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: Absolutely Positioning a Graphic.

Absolutely Positioning a Graphic

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 15, 2019)


Word, as you know, allows you to insert pictures into your documents. When you insert a picture, it is basically placed where your insertion point is located. You have total control, however, over where your picture is positioned on a page.

Let's say, for instance, that you want your picture to appear exactly 3 inches from the top of the paper, and 2 inches from the left side of the paper. In order to affect this positioning, you would follow these steps:

  1. Insert your graphic as you normally do.
  2. Click on the graphic one time to select it.
  3. Make sure the Format tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  4. In the Arrange group, click the Position tool. Word displays a number of stock ways in which the image can be positioned.
  5. Click More Layout Options. Word displays the Advanced Layout dialog box (Word 2007) or Layout dialog box (later versions of Word).
  6. Make sure the Text Wrapping tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  7. Figure 1. The Text Wrapping tab of the Layout dialog box.

  8. Select one of the Wrapping options except In Line With Text.
  9. Click the Picture Position tab (Word 2007) or the Position tab (later versions of Word). (See Figure 2.)
  10. Figure 2. The Position tab of the Layout dialog box.

  11. In the Horizontal area of the dialog box choose the Absolute Position radio button and set the picture to be 2 inches to the right of Page.
  12. In the Vertical area of the dialog box choose the Absolute Position radio button and set the picture to be 3 inches below Page.
  13. Make sure the Move Object with Text check box is cleared.
  14. Click 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 (8714) 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: Absolutely Positioning a Graphic.

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. ...


Deleting All Comments

Got comments in your document? Want to get rid of them all? The easiest way to do so is going to depend on the complexity ...

Discover More

Coloring Cells with Formulas

Easily seeing where all the formulas are in your worksheet can be handy. Here are some ideas on different ways you can ...

Discover More

Changing Orientations within a Single Printout

Excel allows you to print out information in either portrait or landscape orientation, but what if you need both types of ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Getting Pictures Out of Word

If you receive a Word document from someone, you may want to get any graphics it contains into their own files. You can ...

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

Understanding SmartArt

SmartArt provides a way to add classy presentation graphics to your document. Here's a high-level explanation of what you ...

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 4 + 7?

2018-09-12 04:03:26


Doesn't work for me, so I am wondering if there is a wrong setting for my page? I have a document and I copy a graphic from another document and paste it in the document that I am working on. A few years ago, it would go where my cursor was positioned. Now it ALWAYS goes to the left margin. Why is that?

2017-02-15 16:51:44


Great info!

2016-12-18 06:17:45

Ken Endacott

You cannot fix the position of a graphic so that it cannot be moved by dragging.

If you want a graphic to be always in the same position on the page then align it relative to the page or margin. However, you can still drag it to another position but it will not move with the text.

The Lock Anchor is used when the you want the graphic to be positioned relative to a particular paragraph so that it will move with that paragraph.

2016-12-17 11:58:44


Doesn't work for me. Can't "lock" the position in, easy to move afterward.

What am I doing wrong?

Mac Word 2011

2016-11-24 12:27:57


This does not work properly: No space is created for the caption of the figure!

2016-11-05 06:34:36

Ken Endacott

Shapes and pictures inside a text box have very limited wrapping options.

You would be better off using a single cell table in which you would have full control of shape wrapping. Compared to a textbox it is more difficult to position a single cell table where you want it on the page, but it can be done.

2016-11-05 00:50:47

Mary Anne Osborn

I'm trying to insert a picture into a Text Box. Older versions of MS Word let me position it as you've indicated above once it's inserted into the Text Box. Newest version doesn't; the text wrapping options are all grayed out. How do I absolutely position a picture within a Text Box that already has text in it?

2016-05-20 20:10:44

Sharon Armstrong

I know exactly how to make the drawing move independently of the text in the Word document, but the controls are grayed out. I can right click on the drawing but Text Wrapping is grayed out, and that is the one I need to select something other than In line with text. Why is it grayed out? How can I access that menu item? A quick project is now impossible to even do.

2016-05-03 13:51:02

Sandra Jane Media

If the positioning tools are grayed out go to the Page Layout Ribbon (2013). Go to spacing, indent, left, right, etc. (in my case I wanted my image to NOT be indented so I chose left), then click on the arrows even it's on zero, you can go below zero into the minus and the image will move immediately. Hit save. Voila!

