How to Insert an Inline Image in an Outlook Message

Spruce up your email messages by adding inline pictures

What to Know

  • Select HTML formatting for your email, if it's not the default.
  • Then, Insert > Illustrations and select your image.
  • For Outlook.com, select the picture icon, choose your image, and click Open.

This article explains how to insert a picture into the body of an email instead of attaching it as a file in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010, Outlook for Microsoft 365, and Outlook.com.

How to Insert an Image Into an Outlook Message

Follow these steps to add an inline image to your email:

  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.

    The Format Text heading
  2. In the Format section, select HTML.

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

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

    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.

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

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

    Insert Picture window in Outlook
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  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.

    The resizing handle
  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.

    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.

    Layout Options menu in Outlook 2016
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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 the HTML format (vs plain text) to insert an inline image. HTML is the default option, so you shouldn't have to change it, but to check, open a new message and select the options button on the bottom. If the menu offers Switch to HTML, select it.

    The "Switch to HTML" command
  2. Place the cursor in your message where you want to put the image.

  3. Select the picture icon from the menu below your message. It's on the same menu bar as the Send and Discard buttons. The Insert Picture window will open.

    The Insert pictures button
  4. Select the image you want to insert, and then choose Open.

    Open window for inserting picture in Outlook.com
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  5. The image will appear in your message.

    Message with image inserted in Outlook.com
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About File Sizes

Before inserting your image, check that it's not too big. Compressing it reduces the file size so email systems can handle it. They typically have file size limits 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, you can find a tool for compressing images. You should also resize your image for email as well. Once you've reduced it to a manageable size, follow the steps below to insert it into your message.

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