Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Choosing an Insert Method for Pictures.

Choosing an Insert Method for Pictures

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated August 25, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016


It is common practice to insert pictures into Word documents. (You know—a picture is worth a thousand words.) When inserting JPG images into Word documents, you should strongly consider using the Picture option from the Insert tab of the ribbon, rather than doing a simple copy and paste. The reason for this is that Word handles pictures differently when they are cut and pasted compared with when they are inserted. When they are cut and pasted they are treated as TIFF files, which are typically much larger than JPG files, even if the original photos were JPGs.

For example, a twelve-page document with no photos takes approximately 72.5 KB on disk. Adding two photos using cut-and-paste techniques resulted in a file that was 435 KB in size. The same document, when the same photos had been inserted correctly (using the Picture tool on the Insert tab of the ribbon), shrank to 146 KB.

By inserting pictures in this manner you can save enormous amounts of hard disk space and communication bandwidth if the document has to be e-mailed. In addition, the file will load faster and you can make edits quicker.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10274) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Choosing an Insert Method for Pictures.

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 four minus 4?

2016-05-23 08:53:28

Jennifer Thomas

In Word 2010 -

I copied the image for 'Breaking Links in Lots of Documents' and saved it locally as a PNG - it's 32K.

When I used the clipboard and pasted it in a blank document, the document is 56.9K.

When I used the Insert Picture path to insert it in a different blank document, the document is 58.2K.

This is opposite of Alan's test - I suspect it may have to do with the format of the saved image rather than the method of getting it into Word, but now I'm curious ... anyone have an idea of why this would happen(Ken E. maybe?).

2016-05-21 22:57:36

Sheila McInnes

I havefound the same as Sheri using Word 2007. Robert's compress suggestion is what I usually use.

2016-05-21 16:33:50

Robert Wright

Since many of the new cameras produce pictures that are very large,I make it a practice to compress all the pictures in a file particularly when I am going to send it by email.

The Compress Pictures command is on the Picture Tools Format ribbon in the Adjust group. I use the Print option.

2016-05-21 11:06:14

Phil Reinemann

I'm using Word 2011 (OSX) and unfortunately Insert doesn't insert from the clipboard meaning you have to take extra steps to create a file with the image and because I document a lot of screen shots (including overlapping windows) inserting an image takes alot more steps and time.

It sure would be nice if MSOffice included "insert from clipboard"!

2016-05-21 07:13:23


I just did an experiment by creating two single page documents with the same text in Word 2016. I then copied and pasted an image into one but inserted the same image into the second one - and they are both exactly the same size on disk!

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