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. ...


Discovering Where Word Stores Settings

How to find your setting information in Word.

Discover More

Tracked Changes Won't Go Away

Track Changes is a great tool when editing a document, but the ways that it affects your document can sometimes be ...

Discover More

Running a Procedure when a Workbook is Opened

Ever want to have Excel run a procedure whenever you open a workbook? It's not as difficult as you might think. Here's how.

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

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

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

Resize Graphics Outside of Word

Need your graphics to be larger or smaller than they first appear when you insert them in a document? Your best bet may ...

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 1 + 1?

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!

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.