Image Basics for Microsoft Office

Get started with placing, sizing, and cropping

Placing images in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or other Microsoft Office applications is important for creating polished, dynamic documents. Yet, getting these and other objects to behave alongside your text and other document elements can be tricky.

Beyond the Basics

If you're new to image placement within Office documents, your method might consist of inserting them and then using the sizing handles to change the size. This method works well if you're not too particular about the placement or size of the image.

Office applications include dialog boxes and ribbon tools to help you enter exact values. Using them, you can crop, size, or resize images with more precision.

Place an Image

Images for your documents can be photos that you or others have taken, diagrams or charts that you've created, or any kind of image from a stock service. For easy use, upload or download the image onto your hard drive.

Obtain permission to use any image that isn't your own. Include the credit prominently with the image in your document.

  1. Open the document in your Office program.

    MS Word document
  2. Place your cursor at the location where you want the image to appear.

  3. On the ribbon, select Insert.

    MS Word document with Pictures feature selected
  4. In the Illustrations group, select Pictures.

  5. In the Insert Picture dialog box, select the image you want to use and select Insert.

    MS Word with Insert Picture dialog box displayed
  6. Verify that the image appears as intended in the document.

    MS Word document with image inserted
  7. To include an image credit, right-click the image to display an editing menu.

    MS Word document with image editing menu displayed
  8. Select Insert Caption.

  9. In the Caption dialog box, in the Caption field, type or paste your caption.

    MS Word with Caption dialog box displayed
  10. Select OK.

  11. Verify the caption's text and placement.

    MS Word document with image and caption

Resize an Image

  1. For a quick-and-dirty option, click within the image, then select the sizing handles and drag to the desired size.

    To maintain the height-to-width ratio, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard while dragging the handles.

    MS Word document with image resizing handles displayed
  2. Or, to be more precise, select Format > Shape Height or Shape Width and toggle to the exact size.

Crop an Image

  1. To crop, you have a few options. The first is to select Format > Crop > Crop, then drag the wide dashes on the image outline inward or outward. Select Crop one more time to complete it.

  2. You may find situations when it would be helpful to crop an image to a specific shape. After clicking on a picture to activate it, you can also select Format > Crop > Crop to Shape then select a shape of your choice. For example, you could crop a square picture into an oval picture.

  3. Also after clicking on a picture to activate it, you might choose to select Format > Crop > Crop to Aspect Ratio to change the picture area to certain dimensions of height and width. You can use this with the Fit and Fill buttons as well, which resize the image according to that picture area.