Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. 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: Can't Select and Edit Graphics Elements.

Can't Select and Edit Graphics Elements

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 19, 2021)

8

Felicity noted that until yesterday, when inserting graphics, text boxes, and etc. into her documents she was able to view, select, and manipulate them in Print Layout view. Now the only view in which they show is in print preview, and when I select one of the items, all the editing and formatting tools are grayed out. Felicity is wondering why she can't work with these items as she previously did.

It sounds like the problem is that the Picture Placeholders setting has been turned on. You can control this setting in this manner:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and choose Word Options. In Word 2010 click the File tab of the ribbon and click Options.)
  2. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Scroll through the options until you can see the Show Document Content section. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The advanced options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Make sure the Show Picture Placeholders check box is cleared.
  6. Click on OK.

Your pictures should now again be accessible as you are editing 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 (10356) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Can't Select and Edit Graphics Elements.

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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Comments

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 seven less than 7?

2020-12-21 18:16:19

Gary

Sorry that you answer didn't work for me on MS Word 2016.
However, I found that my problem resulted from my image being set to "behind the text" placement. I did this as "tight wrapping was acting like "top and bottom." My using the behind the text setting allowed me to manually break text to allow image. The way I fixed the subsequent inability to select image, was to drag selection by cursor across the image. I then used the wrap icon to select "in front of text." Although a long solution, it saved the usual hours of searching for an answer. As I was reformatting a 95 page study, this was the quickest solution.


2016-05-05 00:26:40

Sue Henderson

Cannot edit picture from clipart.
I tried your hint through advanced word options and the show picture placeholders is cleared, but still the "edit picture" command is not highlighted.


2015-07-10 14:37:06

Bri

this does not work.


2015-01-05 14:46:06

Tammy

I had the same issue. Seems my company upgraded to Office 365 and the photo editor is no longer a part of the suite.


2014-11-22 08:20:38

Manoel Pereira

Nope - still cannot select the image. The tip did not work.


2014-01-28 09:36:46

Raff

I marked the box with a tickmark and tadaaa... it worked!!!

Awesome tip!!! Thanks a lot!


2013-12-09 14:16:01

Jeff

Nope, it is still greyed out and the box was already cleared.

This did not work.


2012-11-01 23:28:39

Pete

this does not work


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