Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Making Pictures Show in Word.

Making Pictures Show in Word

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 23, 2016)

24

Have you ever placed a picture in your Word document, only to have the picture not be visible when you are later working in the document? This seems to be a common occurrence, and there are several reasons for this.

Word uses a "layered" approach to documents. Each document has several different layers. You are probably most familiar with the text layer, in which your text actually resides. There are two other layers, as well. First is the header/footer layer, which contains both the header and footer information that appears on every page in your final document. The other layer is the drawing layer, which contains graphic objects.

In reality, text can appear in all three layers of your document. For instance, headers and footers are composed primarily of text—text obviously appears in the text layer, and text boxes can appear in the graphics layer.

Similarly, graphics can appear on all three layers. People don't normally place graphics on the header/footer layer, but they can. Graphics are much more common on both the text layer and the graphics layer. If you place an inline graphic in your document, it is on the text layer; if you place a floating graphic in your document, then it is on the graphics layer.

What does this discussion about layers have to do with whether pictures show up in Word? There are a number of ways to view your document, each accessible from the ribbon tools or by clicking on one of the View buttons that may be visible on the status bar, just below your document. Most people do their writing and editing in Draft or Print Layout views. If you are using Draft view, Word displays only the contents of the text layer of your document. Thus, any pictures residing in the header/footer layer or, more commonly, on the drawing layer are not visible. In order to see the pictures on these other layers, you need to switch to Print Layout view. Of course, some pictures are visible when working on your document in Draft view. Why? Because some pictures—inline pictures—are stored on the text layer, and this is the layer being displayed.

You can switch a drawing from the drawing layer to the text layer (or vice versa) by changing whether it is floating or inline. The easiest way to do this is to right-click on the picture to display a Context menu. The Text Wrapping option (Word 2007) or the Wrap Text option (Word 2010, 2013, and 2016) provide different options, including In Line with Text.

Note that you can switch a drawing to the text layer (make it In Line with Text) only if it is a picture that you placed in your document. If it is a graphic object that you created with the Shapes tool on the Insert tab of the ribbon, you cannot do this; the In Line with Text option is not available. Graphic objects such as these can only reside on the drawing layer. This is why Word switches to Print Layout view whenever you choose to insert drawing objects in your document—it knows that these are only visible in Print Layout view.

Despite the foregoing explanation, there are other settings in Word that can affect the visibility of graphics in a document. If you cannot see a drawing that you believe should be visible, you may want to check these:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 and later versions display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the screen.
  3. Scroll through the advanced options until you see the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Note the Show Picture Placeholders check box. This check box controls whether Word displays any drawings, regardless of the layer on which they reside. If selected, then Word shows a "placeholder" for the graphic, but not the graphic itself. Set this check box according to your desires.
  6. Note the Show Drawings and Text Boxes On Screen check box. This check box controls whether drawings are displayed or not when using Print Layout and Web Layout views; set it according to your desires.
  7. When done, click OK to close the dialog box.

Another thing to remember is that Word treats different types of graphics differently when displaying them. For instance, if you are placing an EPS graphic in your document, and the graphic was not saved with a "preview," then Word won't display it, but will instead display a gray box that shows where the graphic will print. This type of behavior illustrates that graphic filters can affect what you see in a document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5964) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Making Pictures Show in Word.

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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Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three more than 5?

2017-05-09 19:50:24

Derek Jackson

Thank you, I thought I was losing my mind, my 2010 worked great, but 2016 lost all images. The Option setting brought them back. I had been fighting formatting issues all day, one less item on my list.


2017-04-05 12:21:48

Yolanda

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I was going crazy when all of the sudden I could not see any graphics or text boxes. I thought I needed a Word reinstall.


2017-03-31 17:44:11

Sarah Judd

I am having this problem in publisher. I can get to the 'publisher options" but the options are not the same as in the word document. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


2017-03-19 20:13:57

lydo

Thank a lot, this tip has worked and really saved me....


