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: Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text.

Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 19, 2021)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


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 Microsoft 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. ...


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What is one less than 8?

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.


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