Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Understanding Grayscale Images.

Understanding Grayscale Images

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated March 9, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


There are generally three formats that can be used to save graphic files. The most basic method is black and white, in which each pixel in a picture is either on (white) or off (black). The second method is color, in which color information for each pixel is also stored with the graphics file. The third method, and the one most appropriate to traditional publishing, is grayscale. In this method, color information is stored with the image, but it represents not colors of each pixel, but different shades of gray that the pixel can represent. Several different graphics file formats are used to save grayscale images, with the TIF format being the most prevalent.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11224) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Grayscale Images.

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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