You can use your images to add clever content to your article – just make sure it’s appropriate. E.g. if your image is of a user properties form, you can give the user an unusual name, department name, office, location, etc.

Free Image Tools and Utilities

  1. Sniping Tool (Windows 7/8 users)
  2. Pixlr (
  3. Gimp (


  1. Wiki: Basic Image Formatting using Pixlr (
  2. Wiki Article: Insert an image into an article (
  3. Wiki Article: Maximum widths for wiki images (
  4. Point 4, in the content section: (

Other Posts in this series:

Comments (23)

  1. Matthew, beautiful article! I liked the title and the tips.

  2. You might also add a useful keyboard shortcut. If you’re trying to copy something like a dialog box, than using ctrl-Del-prtscn will capture ONLY that window.

    This is also useful for full screen apps/ All you have to do as a result is simply resize or crop the image.

  3. OneNote (MSOffice) also comes with a utility that allows to take partial screenshot/snippets
    Steven has a good point on the short cuts, there are more of these useful tips. Eg. PRNTSCREEN (full window) vs ALT-PRTSCREEN (active window only).

  4. Very useful advice. Thanks for this post.

  5. Durval Ramos says:

    Matthew, excellent tip!!! Really an image can be used as part of a good explanation in an article.

  6. Thanks for the feedback guys!

  7. Thanks Steven! Before the snipping tool I’d regularly use Ctrl+Alt+PrnScreen. I didn’t realise Ctrl+Del+PrnScreen worded as well. Do you know if there is any difference between them?

  8. Peter, thanks for the link to taking screen shots on a Windows 8 phone!

  9. Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then one minute of video, taken at 30 frames per second, (that’s 30,000 words per second), clocks in at 1.8 million words!!! =^)

  10. Ed, is that a new saying you’ve just coined? “A short video is worth two million words!”

  11. Davut EREN says:

    Good article Matthew. Good Tips, I like.

  12. Anonymous says:

    You just finished witting an awesome article, what should you do next? Get up from your desk and stretch

  13. Matthew, truthfully I was in technical writing and evangelizing the use of videos amongst technical writers. So I used that phrase a lot circa 2008-2010. Since you asked. =^)

  14. Anonymous says:

    TechNet Wiki dünyasına, makale yada blog yazarak katkıda bulunabiliriz. Bu yazılarımızı düz

  15. Anonymous says:

    Earlier this year I wrote a series of posts about writing good articles. It’s been a while since

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hello most valuable Wiki family,
    I am calling Wiki family because we are really very big family. In

  17. Anonymous says:

    Due to some practical issues while switching screens during presentation, the recording of the screen

  18. Anonymous says:

    Due to some practical issues while switching screens during presentation, the recording of the screen

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