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: Replacing Graphics with Graphics.

Replacing Graphics with Graphics

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 2, 2021)

If you have graphics in your document that you want to replace with an updated version of the graphic, you may be wondering if there is a way you can "automate" the process and make the replacement faster. The answer (as with many things in Word) depends on the nature of your document and what you are replacing.

If the graphic you are replacing is inline with the text, and you want to replace all occurrences of graphics with your new graphic, you can follow these general steps:

  1. Paste your new graphic in your document.
  2. Select the graphic and press Ctrl+X. This deletes the graphic from your document and places it in the Clipboard.
  3. Press Ctrl+H to display the Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Replace tab of the Find and Replace dialog box.

  5. In the Find What box, type ^g. This code tells Word that you want to find graphics.
  6. In the Replace With box, type ^c. This code tells Word that you want to replace whatever is found with the contents of the Clipboard.
  7. Click on Replace All.

Note that this replaces all the graphics in your document. If you prefer, you can become selective about which graphics are replaced by not clicking on Replace All in step 6, but instead clicking on Find Next. Each graphic is shown, in turn, and you have the option of replacing each of them with the contents of the Clipboard (which is the new graphic).

When being selective about which graphics to replace and which not to replace, you need to make the decision on a graphic-by-graphic basis. This is because there is no way for Word to determine the content of a graphic to figure out if it should be replaced. (Word can figure out the content of text, but not of graphics.)

If you are working with graphics that are not inline (they are on the drawing layer), there is no way to search for them and replace them with other graphics. Unfortunately, Word's Find feature won't catch any graphics on the drawing layer.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10729) 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: Replacing Graphics with Graphics.

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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