Office Q&A: Image wrangling in Word 2010

Katherine Murray

We include pictures in everything — from blog posts to annual reports to letters to Grandma.

But easy as it is to insert pictures into a doc, we’re often flummoxed by how to keep them exactly where we want them. This article explores a few of the maddening Word picture-placement issues our readers (and editors) have faced.


Fixing text flow disrupted by an added picture

  • “When I add a picture to my page, it makes a mess of my text formatting, adding lots white space around the picture. And when I add text or try to reformat it, the picture moves to a new place on the page. How can I fix that?”

Word deals with all pictures — including photos, diagrams, drawings, clip art, charts, and WordArt — in one of two ways: as inline with text or as a floating image.

Inline images are treated as if they’re another character in your text, so you might notice lots of space above any figure you simply insert inline. (See Figure 1.) When surrounding text moves, so does the inline illustration. There’s no way to make an inline image stick to one spot on a page.

Figure 1. When you insert a picture inline with text, it moves wherever the text moves.

Figure 1. When you insert a picture inline with text, it moves wherever the text moves.

Images classified as floating, on the other hand, are linked to an object anchor — wherever the anchor appears, the image appears, too. You can locate a floating image (and its anchor) within a paragraph or next to a paragraph marker, but you must use the Wrap Text tool (click the image and select the Format/Picture Tools tab; or right-click the image) to choose how to flow text around the image. Wrapping options include Square, Tight, Through, Top and Bottom, Behind Text, and In Front of Text, as shown in Figure 2. (You can also select In Line with Text.)

Figure 2. Choose any option in the Wrap Text list except <i></div>In Line with Text</i> to make your picture a floating image that you can keep anchored on the page.” title=”offqafloat” class=”size-medium wp-image-11597″ /><p class=Figure 2. Choose any option in the Wrap Text list except In Line with Text to make your picture a floating image that you can keep anchored on the page.

You must choose one of these text-wrapping options to place an image exactly where you want it. If you don’t, Word defines an image as Inline with Text by default.



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Katherine Murray

About Katherine Murray

Katherine Murray is the author of My Windows 8.1 (Que, 2013), Microsoft Office 2013 Plain & Simple (Microsoft Press, 2013), My Evernote (Que, 2012), and other non-fiction books on business, parenting, and Earth-care topics. She also coauthored, with Woody Leonhard, Green Home Computing for Dummies (Wiley 2009), and she writes and tweets (@kmurray230) about green-tech, wellness, and other social issues.