Images in Documents Shared with Others

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 10, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021

Stephen regularly shares documents with others via e-mail, and these documents include images. These images often disappear and are replaced with a message like "The image part with the relationship ID rld50 was not found in the file." These images were originally inserted in the document using Insert > Image. Stephen wonders what would cause this and, more importantly, how to avoid this in the future.

This apparently is a bug in Word that results in some (but not all) image files being stripped from some (but not all) documents. Some people report the issue with only some types of image files, while others report it with image files that are quite large in size. Still others report that it happens only with documents that are e-mailed as attachments. Here, for instance, are some folks reporting the same issue as Stephen encountered, along with some ideas on how they fixed it:

Microsoft recognizes that this is a problem, and the only solution they can offer is to do what amounts to "surgery" on the structure of the raw Word document. You can find the operating instructions at this Microsoft site:

Note that the instructions involve renaming your DOCX file as a ZIP file and then modifying the source XML code for the Word document. (This is a process that is bound to make casual Word users cringe.)

An easier thing to possibly try is to recognize that, perhaps, the recipient's e-mail system is removing some images from the document attached to the message. You may be able to get around the problem by zipping the original Word document, which effectively renders a ZIP file within a ZIP file. (Remember that the Word document itself is actually a ZIP file.) This should be complex enough that any external "stripping" of images should not occur.

Another approach would be to not send the document via e-mail, and instead save it to a cloud drive service, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive. You could then share the link to the document with others, via e-mail. Still another approach may be to share the document with others via a transfer service such as

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13367) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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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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.

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