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: Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front.

Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 14, 2017)

When you create objects in a document using the drawing tools available in Word, each object is drawn on its own layer. This means all objects are independent and can be moved on top of other objects. However, there may be times when you actually want an object to be under another object. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Click once on the shape you want to send to the back. Small square boxes, called handles, appear around the shape.
  2. Make sure that the Format tab is selected on the ribbon. (This tab is only visible when a shape is selected.)
  3. In the Arrange group, click Send to Back or Bring to Front, as desired.

If the Send to Back to Bring to Front options are grayed out (step 3), the most likely culprit is that the image is inline, which means it is on the same layer as the text in your document. You can only arrange the layering on objects that are not inline.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5992) 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: Sending Drawing Objects to the Back or Front.

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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