Annotating an Image in Microsoft Word

Learn How to Add Arrows and Text

Annotated Fingerprint
Andrey Prokhorov on Getty Images

If your Word document has images, you can add annotations to make them easier to understand. Adding annotations to these images allows you to direct your audience to a specific area of the graphic, and you can even add text descriptions, too! Today I will teach you how to add annotations to images in your Word document.

Getting Started with Annotations

Let’s start by inserting an image. Go to “Insert” then click on “Illustrations” then click on “Pictures.” You will see the “Insert Picture” menu. Go to the file folder that contains the image you want. Click it and hit “Insert.” Now click on the image and go to “Insert” then click on “Illustrations” then click on “Shapes.”

Choose one of the “Annotation balloon” shapes from the drop-down menu. Your cursor will become a big plus sign. Click on the image and drag it to the size you want, as well as the place you want it in the Word doc.

Now that you’ve sized the annotation balloon shape, your cursor will automatically hover in the center of the shape so you can begin typing your annotated text.  After you have entered your text, you are ready to customize it to suit your needs.

Basic Themes and Customization of Appearance

You can customize the formatting of the text (font, font size, font style) by highlighting the text and using the mini toolbar pop-up menu. If your mini toolbar has been disabled, use the “Home” tab’s toolbar to make the changes to your annotated text.

You can also customize the fill and outline colors. To change the fill color, hover your cursor on the edge of the annotation balloon shape so it turns into a crosshair symbol. Right-click and choose “Fill” from the pop-up menu.

Choose the color you want (Theme or Standard,) or choose a custom color by clicking “More Fill Colors.” Here you can play around with different features such as “Gradient,” “Texture,” or “Picture.”

Now change the outline color by once again right-clicking on the edge of the annotation balloon shape and choosing “Outline.” Choose a color (Theme or Standard,) “No Outline,” or “Select Outline Colors” for more color options. Change the “Weight” of the solid line or turn it into “Dashes.”

Repositioning and Resizing

You can reposition the annotation balloon shape by hovering your cursor over the edge of it so that it turns into a crosshair again. Click and drag to move the annotation balloon shape to a new location.

You may have to relocate the annotation balloon arrow as well. Just hover your cursor over the annotation balloon shape to bring up the crosshair and click and select the annotation balloon. Move the cursor over the annotation balloon arrow’s handle so it turns into an arrow.

Now click and drag to relocate it. You can use the other handles to resize the annotation balloon shape. Hovering your cursor over the handle should turn it into a double-ended arrow, enabling you to resize the annotation balloon shape by clicking and dragging. Feel free to play around with other shapes, lines, and text by going to “Shapes” then click on “Insert.” 

Wrapping Up

After playing with the settings and experimenting with different combinations, you will soon master the art of annotating your images.  This will help you to create more professional presentations and documents for work and school.