2016-02-10 03:34:11


I have a template created in Word 2010. I have i table in the page header to position some info and also a logo anchord some distance from page left and top side.
When I open it in Word 2013 the logo moves and anchors to the table border insted. It doent matter if I recreate the logo anchoring in Word 2013 and choose page side. It anchors to the table in anyway.
Is this a bug or I am doing some thing wrong?

2015-08-20 04:04:47


Great site, Thanx
Yes it's a challenge but I think many of us do not invest enough to learn properly. Yes again it would be nice if it was easier to find, grasp all these features that are so incredibly good.
I'm using a large document 80 P, font Freestyle Script 24, not italic but just the same slant. And I found out that inserting a picture with "tight" wrap, truncates part of letters on the edges. My fix... change the wrap to "square". I'm not sure but I don't see much difference in the wrapping.
As for pictures jumping around, yes it's like a circus but I'm trying to understand Page and Paragraph anchorage and absolute value. I think the answer in there.
...Word perfect! I thought only dinosaurs use this ;)

2015-05-16 08:14:32

Ken Endacott

An explanation of how Word handles shapes (graphics) might help understand what is going on.
There are 24 shape types including pictures, drawings, lines and arrows, canvases etc. However, when it comes to positioning there are just two categories, in-line and floating.
An in-line shape acts like a character in a sentence and moves horizontally when you add characters to the left, spilling over to the next line if necessary. The height of the text line is determined by the height of the largest character which will probably be the picture height unless you have a very small picture. Only pictures can be in-line shapes. You cannot specify wrapping style or position on the page except using tabs as you would for text, but you can change the picture size by dragging corners and you can rotate the picture.
Floating shapes have an anchor somewhere on the page – usually a paragraph mark – and they are offset vertically and horizontally from this anchor. You can specify the offsets or you can drag the shape which changes the offsets. The shape will move if the anchor point moves, for example by adding extra paragraphs that move the anchor paragraph mark down. To stop this happening you can anchor the shape to the page so that it is at a fixed position on the page. When writing a document it is usual to anchor each shape to a paragraph so that the shape moves with associated text, then at the revision stage fix the shapes on the page.
Floating shapes can be given wrapping styles that determine the text wrapping or set the shape to be in front or behind the text.
When you insert a picture, Word insets is as an in-line shape and in the Text Wrapping tab of the layout dialog box the wrapping style ‘In Line with text’ is highlighted. The Position tab has all the items greyed out. If you click on one of the other Text Wrapping options, then the picture is converted to a floating shape and it may jump around to meet the wrapping options. Clicking ‘In Line with text’ will convert a floating picture to an in-line shape. Note that the ‘In Line with text’ button is not available if the shape is other than a picture.
The unwitting conversion of an in-line picture to a floating shape causes much angst. What category the picture is may not be obvious from looking at the page.
Problems of shapes jumping around unexpectedly are usually due to having a mixture of in-line and floating shapes. Other problems can occur where the components of a drawing have different anchor points.

2015-05-15 13:00:56


No matter how I use the Text Wrap and position, I cannot get my pictures back inline IN FRONT of the text, and displaying correctly.. Grrr, my whole doc is jacked. All pictures are behind text, not visible except for the bottom of the pics, which is where the top should be! They were all in the right place when I copied or placed them, but now - after trying to position a text box... ALL pics are displaying wrong! what is up with Word!

2015-05-08 12:26:19


Pasted a "print screen" into a newly created word 2013 document. It insists on keeping the graphic to the right of the left margin, and everything in the "position" tab is greyed out. Every edition of office is more difficult to use than the last, and has more bugs.

2014-11-28 20:19:43

Derek Sharp

I get this to work, once the select word wrap text around picture is selected, otherwise it can be greyed out. I'm using Word 2013.

BUT I cannot find VBA code to do the same thing. Anyone know how please? If I use InlineShapes.AddPicture filename:= etc etc I can add the picture but no absolute positioning available.

2014-08-26 18:40:44


Another instance where Word is stupidly complicated. WordPerfect is the way to go!

2014-07-06 18:12:28


I had already got to this Dialogue box, but everything is greyed out!

2013-11-07 02:09:02

Bob Kershaw

This did not work for me. I had to physically move the graphic to the position I wanted it. From there it can be moved anywhere.

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.