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Microsoft Photo Editor icons through the ages Microsoft Photo Editor icons through the ages Microsoft Photo Editor icons through the ages

Microsoft® Photo Editor® - GUI Info

Last update: MON, 26 SEPTEMBER 2011        Created: SAT, 5 FEBRUARY 2011

As digital photography took off, Microsoft saw the need to include a program with Office that was capable of manipulating and editing digital images more professionally than Paint and with more functionality than the other office programs included. Microsoft Photo Editor was the result and was included as a 'tool' in Microsoft's Office suite between Office 97 and Office 2003. It was a basic raster-graphics program, capable of adding effects, altering colours and manipulating images.

When Microsoft announced that they would no longer ship Photo Editor in 2003 and instead supersede it with Microsoft Photo Manager, this caused some controversy, partly because of fondness for Photo Editor and partly because a number of features were droppeda b, but this small furore has dwindled down now and Photo Editor's aging abilities and buggy saving algorithms are now mostly forgotten. The last stable version was 3.0.2, from 15 December 2000c.

For me, it was the first piece of photo editing software I used and I was sad to see it go when we upgraded Office, perhaps it sparked my interest in digital graphic design. I am quite interested in the history of Microsoft Photo Editor, which is detailed below.

Early History and Acquisation by Microsoft


See also: Microsoft Imager, HALO Desktop Imager

When I came to reinstall Office 2000, I realised that the version number was 3.01, so I assumed that version 2.0 shipped with Office 97 and that 1.0 shipped with Office 95. When I installed Office 97, I found that it was version 3.0 and that Office 95 didn't contain it. Further inspection showed me that the program is copyrighted by Microsoft from 1989, but that it was based on HALO Desktop Imager, which held a copyright from only 1991 onwards.

When I first came to research this, I struggled to find much on HALO DI (perhaps because a certain game kept filling up my search results), however, when I came to make a few changes to the page later on, I decided to look into it further and found out much more about HALO Desktop Imager.

It transpires that a then-small software company called Media Cybernetics Inc. wrote libraries to process images for use in other applications. They announced1 in November 1991 that they were working on an imaging program, which would be priced at $139 2. They considered it their 'core product'3 after it was released shortly later in the year.

Screenshot of Microsoft Imager 1.0

The product was fairly successful and was sold by Diamond Computers in 1992 as part of their computer systems4. It was around this time that a second version was being worked on and was released later than scheduled5 in September 1992 6, costing $169. The program was already considered the number one imager for Windows by S. Klein in The Newsletter on Computer Graphics from 19912. Version 2.1 was released by 19947.

It was around this time that Microsoft entered the scene and licensed HALO Desktop Imager for their own use and added it to Microsoft Office 4.2 as Microsoft Imager 1.0 and they subsequently included it in Microsoft Office 95 as ver. 2.0, which explains the unusual version numbering in Office 97. Microsoft, being a multi-national corporation with billions of dollars of assets clearly decided that it could not spare the man-power, time or money to create their own internet browser, so they licensed another company's program and shipped it (remember Spyglass and IE?).

In fact, Microsoft barely changed anything at all, except for the branding and it was not until they created Photo Editor that the inteface changed considerably, although back-end functionality used the old HALO code still.

References

1. "Halo Desktop Imager adds art to desktop publising", InfoWorld, Nov. 4 1991, p. 15
2. S. Klein, Newsletter on Computer Graphics, 1991, issue 19, p. 90
3. Klein, op. cit., p. 130
4. "Announcements", InfoWorld, Aug. 24 1992, p. 23
5. “Graphics vendors showcase wide ranges of enhancements, products for windows”, InfoWorld, Apr. 13 1992, p. 15
6. “Upgraded image editor for Windows adds support for Photo CD, OLE, Twain”, InfoWorld, Sept. 7 1992, p. 15
7. American Institute of Biological Sciences et al., The Quarterly review of biology, 1994, vol. 69, p. 580

Microsoft Photo Editor 3.0


There is some ambiguity surrounding the history of this piece of software, but what can be certain is that version 3.0 was included with Microsoft Office 97.

It includes a basic toolbar with old, but consistent icons and a menu bar. The background uses a cross-hatching design. Other than this summary and the images below, I have little to say about Microsoft Photo Editor 3.0.

Just for fun, I ran the app from my Windows 7 computer, here is a screenshot of the result.

16 colours
32 x 32
Microsoft Photo Editor 3.0 Icon 32 x 32 pixels (Sixteen Colours)
Dimensions JPEG Image (.jpg) PNG Image (.png) GIF Image (.gif) PCD Image (.pcd) PCX Image (.pcx)
32 x 32 Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels
16 x 16 Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels

The following icons were also included in the EXE along with several other non-file icons, but don't seem to associate with a file type. It is likely that they could be either a BMP or a TIF image type, but I can't be certain. Clarification would be useful.

32x32 (16-bit) Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels
16x16 (16-bit) Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels

Click on the thumbnails below to see the images in full:

About Window Infopath on Opening Infopath working

The About Box, the Screen when blank, the screen when working

Infopath's toolbars Infopath's toolbars Infopath's toolbars

The toolbars

Infopath's toolbars

The toolbars

Microsoft Photo Editor 3.01


This version was included with Office 2000 and featured some minor UI updates. In general, there is little difference here from version 3.0.

One thing that has changed is the opening dialogue box, which is now more modern and some added functionality.

16 colours
32 x 32
Microsoft Photo Editor 3.0 Icon 32 x 32 pixels (Sixteen Colours)
Dimensions JPEG Image (.jpg) PNG Image (.png) GIF Image (.gif) PCD Image (.pcd) PCX Image (.pcx)
32 x 32 Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels
16 x 16 Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 Template 32 x 32 pixels Microsoft InfoPath 2003 XML Document 32 x 32 pixels

Like version 3.0, this one also contains the icons mentioned in that section, which don't seem to have a file type.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the images in full:

About Window About Window Infopath working Infopath working

The About Tab, the Screen when first started, the screen when working with the controls menu.

About Window About Window Infopath working

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The Application Icons featured above are also registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.

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Created in 2010 by James Broûn - gui2010@hotmail.co.uk.