Make Word Docs Easy to Identify by Saving With Thumbnail Images

man at laptop
Public domain

To help you identify Word documents or templates before you open them, Word allows you to save a preview image with a document file. This preview image will be visible in the Open dialog box.

First Enable Previews in the Open Dialog Box

To see a preview image of a document when opening a file, you will first need to have your Open dialog box set to the correct view. To change the view, click the Views button in the Open dialog box menu and select Preview.

A pane will open on the right side of the Open dialog box.

Select the document filename in the Open dialog box. The preview image of the document will appear in the preview pane. The preview image shows the document as it would look on the printed page. 

Preview Images in Word 2003

To add a preview image to your Word 2003 document:

  1. Click File in the top menu.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. On the Summary tab, add a checkmark to the box beside the label "Save a Preview Picture" by clicking it.
  4. Click OK
  5. Save the changes to your document or template by using the Ctrl + S shortcut. If you want to save it with a different name, click on File and then Save As....

Preview Images in Word 2007

Saving a preview image of a document in Word 2007 is a bit different from the previous version:

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button in the upper-left corner of the window.
  2. Move down the menu to Prepare and in the pane to the right, click Properties. This opens the Properties View bar along the top of your document view.
  1. Click the Document Properties drop-down list in the upper left corner.
  2. Click Advanced Properties... in the drop-down list.
  3. Click the Summary tab in the Document Properties dialog box.
  4. Check the box labeled "Save Thumbnails for All Word Documents."
  5. Click OK. You may also close the Document Properties bar by clicking the X in the upper right corner of the bar. 

    Preview Images in Later Versions of Word

    If you're using Word 2007, 2010, 2013 or 2016, the saved image is no longer called the "preview image" but rather is referred to as a thumbnail.

    1. Press the F12 key to open the Save As dialog box.
    2. Near the bottom of the Save As dialog box, check the box labeled "Save Thumbnail."
    3. Click Save to save the changes made.

    Your file is now saved with a preview image.

    Saving All Word Files with Thumbnails

    If you would like all documents you save in Word to automatically include a preview/thumbnail image, you can change this default setting by following these steps:

    Word 2010, 2013 and 2016

    1. Click on the File tab.
    2. Click Info in the left menu. 
    3. On the far right, you will see the properties list. Click on Properties (there is a small down arrow next to it), and then click Advanced Properties from the menu.
    4. Click the Summary tab. 
    5. At the bottom of the dialog box, check the box labeled "Save Thumbnails for All Word Documents."
    6. Click OK.

    Word 2007

    1. Click the Microsoft Office Button in the upper left corner.
    2. Move your mouse pointer down to Prepare, and in the right pane that appears select Properties.
    3. In the Document Properties bar that appears at the top of your document view, click on Document Properties in the upper left of the bar and click Advanced Properties....
    1. Click the Summary tab.
    2. At the bottom of the dialog box, check the box labeled "Save Thumbnails for All Word Documents."
    Was this page helpful?