• 3-minute read
  • 2nd August 2018

Microsoft Word Tips: How to Use Text Wrapping

From corporate logos in press releases to scientific diagrams in essays, there are many reasons to include images in a Microsoft Word document. But how images fit with the surrounding text is an important part of formatting, so you need to understand text wrapping.

What Is Text Wrapping in Microsoft Word?

Text wrapping refers to how images are positioned in relation to text in a document, which ensures that pictures and charts are presented neatly. Your options for this in Microsoft Word are:

  • In Line with Text – Places an image on the same line as surrounding text. The image will therefore move as text is added or removed, whereas the other options here mean that the image will stay in one position while text shifts and ‘wraps’ around it.

    Image in line with text.
    Image in line with text.
  • Square – Allows text to wrap around the images on all sides at right angles, as if it has a rectangular box around it. This is the most common form of text wrapping.

    Square wrapping.
    Square wrapping.
  • Top and Bottom – Text wraps above and below the image so that the image is on its own line. This is most useful for larger images that occupy most of the width of a page.

    Top and bottom wrapping.
    Top and bottom wrapping.
  • Tight – Similar to Square wrapping but without the rectangular box, so text wraps around the edges of the image itself. This is useful for irregularly shaped images.

    Tight wrapping.
    Tight wrapping.
  • Through – Similar to Tight wrapping, but text will also fill any white gaps within the image.

    Text wrapping through an image.
    Text wrapping through an image.
  • Behind – Places an image behind the text, allowing you to add a watermark or background image to a page (although Microsoft Word has a separate watermark option, too).

    Image behind text.
    Image behind text.
  • In Front of Text – Places the picture in front of the text. This can be used to circle text or add an arrow to highlight a specific term within a passage.

The best choice for you will depend on your needs, but Square or Tight wrapping is standard in most cases.

How to Control Text Wrapping

After adding an image to your document, you can adjust the text wrapping. To do this:

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  • Click the image you want to format
  • Click the Layout Options button or go to Format > Arrange > Wrap Text
  • Select the setting required for your image
The Layout Options menu.
The Layout Options menu.

If you want to use the Tight or Through options effectively, you may also need to adjust the wrapping points for the image. To do this, select the image in question and then:

  • Go to Format > Arrange
  • Open the Wrap Text menu and click Edit Wrap Points
  • Drag the red lines to adjust the wrap points as required
Editing wrap points.
Editing wrap points.

These instructions are for Windows computers, but the process in Word for Mac is very similar.

Comments (2)
Kenneth Leong
11th March 2020 at 11:38
Dear Author I read with interest your article about "How To Use Text Wraps" in Microsoft Word. I have one query regarding the usage of the "Tight" placement option. Did you manually removed the background of your bird image file- such as say by using a third party software; PhotoShop prior to copy "just the bird" portion of the original file to insert it in the Word document? Because unless you had manipulated the source image file as described above, then your Word document's texts would not be able merge as irregularly close to the object as shown in your example. This restriction would be due to the image's rectangular borders. I cannot obtain your illustrated "Tight" result when using my Mac Microsoft Word 365 application. Look forward to your comments. Cheers! Kenneth
    11th March 2020 at 17:34
    Hi, Kenneth. We have used an image without a background in the examples. If you're using a square or rectangular image with a white background, the 'Tight' wrapping option will typically be very similar to the 'Square' one in Microsoft Word. If you try the same thing with a similar image (e.g. https://pixabay.com/vectors/animal-bird-black-crow-raven-2025562/), you will see a similar effect to the one illustrated in our post.

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