Using pictures

On this page, we will look at how pictures can be used in word-processor documents:

  • Picture-importing methods
  • Lining up the text around pictures
  • Moving pictures
  • Resizing and cropping pictures

Methods for importing pictures

You can insert pictures in a document with most word processors. Please keep in mind the following when adding pictures to a document:

  • If you download a picture from the Internet, please remember the copyrights of the person who owned it originally!
  • Image files will increase the size of a document file, often slowing down the editing process; it is best to insert large pictures when the document is otherwise finished.
  • The method for importing a picture affects the picture quality with most word processors; try different methods and check the picture quality on-screen before printing the document (more about this later).
  • The word processor IS NOT a picture processor; process pictures in a picture-processing program before inserting them into a document.

There are different ways to insert a picture to a document with most word processors; e.g. you can

  1. import the picture by way of the clipboard, or
  2. you can import the picture from a file (e.g. a JPEG picture file)

Inserting a picture by way of the clipboard

It is easy to copy a picture to the clipboard, and moving a picture to a word processor is as uncomplicated as copying text from one program to another. Please note the following when moving a picture:

  • When a picture is moved by way of the clipboard, all the picture data does not always remain intact during the move (e.g. picture resolution).
  • When inserting a picture into another program, the picture sometimes gets very burred. In such cases, try the different alternatives in the function Paste as instead of Paste. The alternatives usually include the device-independent bitmap (DIB) and other methods of inserting a picture that can solve most problems with adding pictures.

Inserting a picture from a file

Importing a picture from a file may sound more complicated than importing it by way of the clipboard, but this method actually prevents many problems (such as minimizing or enlarging the picture while printing, which is connected with the picture resolution).

With Word, you can import a separate picture file by selecting Picture from the group Illustrations on the Insert tab. In the Insert picture window, browse for the picture you want (see picture below) and insert it into the document by clicking on Insert.


You can ‘take a picture’ of your desktop so that the picture is saved to the clipboard, where you can fetch it to different programs. This is a very handy feature e.g. if you want to insert a picture of a certain program into a document – or if you encounter a computer problem and you want to send an error repost to the helpdesk. To capture the whole view, press the button Print Screen. To capture an active. selected window on-screen, press on Alt + Print Screen. You can insert the picture into a program or e.g. an e-mail message as described above.

Wrapping text around a picture

Many word processors (Word among them) use a default setting for inserting pictures into a document: inserting the picture on the same level as the text. This may be difficult for the layout, because you cannot move the picture by dragging it with the mouse after inserting it into the document. Word processors treat pictures the same way they would treat any text character, so the picture moves with the text.

You can determine whether the picture will move with the text or whether it is separate, a ‘floating’ picture. If you want to line up the text around a picture with Word, select the picture first. When you select a picture that has been imported into a document, the menu Picture Format appears in the ribbon menu. Click on the Text Wrapping button in the Arrange group of this menu (see picture below) and select the wrapping style you want.


In line with text wrapping makes the picture one large character among the text, so to speak. This is a good alternative for large pictures that fill up the whole text field. The other alternatives will either wrap the text around the picture, place the text over the picture, or place the text under the picture. If you select one of these alternatives, you can then freely move the picture inside the text. In the example above, the alternative Tight has been chosen, and the picture below will show the result of that wrapping:

Moving images

You can move a picture inside a document by selecting it with the mouse and then dragging it to the desired place in the document.

When moving a picture it is important to know how to set the word wrap. If the picture is set to wrap in line with the text, you can only move it along with the text around it. if you want to be able to move the picture e.g. into the margin, select the word wrap In front of text.

Resizing pictures

You can alter the size of a picture either a) by dragging at the edge with the mouse, b) with the help of the word processor’s menu window, or c) with the help of an image processor (usually the best alternative when it comes to the end result).

Please note that enlarging a picture does not add image information to it, so its quality can suffer remarkably. Read more about using pictures with different programs.

Resizing with the mouse

To resize an image, click on it to activate it, then grab the resizing handle at the corner of the image and drag it to the desired size with the mouse (if you drag on the edge of the image, it will be contorted, so use the resizing handle).

It is easy to resize an image with the mouse, but if you want it to have certain measurements, you had better resize it with the help of the menu window.

Resizing with the menu window

You can resize an image through a menu window by first clicking on it with the secondary mouse button, then selecting Size from the menu that opens. Write the desired measurements in the boxes Height and/or Width.

If you only write the measurement in one of the above-mentioned boxes, the other value will change automatically. Alternatively, you can resize the image as per cent of the original in the box Scale. More than 100 % enlarges the image and less minimizes it.

You can also write the size you want for the picture in the fields of the group Size in the Picture Format menu (see image below).

Cropping images

It is mostly wise to crop an image when importing it to your computer (e.g. from a camera or scanner). However, you can also crop images later with a word processor.

Cropping does not really delete the cropped area, but just hides it from view. With Word, you can crop an image by selecting it as active, so that the program shows the Picture Format menu. Then click on the Crop button in the Size group and crop the image with the resizing handles as you would do when minimizing it.