2017-03-14 05:55:30

Frederic

Hi all,

Does anyone found a solution for the problem explain by Wiley : Since we passed to Office 2016 version, all images from html files or html link in a word document don't appears...

Do you have any solution ? An office 2016 update who correct this problem ?

Thank you in advance

Frederic


2017-03-07 12:19:28

JoAnn

I am working on a project for our school and am putting a graphics package together. I have multiple "layers" of images. Though it shows the images on the screen it will not print the "layered" images. Please email me and I can send you a copy of the Word 2016 .docx file for your help with enabling printing for this document and a .pdf file to show you what is/is not printing. I have tried converting it to a .doc file and though all images are visible in to print there, the "effects" I applied to those images are gone. Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


2017-02-16 14:53:42

Peter Martin

It may have been an update or an accidental short-cut key that disappeared my graphics, but your advice for going to the Options on the File drop-down worked precisely as you said. Thanks.


2017-02-05 23:03:48

Art Stone

Mac OS X Word for Mac 2011. This doesn't work. Only the outline of the photo image/object is visible. The actual image becomes visible if you grab handle to resize it. The image does show up in print preview. You can check "treat picture layers as separate objects" and the photo shows up as a little square in the insert from file option. JPEGS resized with Preview greys that check box out. Finally for some reason the imported file changes from JPEG to PNG when you try to save the photo from Word itself. I never used to have these issues with Word (a 25 year user). The remarks about layers are not helpful. Layers are not that vague. What type of container is the image stored in? That might help.


2017-02-05 00:46:45

BCF

This solution didn't seem to work for me. I still have an outline of a box with no graphics where the picture should be. Any other options?


2017-01-24 06:03:41

Francis

Thank you very helpful


2016-12-17 17:46:50

Ron

The problem word 2007 not printing pictures started after a update from Microsoft for Office 2007, don't know which one though, HOWEVER, have possible solution or clue to actual fix, I used Office 2003 for years and upgraded to 2007 about 9 months ago, problem started about 2, maybe 3 months ago, anyway the solution I found is to save your documents in 'compatable' mode for word 2003, close the document open it in the compatable document and it should print the pictures, mine does, I don't know what the difference is between .docx and .doc but that has something to do with it. I usually print to 'wondershare' pdf then check if the pictures show in the resulting pdf, then I try to print one of the several pictues (sometimes more than 40 in one document) and if that one prints then I print the document in full. ALSO, I recently, as a test, changed from saving in .jph to saving as .tif to see if that made a difference, and it did actually work for one picture test but then quit printing and I only got an empty page with page number at bottom, I just got done printing 5 copies of a document of 20 pages of word document with 40 pages of pictues, which I converted from pdf to tif using a program pdfil, another good program with several free tools one of which is the pdf to picture converter, good luck.


2016-10-24 08:35:01

Jennifer Thomas

Wiley, if you are willing to pay you can contact Microsoft - see https://support.office.com/en-US/.

But please try all the solutions in this thread first ... if you do that they might even even help for free.


2016-10-20 06:13:33

Wiley

I have a new version of word (2016). I am an engineer and must insert many pictures in my reports. When I do, they now hide and I cannot add text, etc. Can you help me? You could access my computer and I could pay you by cc.

I am desperate with this. Call me please.

Wiley
407-908-6257


2016-09-03 01:08:33

John Gleason

This worked for me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT2-iwDW2sI


2016-08-09 08:50:40

Sue Lee

Hi I had already tried this solution which has not helped. I have been left with frames and red cross in top left hand corner. There is small text in the box which reads "the image part with ID rid8 was not found in the file. ATM I am editing a 88 page book with many, many pictures and they have all gone like this. Please help me. Thanks Sue


2016-05-24 12:06:50

Paulette

Jennifer, your suggestion makes sense as I have been having other issues with printing. The other person was printing to the same printer and as I said, had to problems with getting the logo to print.


