Working With Images in Microsoft Word

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The ability to insert and edit images in Word is one of the programs best features – it takes Word beyond a normal word processor and allows you to achieve results that approach the results of a desktop publishing program.

However, many people will warn against using Word to edit your images. You will have very little control over the resolution of your images and, oddly enough, when you crop an image in Word, Word stores the entire image with the file, but places a “mat” around the cropped area.



This might not seem like a big deal, but it can mean huge file sizes that make documents difficult to share via email and eat up a lot of hard-drive space.

Insert Picture into a Word Document

There are several ways to insert a picture into your Word document. The easiest way is to drag and drop the photo from Windows Explorer into your document. (Yes, it is that easy!)

But the traditional way to insert a picture is to use the Insert menu:

  1. Click Insert
  2. Select Picture
  3. On the Submenu, select From file

Choose your picture

If you opt to insert a picture from the Insert menu, the Insert Picture dialog box opens. Select your picture by highlighting it and click Insert. Or, you can simply double-click the picture file. The picture will appear in your document.

Edit Picture Size

Ideally, you should format your picture in a photo-editing program. But, you can use Word’s built-in photo-editing tools for simple changes.



To resize a photo, you can click it and use the corner boxes to resize it. Or, if you need more precision, you can use the Format Picture dialog box:

  1. Right-click the picture and select Format Picture
  2. In the Format Picture dialog box, click the Size tab
  3. You can use the Height and Width boxes at the top to enter a size in inches
  1. You can also use the Height and Width boxes in the scale section to specify the size as a percentage
  2. Deselect Lock aspect ratio if you don’t want to retain the current width to height ratio
  3. Click OK

Compressing Images

If you want to use Word to edit photos, or even if you frequently include images in your Word document, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the “Compress Pictures” button on the Pictures toolbar. While it won’t give you absolute control over your images in Word, it will help you limit the file size of documents that contain images.

  1. Click on a picture in your document
  2. On the Picture toolbar, click the Compress Pictures button (it’s the one with arrows at all four corner)
  3. In the Compress Pictures dialog box, you are presented with options for the way Word handles your images
  4. To apply your changes to all the pictures in your document, click the button beside All pictures in document in the Apply to section
  5. Under Options, you can opt to compress your picture(s) and/or to delete the cropped areas of your picture(s) by selecting the appropriate box
  6. Once you’ve made your changes, click OK

Editing Picture Layout

Word provides you with a variety of options for changing the layout of your picture.

For example, you can have the text wrap around the picture, or you can insert the picture inline with the document text.

To change the layout options, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the picture in your document
  2. Select Format Picture
  3. Open the Layout tab
  4. Select how you would like your picture to appear 5. For advanced options, such as the amount of space around the picture, click Advanced

Add a Caption to your Photo

A caption will clarify your picture to readers. It can be used to attribute the picture to a specific source. Or it can help you reference the picture in other parts of the document.

To add a caption to your picture, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the picture and select Caption
  2. In the Caption dialog box, enter your caption in the box labeled Caption
  3. Select a label for your caption of select Exclude label from caption
  1. If you don’t like the label choices, create a new by one click New Label
  2. Use the Position drop-down box to select the position of the caption

Your caption will appear beside,underneath, or above the photo, depending on your choice.  Feel free to experiment with all these features and help your documents reach next level quality.