Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Moving Object Anchors.

Moving Object Anchors

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 7, 2019)

There are two ways that objects such as pictures or images can be inserted in your document: they can either be inline or floating. How you work with inline objects is discussed elsewhere in WordTips. This particular tip deals only with floating objects; those around which your text can flow. These objects must, by design, be anchored to something—typically to a paragraph. You can see where an object is anchored by configuring Word so it displays object anchors.

An object anchor is an indicator that shows the document paragraph with which a floating object is associated. You can see where object anchors are located by following these steps:

  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. At the left of the dialog box click Display. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the Object Anchors check box is selected. (You don't need to select the check box if the Show All Formatting Marks check box is selected.)
  5. Click on OK.

Object anchors can be moved (more on that in a moment), but they cannot be deleted without changing how the object is inserted in the document. You can make that change by right-clicking on the object and choosing Size and Position from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Advanced Layout dialog box (Word 2007) or the Layout dialog box (Word 2010 and later versions). The controls you want are on the Text Wrapping tab. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Text Wrapping tab of the Layout dialog box.

In the Wrapping Style area at the top of the dialog box, click on In Line with Text, and then click on OK. How the object is inserted is immediately changed and the object anchor is deleted since it is no longer needed.

Changing how the object is inserted in your document is a drastic step, though, and it should not be used unless you really want your graphic to be inline with text. Assuming you don't—assuming you want text to flow around your object in some manner—you may want to change the paragraph to which it is anchored. Why would you want to do this? Because, in general, an object anchored to a paragraph will "flow" with the paragraph to which it is anchored. Thus, if you add or delete text in your document and that causes a paragraph to move from one page to another, if an object is anchored to that paragraph, then the object will move to whatever page that paragraph is on.

To move the object anchor to a different paragraph, follow these steps:

  1. Click once on the object whose anchor you want to move. You should be able to see the object anchor icon as well.
  2. Click on the object anchor icon and drag it either up (towards the beginning of the document) or down (towards the end of the document).
  3. Release the mouse button when the mouse pointer is next to the paragraph where you want the object anchored.

Note that I said, earlier, that "in general" an object anchored to a paragraph will flow with the paragraph to which it is anchored. This may not be the case, however. In fact, moving an object anchor doesn't necessarily move the object associated with the anchor—it all depends on what the objects positioning is related (or relative) to. Instead, Word adjusts the positioning information for the object. If you want to actually move the object's position, you need to display the object's Advanced Layout dialog box (Word 2007) or Layout dialog box (Word 2010 or later versions) and change the settings on the Position tab. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. The Position tab of the Layout dialog box.

Going into how to adjust these settings is too in-depth for the purposes of this tip, but you'll want to pay particular attention to the right-hand drop-down lists in both the Horizontal and Vertical areas of the dialog box. These control what the positioning is relative to (for instance, relative to the paragraph to which the object is anchored) and changing the settings here is how you adjust the positioning of the object.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7984) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Moving Object Anchors.

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. ...


Multiple Print Areas on a Single Printed Page

Want to print small, non-contiguous areas of your worksheet all on a single page? You might think that defining a ...

Discover More

Listing the Settings in a Template

Templates allow you to define and collect many formatting settings that control how your documents appear. Getting a ...

Discover More

Cross-Referencing Index Entries

You've probably seen an index where an entry says something like 'Obsidian: See igneous rock.' This sort of ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

The Changing Relationship of WordArt and Text Boxes

Two of the long-time features in Word are text boxes and WordArt. You might not think these two are related, but they are ...

Discover More

Selecting a Graphic Behind a Text Box

How to select a graphic that is obscured by a text box can be perplexing. Here's an overview of the different ways you ...

Discover More

Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text

Position a graphic so that it is "behind" your text, and it may seem like you can no longer select the graphic. Here's ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 6Mpixels. 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 5 - 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.