You don’t need to employ expensive image editing packages for simple tasks like resizing and cropping images if you own a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 – the included Microsoft Picture Manager can do the task for you.

To begin, find the image you want to adjust in Windows Explorer (this might be in your My Pictures folder, for instance) and right-click to select the context menu. Use Open with > Microsoft Office 2010 to launch the application.

The crop and resize tools are both available via the Picture menu – we’ll begin with Crop…, which will allow you to shave down the sides of the image and potentially focus on an entirely different subject.

Easily crop images in Microsoft Office Picture Manager

With the Crop handles you can drag the edges of the image to reduce the dimensions or you can enter specific values into the Crop menu; until you confirm by clicking OK (found just below information about the original and current pixel width and height) you will be able to move the cropped section around the original image.

Easily resize images in Microsoft Office Picture Manager

Meanwhile the Resize… tool gives you several options for applying new dimensions to the image. You might choose from several Predefined width x height options such as for the web or email, or you prefer to specify a Custom width x height. Note that your image will remain “aspect locked”, so if you attempt to resize a 640×480 image to 300×300, the actual image will in fact be sized by the horizontal (width) value. Finally you might choose to reduce the image by a Percentage of original width x height. Whichever option you choose, nothing will be confirmed until you check the Size setting summary and click OK.

Export edited images from Microsoft Office Picture Manager

Any changes you make can be undone using the Edit > Undo option or pressing CTRL+Z. Changes to images can be retained by using the Save button or File > Export.

This is a great way of taking advantage of tools you already own, and the relative speed with which you can use this application makes it ideal for quick image editing when uploading images to Facebook, Twitter or even when blogging.