How to Edit, Reposition, and Compress Images in Microsoft Word

Ways to work with images in Word

A person photo editing on a computer with coffee.
lechatnoir / Getty Images

When you insert an image in a Microsoft Word document, resize and position it to customize the document layout and choose how the text appears around the image, for example, have it seamlessly wrap around the photo. An image with a large file size can be compressed so that the document downloads quickly from a web page or is suitable for an email attachment. And, for images that need more explanation, add a caption.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Office 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010. For Microsoft Word Online, disable the Simplified Ribbon.

How to Insert a Picture in Word

The easiest way to insert a picture is to drag the photo from Windows File Explorer to the Word document. However, if you want more control over the image placement, use the Word Insert menu.

  1. Place the cursor where you want the image to appear.

  2. Go to the Insert tab, then select Pictures. In Word 2010, select Picture. In Word Online, select Picture or Online Pictures.

    Insert Pictures options in Word
  3. In the Insert Picture dialog box, choose an image to insert into the document, then select Insert or Open.

    To insert several images simultaneously, hold Ctrl and select each image.

    Insert button for Pictures
  4. To move the image, drag the image to a different location in the document.

How to Edit the Picture Size in Word

Ideally, pictures should be enhanced in a photo editing program, but Microsoft Word contains a few simple editing tools. To quickly resize a photo in Word, select the image, then drag a sizing handle in or out to make the picture smaller or larger.

To set a specific size for the image:

  1. Right-click the image, then select Size and Position.

    Size and Position menu item
  2. In the Layout dialog box, go to the Size tab and select Lock aspect ratio to ensure that the height and width remain proportional.

  3. Change the value in the Height or Width text box to adjust the size of the image in inches.

    To change the height and width by percentage, go to the Scale section and change the Height or Width value. For example, make the image 75% or 120% of the size it was.

    Size tab of the Layout dialog box
  4. Select OK.

How to Compress an Image in Word

Compressing photos in Word reduces the file size of documents that contain images.

Images cannot be compressed in Word Online.

  1. Select the picture you want to compress.

    To compress all the images in a Word document, select any photo.

  2. Go to the Picture Format tab and select Compress Pictures.

  3. In the Compress Pictures dialog box, select Apply only to this picture to compress only the selected image. Clear the Apply only to this picture check box to compress all the photos in the Word document.

  4. Select Delete cropped areas of pictures to remove the parts of the images that were cropped.

    Cropped areas are hidden so that you can undo the crop. When cropped areas are deleted, file size is reduced because cropped pieces are permanently removed.

    Compress Pictures options
  5. In the Resolution section, choose a resolution or target output option to compress the image and save it with a specific number of pixels per inch, which indicates the picture quality. If you're not sure what to select, choose Use default resolution or Use document resolution.

  6. Select OK.

How to Edit the Picture Layout in Word

Word provides a variety of options that change the layout of pictures. For example, have the text wrap around the photo or insert the picture inline with the document text.

To change how the image appears in the document, select the image, then go to the Layout tab. In Word 2013 and 2010, go to the Format tab. In the Arrange group, you'll find options that allow for more precise placement of the image and the content that surrounds it.

  • Select Position, then choose where the image should appear on the page.
  • Select Wrap Text, then choose how the text should flow around the image.

Hover over an option to see a preview of how the layout or text wrapping will appear in the document.

In Word Online, you can only customize the wrap text options, not the image layout. To make this adjustment, select Format > Wrap Text.

How to Add a Caption to a Photo in Word

A caption clarifies your picture to readers. It can be used to attribute the photo to a specific source or to reference a picture in another part of the document.

Captions are not supported in Microsoft Word Online.

To add a caption, right-click the image and select Insert Caption. In the Caption dialog box, enter a caption, then choose the type of label and the position of the caption. Select Numbering to configure automatic captioning based on a specific number style or chapter number.

Caption options in Word

To edit the caption, highlight the text and type a new caption.