2016-05-23 04:21:00

Mike Parfitt

After making all of the changes above, I found that I needed to exit from Word (2010) and re-launch it for the pictures that I had inserted to show up in Draft view.


2016-05-20 08:38:00

Jennifer Thomas

@ Paulette - I suggest reinstalling your printer; since another person can print (presumably on the same printer), it indicates a local-computer problem.

If the other person was using a different printer and also can't print on the one you used, it's possible that the printer driver itself needs to be updated, but check with your IT group if more than one person uses that printer because updating a driver can cause them to have to reinstall their printers. Hope that helps - it usually does for us.


2016-05-19 17:33:44

Paulette

I followed your instructions above but still can't get the logo on my form to print. The logo is in the header but I was unable to print your print screen above after copying and pasting it into a Word 2010 document so the header itself is not the issue.

I had someone else print the form and they had no problem. I changed my settings to theirs but had the same result - no logo.


2016-05-01 06:33:27

Kim Von Berg

I have Microsoft Word 2016 - and there is NO Word Options Dialogue Box. I'm about ready to have a nervous breakdown trying to print a flyer I made - and it won't print the picture I inserted!

None of what you are displaying is on my Word!

HELP!!!


2016-04-26 08:45:02

Jennifer Thomas

@Arlene Gregoire - That's a good idea -- it's far less likely Word is going to mess up with a bmp file, although they are large (but just a logo or signature wouldn't hurt).

@Calvin Wilson - I feel your pain with the limitations of Draft view, and that's a good workaround, especially when we're using that view to style a document and it's a PITA to switch views just to accommodate graphics. Using Compatibility settings to overcome that is brilliant.

Thank you both for your input - it's nice to have access to other people with good ideas!


2016-04-25 23:02:51

Arlene Gregoire

I often have trouble with graphics not printing, and it's usually not a driver issue. I have found the following works most of the time:
*Insert new blank paragraph mark at or near insertion point
*Highlight the new paragraph mark and press Ctrl+q, then Ctrl+space bar; this clears all formatting
* Right-click on the graphic
* Select cut
* Immediately, position cursor at new paragraph mark created in first step
* Ctrl+Alt+v (Paste Special)
* Select Bitmap; OK
Note: this fix doesn't travel from one PC to another.


2016-04-25 10:23:42

Calvin Wilson

@ Jennifer

I have not experienced the printing problems you mentioned, but here's some info that I hope will be helpful. If you already have similar approaches, I apologize for the duplication.

Since Microsoft made the mistake of disabling the Normal view, much preferred for a number of reasons, I have used the Draft view, much preferred over Print Layout.

Inline pictures are not displayed in Draft view if the document is saved in the .docx or .docm format.

I use the following work arounds: In Options I set the save type to .doc. If I need the .docx or .docm format, I use Save As and select the maintain compatibility option. Using this approach makes it possible to still use Quick Parts and other features. I don't lose anything by not being able to save macros in documents.

For an existing .docx or .docm, I use Save As to save the file as .doc.

What little inconvenience I might have by using the .doc format and then saving in .docx or .docm with compatibility mode is far offset by being able to see all inline pictures in Draft mode.

In my dreams, I see Microsoft restoring the better functionality of the Normal view so that the behavior of pictures and other features is better. The real world is another story.


2016-04-25 08:44:11

Jennifer Thomas

A common problem for us since moving to Word 2010 is that a graphic (even an inline graphic) will display on screen but fail to print. Often re-inserting the image from a saved copy (jpg or png) will fix the issue -- sometimes it's a printer driver issue.

I don't see a pattern to guess what might cause this, but since we see it often (and the checkboxes discussed above are right by default)I thought I'd pass on our work-around.

If anyone has better insight to the sometimes-a-picture-prints-but not-always issue, I'd appreciate your input!


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