Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Turning On Picture Placeholders.

Turning on Picture Placeholders

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 18, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


If you are working with a document that has many graphics, and you don't have the latest and greatest fastest computer, you have probably noticed that Word slows down quite a bit when displaying the graphics. This can be distracting as you lose your train of thought waiting for the screen drawing to catch up to the scrolling.

You can speed up the display of your document by using picture placeholders. This results in Word displaying boxes where your graphics would normally appear. To turn on picture placeholders, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version, display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll down to the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  5. Click to turn on the Show Picture Placeholders check box.
  6. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8619) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Turning On Picture Placeholders.

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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