Annotating an Image in Microsoft Word

How to add arrows and text

Learn how to annotate photos in Word

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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 we will teach you how to add annotations to images in your Word document.

Getting Started With Annotations

Let’s start by inserting an image.

  1. Go to the Insert tab and select Pictures in the Illustrations group. The Insert Picture dialog box will open.

    If you want to find and download a picture from the internet, select Online Pictures from the Illustrations group of the Insert tab and search for an image.

    Screenshot of Pictures on Insert tab in Word
  2. Navigate to the file folder that contains the image you want.

    Screenshot of Insert Picture dialog box
  3. Select the image and choose Insert.

  4. Select the image in the document, go to the Insert tab and choose Shapes in the Illustrations group to open the Shapes drop-down menu.

    Screenshot of Shapes drop-down list in Word
  5. Choose one of the Callout balloon shapes from the drop-down menu. Your cursor will become a big plus sign.

    Screenshot of Callouts in Word Shapes menu
  6. Drag the shape to the size you want, as well as the place you want it in the Word doc.

    Screenshot of annotation on image
  7. 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. Use settings on the Home tab 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.

Screenshot of Format Shape

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.

Screenshot of Fill Color options

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.

Screenshot of Outline options

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.

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 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.