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: Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text.

Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 19, 2021)


When you add graphics to your document, Word allows you to arrange the graphics, so they are behind the text. In other words, the text appears in front of the graphic. If you later need to make changes to the graphic in some way, you may not know exactly how to select it when it is obscured by the text in your document.

If the graphic is not fully covered by text—perhaps there is a small corner of the graphic sticking out from behind the text—then you can select the graphic by simply clicking on the portion that is not covered by text. However, the easiest way to select a graphic—even if it is behind text—is to follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  2. Click the Select tool (in the Editing group) and then choose Select Objects.
  3. Click on the graphic you want to select, without regard to any text that may be covering it.

When you are done working with your graphics, make sure you again follow steps 1 and 2 (to turn it off), or press Esc. You must turn off the Select Objects tool, otherwise you won't be able to edit any of the text in your 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 (9297) 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: Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text.

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. ...


Jumping to a Relative Section

Navigating through a long document can be challenging, at times. Here's a way you can move forward or backwards in your ...

Discover More

Placing Many Graphics in a Document

Word documents can contain more than just text. You can even create documents that contain almost no text at all. This ...

Discover More

Finding the Date Associated with a Negative Value

When working with data taken from the real world, you often have to determine which certain conditions were met, such as ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Keeping a Picture Title with the Picture

Pictures and their titles go together like peanut butter and jelly. (Wow, did I just say that?) Seriously, pictures and ...

Discover More

Grouping Images Changes Text Wrap to Inline

When you group images together, Word needs to figure out how to set the text wrapping for the new group. This tip ...

Discover More

Vertically Aligning Text and an Image

Getting your images and text positioned exactly where you want them can be a challenge. Here are the settings you need to ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 four less than 7?

2022-01-11 09:38:34

John Hightower

ABOUT AL's and NOT-AL'S COMMENTS: This is not Microsoft's site, but rather the site of someone who appears to genuinely want to help people overcome the inadequacy of Microsoft's documentation for Word. Microsoft documentation for its products is notoriously and frustratingly poor, although much improved from what it formerly was.

1. It's not fair to blame this site for not being able to help you. I, for one, just discovered the site and it looks like a really good source of helpful information and fills in many holes that the Microsoft documentation doesn't cover.

2. It's not appropriate to put down people who don't understand things, especially when they are making an effort to understand.

2022-01-08 11:45:07

Paul Stregevsky

I've been subscribing to WordTips for eight years. Not Al's comment is the most gratuitously cruel comment I've seen here.

Alan Wyatt is devoutly Christian. Let's not sully his pages with words that are unbecoming to his ethos. Whatever can be said, can be said kindly.

IT help requires us to imagine how people of all walks and abilities relate to an interface from many perspectives. I suspect that Al's ribbon is hidden or is set to another tab, and that it's not at all clear to Al why something he should be seeing, remains unseen.

In or out of IT, we've all been in Al's shoes, as I ex plained in a personal essay more than 20 years ago:

For Not Al, I have two tips:

1. Don't pick a career that requires empathy.

2. Be courteous and civil; that way you won't need to hide behind a one-off screen name.

2022-01-05 20:32:14

Not Al

Imagine not being able to understand the instructions like Al did.
(see Figure 1 below)
Here you go "Al"

Figure 1. Help for Al probably

2021-12-02 17:20:56

Sarah Witney

Thank you!!

2021-09-23 18:15:26


On the surface, this seems helpful, but in practical application, it's doesn't help at all. I came to this website because I can't find the right tool. All this advice does is *name* the tool. Of course I need a SELECT tool. But WHERE is it?! How about a picture or a description? Where's the EDITING group? What does that even mean? Useless.

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.


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.