Saving Embedded Images to Individual Files

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 4, 2019)

The Word documents Ian works with often have images embedded. Ian wonders if there is a quick way to save these images as individual image files.

There are actually three easy ways to get those embedded images out of your documents, which I'll explain in a moment. First, though, understand that these approaches work ONLY for truly embedded images. If the images are actually shapes or SmartArt (created with the tools on the Insert tab of the ribbon), then these won't work; that is a topic for a different WordTip.

With that in mind, let's look at the three ways you can get those embedded images out of Word and into their own files.

The Manual Approach

This approach is generally useful if you want to extract the occasional image or two from a document. All you need to do is to right-click on the image and Word displays a Context menu with a variety of actions you can take. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. A typical Context menu when right-clicking on an embedded image.

The options available in the Context menu will vary from system to system. What you want to do is to look for an option named "Save as Image" or "Save as Picture." (The exact word seems to differ based on the version of Word you are using and the characteristics of the image.) When you choose the option, Word displays a Save As dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Saving an image.

Just use the controls in the dialog box to specify a name and location for the file you are extracting. You can also, if desired, use the Save As Type drop-down list to specify the format in which the image should be saved.

The HTML Approach

If you want to get all of the embedded images out of a document, a great way to do so is to save the document in HTML format. As part of exporting, Word saves the images in their own folder. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Create a folder that will contain the HTML document.
  2. In Word, open the document containing the images.
  3. Press F12. Word displays the Save As dialog box.
  4. Make sure you choose Web Page in the Save As Type drop-down list. (See Figure 3.)
  5. Figure 3. The Save As dialog box, ready to save as a Web page.

  6. Use the controls in the dialog box to select the folder you created in step 1.
  7. In the File Name field, specify a name for the file.
  8. Click on Save.
  9. Close the document.

Now you can open the folder you created in step 1 and it should contain various subfolders. If your file was named MyDocument, you want to look for the folder named MyDocument_files. Open that, and the images are all there, mixed in with some other files. The odd numbered files (ending in 1, 3, 5, etc.) are the full-size images. The even-numbered files are the corresponding thumbnails. You can move the desired images (or copy them) to wherever you need.

The Direct Approach

This approach is somewhat similar to the previous approach, in that it allows you to get to your actual image files. This approach will work only with DOCX or DOCM files; it won't work with the older DOC files. All the steps are handled outside of Word, however, so get out of the program completely and follow these steps:

  1. Open an Explorer window. (The easiest method is to simply press Win+E.)
  2. Use the controls in the Explorer window to locate and select the document that contains the images you want to extract.
  3. Copy the document. (With the document selected, simply press Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V.) The new document copy will be named the same with the exception that it will have " - Copy" appended to the filename.
  4. Change the filename extension from whatever it is (DOCX or DOCM) to ZIP. (You obviously need to be able to see the filename extension in order to change it. If you cannot see filename extensions on your system, you'll want to display them.)

At this point you can double-click on the ZIP file and it should open and look just like any other folder on your system. Open the "word" folder (within the ZIP file) and then the "media" folder. You should then see all the image files in the document. (See Figure 4.)

Figure 4. The images in the Media folder.

As with the HTML approach, you can now move or copy the files to wherever you need them. Unlike the HTML approach, however, there are no thumbnail files.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (3162) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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