How to Insert an Inline Image in an Outlook Message

Spruce up your email messages by adding inline pictures

Make your next Outlook email more engaging by inserting a picture into the text instead of attaching it as a file. An inline image is one that is in the body of your email, not an attachment. You can set the text to flow around the image, keeping it near related content and improving the appearance and style of the message itself.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook versions 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003; Outlook for Office 365, and Outlook.com.

Check Your Image File Size and Compression

First, you should check that your image is compressed so that you won't have a problem emailing it. Compressing it reduce the file size so email systems can handle it (they often have a file size limit for messages, and if your image is too large, it won't go through).

If your image is large, perhaps because it's the original, there are tools for compressing images. You should also resize your image for email as well. Once you've reduced it to a manageable size, you can follow the steps below to insert it into your message.

Insert an Image Into an Outlook Message

To add an inline image to a message, follow these steps for Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and Outlook for Office 365. See the sections below if you have Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2003.

  1. Start a New Email. Your message will need to be in HTML format. Then select the Format Text tab in the new email message window.

    Outlook 2016 new message with Format Text highlighted
  2. In the Format section, select HTML.

    HTML format button in Outlook
  3. Select the Insert tab. Position the cursor in your message body where you want to place the image.

    Outlook 2016 Insert menu and cursor position in a new message
  4. In the Illustrations section, select Pictures. The Insert Picture window will open.

    Pictures button in Insert tab of Outlook

    You can search for images online without leaving Outlook by selecting Online Pictures, which brings up a Bing Image Search. You can also locate images in your OneDrive account.

  5. Navigate to the image you want to insert. When you find the image you want to use, select it and select Insert.

    Outlook image selection and Insert button

    You can insert multiple pictures at once by holding the Ctrl key and selecting each image you want to include.

  6. Adjust the size of your image by holding one of the image handles around its edges, and then dragging it. It will scale larger or smaller as you move the handle.

    Outlook 2016 image handles dragged to adjust the size of inserted image
  7. Select the Layout Options button (it appears when you select the image) to display choices for how you want the picture to interact with the surrounding text. In Line with Text is selected by default and aligns the bottom of the image with the line of text at the insertion point.

    Outlook 2016 Layout Options menu
  8. The With Text Wrapping options include text wrapping around it, behind it, in front of it and other behaviors. The effect depends on the shape of your image. Select the option that fits what you need.

How to Insert an Image in an Outlook.com Message

Inserting an inline image on Outlook.com is straightforward, though you don't have as many options to format the image as you do in the software versions of Outlook.

  1. Your message needs to be in HTML format to insert an inline image, which is the default state. If the menu offers Switch to HTML, select it. With your message open, select the Options menu button.

    Outlook.com Option menu with Switch to HTML choice selected
  2. Place the cursor in your message where you want to put the image.

  3. In the Options bar below your message and the formatting bar, select Insert pictures inline. The Insert Picture window will open.

    Outlook.com Options menu with Insert pictures inline option selected
  4. Select the image you want to insert, and then choose Open.

    Outlook.com select picture window with image and Open button selected
  5. The image will appear in your message.

    Outlook.com message with image inserted inline

How to Insert an Image in Outlook 2007

Follow these steps to add an image to a message in Outlook 2007.

  1. Start a new message and set it to HTML formatting by selecting Options and then in the Format section of the ribbon, selecting HTML.

    Outlook 2007 showing Options tab selected and HTML format selected
  2. Select Insert. Position the cursor in the body of the message where you want the image to appear, and select Picture in the ribbon menu.

    Outlook 2007 Insert ribbon menu with Insert Picture option selected
  3. Locate the image you want to insert and select it. Select Insert.

    Outlook 2007 image selection and Insert button

    You can insert an image from the web into your message by going to its web page and selecting and dragging it to your email. Drop the image in the body of your message where you want it to appear.

  4. Your image will appear in your message at the cursor location.

How to Insert an Image in Outlook 2003

Follow these steps to insert an image into an email message in Outlook 2003.

  1. Start a new message. Set it to HTML format by selecting Format and making sure HTML in the menu is checked.

    Outlook 2003 new message with Format menu and HTML option selected
  2. Put the cursor where you want the image to appear in the body of your message. Select Insert > Picture.

    Outlook 2003 new message with Insert menu open and Picture option selected
  3. Select Browse.

    Outlook 2003 insert picture dialog box with Browse button selected
  4. Locate the image you want to insert. Select the image and choose Open.

    Outlook 2003 select a picture window
  5. Back in the Picture dialog box, you can enter alternate text, choose the image's alignment, and other options if you like.

    Outlook 2003 doesn't offer the text wrapping in the same way as later versions. To achieve text wrapping, use the Alignment dropdown options. For example, selecting Left will align the image along the left margin and wrap text around it.

    Outlook 2003 Picture dialog box with Alignment dropdown and Left selected
  6. Select OK. Your image is now in your message.