Adding Images in Microsoft Word
  • 4-minute read
  • 24th April 2019

Adding Images in Microsoft Word

From company logos to detailed scientific illustrations, there are many reasons to add an image to a Microsoft Word document. But how does this work? And how can you ensure your finished document looks professional? Check out our guide below for a few tips.

Adding Images in Microsoft Word

You have three main options for adding images in Microsoft Word:

  1. Adding an image from your computer
  2. Adding an image from the internet
  3. Using the ‘Shapes’ and ‘SmartArt’ available via MS Word

You can access all these options by going to Insert > Illustrations on the main ribbon. This tab is also where you can find options for adding charts and tables to your document.

The Illustrations section of the ribbon.
The Illustrations section of the ribbon.

1. Adding an Image from Your Computer

If you are adding images from your own computer:

  • Place the cursor where you want to add a picture
  • Go to Insert > Illustrations
  • Click Pictures to open a new window
  • Find and select the image you want to use on your computer
  • Click Insert

This will add the picture (full size) in the place selected. You can also add an image from your computer by dragging the thumbnail into the document.

2. Adding an Image from the Internet

This option lets you import an image directly from the internet. To do so:

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  • Select where the image should go with the cursor
  • Go to Insert > Illustrations
  • Click Online Pictures
  • Search for a picture using Bing Image Search (keep Creative Commons Only selected if you will be using the image for commercial purposes)
  • Select the image(s) you want to use and click Insert
Selecting an online picture.
Selecting an online picture.

This will add the selected image to your document. It will even add a makeshift caption, including the licence for the picture. However, make sure you’re familiar with the rules about using copyrighted and Creative Commons images before you add other people’s pictures to your document.

3. Shapes and SmartArt

For simple images, such as flow charts or arrows, it may be easier to use the ‘Shapes’ and ‘SmartArt’ options in Microsoft Word. These are pre-set graphics that you can add at the click of a button:

  • The Shapes include arrows, boxes, speech bubbles and other basic geometrical shapes and graphics. You can access these by going to Insert > Illustrations > Shapes. You will then need to click and drag to set the dimensions of the shape selected.
  • SmartArt uses predesigned combinations of the graphics from the ‘Shapes’ menu. This allows you to add an entire flowchart in one go, for example, which you can then adjust as required.

These options offer a simple way to add visual elements to your document.

SmartArt options.
SmartArt options.

Formatting Images

We won’t go into all the image formatting options available in Microsoft Word here. However, there are two main factors to consider when adding images to a document:

  • Image size and position – You can resize an image by clicking and dragging the circles at its edges. To move an image, moreover, you can click it and drag it around the document.
  • Text wrapping – This controls how the image is positioned in relation to the text. You can access these settings by clicking the image and going to Format > Arrange > Wrap Text.
You can also access image layout options by clicking an image and selecting the icon that appears next to it.
You can also access image layout options by clicking an image and selecting the icon that appears next to it.

These options will help ensure the image looks tidy on the page. To remove an image from a document, meanwhile, simply select it and hit delete or backspace on your keyboard.

Comments (5)
20th January 2020 at 10:31
I knew some of this but the whole flow chart in smartart was good to know about
Sonia Ross
4th June 2020 at 15:40
This was interesting and useful to me.
Peter Hodge
2nd September 2020 at 17:18
On Word after inserting your image, choose the ‘File’ or ‘Page Layout’ tab, click the tiny ‘dog’ icon called ‘word rap’ and choose ‘square’ . You can now move the image to wherever you want on the page by click and dragging the image.
    3rd September 2020 at 08:59
    Hi, Peter. You can actually click and drag an image with any of the text wrapping options other than 'In Line with Text'. We have a full post on how to use the text wrapping in Word here:
Peter Hodge
2nd September 2020 at 17:24
I should have said 'wrap text not 'word wrap' for moving images freehand.

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