Working With Images in Microsoft Word

Learn how to open, edit, compress, and more

Photo in Microsoft Word

There's a lot you can do with images in Microsoft Word. You can insert photos, edit them, compress them, and insert captions to better explain the pictures.

Once you've inserted images into Word, you can position them anywhere you like to really customize the layout of your document. Not only that, you can describe to Word exactly how a text should behave when in contact with your images, like have it seamlessly wrap around the photo.

Knowing how to work with images in Word is important if you deal with lots of pictures. The last thing you want is to make a really great document only to have it end up way too large to send over email or too big to keep on your hard drive.

All of these steps are relevant for Word 2016, 2013, and 2010. You can also follow along if you're using Microsoft Word Online, but know that for these steps to work for you, you have to have the Simplified Ribbon option disabled. Take note of any minor differences between these versions throughout these steps.

How to Insert Pictures Into Word

There are several ways to insert an image into a Word document. The easiest method is to drag the photo from its folder directly into the Word document. However, the traditional method is to use Word's Insert menu.

  1. Click Insert.

  2. Select Pictures (Word 2016 and 2013) or Picture (Word 2010).

    If you're using Word Online, click Picture or Online Pictures instead.

  3. Click the image you want to insert into the document.

    You can insert multiple images into a Word document by selecting all of them at once.

  4. Click Insert or Open.

How to Edit a Picture's Size in Word

Ideally, you should format your picture in a photo editing program, but you can also use Microsoft Word to do some simple editing. To resize a photo in Word, click it once and then drag a corner box in or out to make the picture smaller or larger.

If you need more precision, use the Format Picture dialog box.

  1. Right-click the image.

  2. Click Size and Position.

  3. Change the values in the Height and Width boxes to adjust the size of the image (in inches).

    Another way to change the height and width is to do so by percentage. Change the Scale values to do something like make the image 75 percent of the size it was, or 120 percent, etc. Enable Lock aspect ratio to ensure that the height and width remain proportional.

  4. Click OK.

Word Online works a bit differently.

  1. Click the image.

  2. Click the Format menu.

  3. Adjust the image's size with the Height and Width boxes at the top of the screen.

    You can enable Lock aspect ratio to have the height and width ratio remain the same no matter how you resize the picture.

  4. Click away from the image to save the changes.

How to Compress an Image in Word

If you want to use Word to edit photos, or if you frequently include images in your Word document, you should familiarize yourself with the compression options. Compressing Word photos will help you limit the file size of documents that contain images.

You can't compress images in Word Online, so these steps are only relevant for Word 2016, 2013, and 2010.

  1. Click the picture you want to compress.

    If you want to compress more than one image in Word, you still need to click a photo to enable the options below.

  2. Open the Format tab in the menu if it isn't already open.

  3. Click Compress Pictures from the Adjust area of the menu.

    If you don't see that button, look for the small box with four arrows pointing inward.

  4. Pick a compression option:

    • Click Apply only to this picture if you want to compress only the image you've selected. Uncheck this option to compress all the photos in the Word document.
    • Click Delete cropped areas of pictures to have Word remove any parts of the images that you've previously cropped. Word doesn't actually delete the cropped areas but instead hides them so that you can always go back and undo the crop. With this option enabled, you save space because the excess cropped pieces are permanently removed.
  5. Pick a resolution or target output option:

    Depending on your version of MS Word, you might see HD (330 ppi), Print (220 ppi), Screen (150 ppi), Web (150 ppi), or E-mail (96 ppi). Pick one to force Word to save the pictures 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. Click OK.

How to Edit Picture Layout in Word

Word provides a variety of options for changing the layout of your pictures. For example, you can have the text wrap around the photo or you can insert the picture inline with the document text.

  1. Click the image.

  2. Open the Layout menu (Word 2016) or the Format menu (Word 2013 and 2010).

  3. Click Position and select one of the available options to have the picture positioned in a specific part of the document, like the top left or the bottom middle.

  4. Click Wrap Text to decide how text should appear around the picture.

Word Online users can only customize the wrap text options, not the image layout. This is possible through the Format > Wrap Text menu.

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 help reference a picture in another part of the document.

Captions are not supported in Microsoft Word Online.

  1. Right-click the image.
  2. Click Insert Caption.
  3. Pick a caption option from the Label drop-down menu or make your own from the New Label button.
  4. Pick an option from the Position drop down menu to decide where the caption should be placed; either above or below the image.
  5. Click OK.

You can edit the caption at any time by highlighting the existing text and typing something new.