Adding an image or other illustrative objects to a Word document is very easy, but arranging these objects and putting them where you need them can be frustrating. Luckily, Word has tools to make this more manageable if you know where to look. Let’s do a quick tour.

A quick word about text wrapping

Before we get into these positioning tools, you should know a little about text wrapping. By default, when you insert images and other graphics into a document, Word applies one of two forms of text wrap: «in line with text» (for images and most other graphics) or «in front of text» (for shapes and 3D models) .

When you set the text wrap of an object to match the text, Word treats the object in question as a text character. If you type or paste text before or after an object, it moves along the line and down the page like any other text character. When you set the text wrap of an object in front of the text, the object appears on top of any text and you can move it to any position you want.

Understanding how to wrap text around objects is an important part of positioning objects the way you want, so if you’re not already familiar with how it works, we highly recommend you read our guide on the subject.

RELATED: How to wrap text around images and other illustrations in Microsoft Word

In this article, we’re using an object for which we’ve set the text wrapping to «square». The positioning tools we’ll be talking about apply to whatever type of text wrap you use, but the exact positioning you’ll be able to do will depend on which text wrap you choose.

Opening and using the position menu

In this regard, let’s talk about these positioning tools.

In your document, select the object you want to work with, switch to the Layout menu, and then click the Position button. This button also appears in the Format menu of the ribbon and works in a similar way.

The «Position» drop-down menu consists of two sections: «According to text» and «Wrap text».

The «According to Text» section only offers one default option, and here’s what it looks like.

The nine options in the Wrap Text section allow you to choose a fixed position on the page for your object, starting from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Here is our image with the «mid top» option selected.

Now that we’ve chosen a position, our image will stay there no matter how the text changes. You can remove text from this paragraph, reorder the paragraphs, add new text, or whatever you need to do, and this image will stay in the position you choose.

However, be careful that when you select the entire paragraph to which an object is attached, that object is also usually selected. So if you select and then delete that paragraph, you will also delete that object. You can see that the object is selected because it takes on a gray color and a border.

If you want to delete a paragraph without deleting the object, you can select the entire paragraph and then Ctrl-click the object to deselect it. Deleting a paragraph will leave the object behind.

You can also drag an object to a new location and it will stay in that new location.

Fine tuning and other parameters for precise positioning

These basic presets work well for simple positioning and you can drag your object to a specific location if you like. But what if you want to place two images at a given distance from each other, or leave the image at a certain distance from the margins? Word provides a palette of options that you can use to fine-tune the position of an object.

Select your object, go back to Layout > Position and this time click «More Layout Options».

The Layout window should open with the «Position» tab selected.

Here you can customize to your liking. Let’s take a look, starting with the alignment options. These two options (one for horizontal and one for vertical alignment) control the alignment of the object with respect to parts of the document. We set our image to the middle of the top of the page earlier, and you can see this selection reflected in the image below, with the horizontal alignment set to «center» and the vertical alignment set to «top»—both measurements relative to the margin of the page.

If you want these alignments to be measured relative to something other than the page margin, you can select various options from the drop-down menus to the right of each option.

In the Horizontal section, you will also see a Book Layout option, which is used when your document is left/right page format for printing and binding. The options here are pretty simple. You can position your object relative to the inside or outside of a field or page. These options work in conjunction with the Layout > Margin options, especially the «Mirrored» option.

Complete the set «Absolute Position» and «Relative Position» in the «Horizontal» and «Vertical» sections. These options give you finer control over the specific position of an object. Selecting «Absolute Position» means your object will stay at that exact position no matter what other formatting or text you may change. «Relative position» means that your object will be positioned relative to part of the document structure, so if that part of the document moves, your image moves with it and stays in the same relative position. This is useful when you want your image to always be a certain distance from the field, for example even if you change the field later.

Overlapping your images

Under the Horizontal and Vertical sections in the Layout window, you’ll also find a few other options. Let’s start with the «Allow Overlap» option, because it’s quite simple and very useful.

If you have more than one object in your document and you want some of them to be able to overlap with others, you need to — you guessed it — enable the «Allow Overlap» option. It’s an «whole document» setting, which means it affects every object in the document, not just the object you selected when you turned on the setting. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it, because why would you include it for one image and not others? Like all positioning options, «Allow Overlay» only applies to images that do not use the «Fit Text» wrapping style. Once you enable it, you can drag and drop your images to overlay the way you want.

If you want to change which image is in front of the other, switch to the Layout (or Format) tab and use the Move Forward and Send Back options to overlay the images on the layer you want.

Understanding the «Lock Anchor» and «Move Object with Text» options

The various options for horizontal and vertical alignment (and «Allow Overlay») are pretty straightforward, especially after you’ve played around with them a bit and seen how they affect positioning.

On the other hand, the «Move object with text» and «Lock anchor» options often cause some confusion, so we’ll need a little more time to explain how they work.

First things first: as you start experimenting with these two options, you may notice that not much happens no matter which one you choose. This is because these options only affect objects that do not have a fixed position. When you changed your image from «According to Text» to a different text wrapping style, an option was included that you probably missed unless you were explicitly looking for it. This setting is called «Fix Position on Page» and you can find it in the Layout (or Format) > Wrap Text menu.

When you have the «Fix Position On Page» option enabled, the «Move object with text» and «Lock anchor» options in this Layout window do nothing. These options only work if the image can move. To use them, you must enable the «Move with Text» option.

And this is where the confusion usually arises. The Move With Text option in the Text Wrap menu is different from the Move Object With Text option in the layout window.

So, turn on the «Move with Text» option in the «Text Wrap» menu, and then go back to the «Layout» window.

Let’s start with the «Move object with text» option. This option determines whether the object will move with the paragraph to which it is anchored. If this option is enabled, you can add or remove paragraphs above the one your object contains, and the object moves with its own paragraph.

A quick example will show this in action. We’ll start with an image in text, setting the text wrap to «Square» and the position to «middle vertex».

When «Move object with text» is enabled, the image stays with the original paragraph when we add another paragraph above.

But when «Move object with text» is disabled, the image remains in the same place as it is on the page when we add another paragraph above.

This brings us to how Word marks an object as belonging to a particular paragraph — how does it know how to move an object with a paragraph when «Move object with text» is enabled. Word does this with an «anchor». You can see the anchor when you select an image.

Note . If the anchor is not showing, go to File > Options > Show and make sure «Object Anchors» is enabled.

By default, the anchor is attached to the paragraph where you insert the object, but when you move the object to another paragraph, the anchor moves with it. Let’s say you have two paragraphs: first and second. If your object is in the first paragraph and «Move object with text» is enabled, your image will move along with the first paragraph. If you drag your object into the second paragraph, the anchor will be attached to the second paragraph, and then the object will move with the second paragraph.

But what if you want your object to stay in the same position on the page, but always be on the page with its anchor paragraph?

This is where the Snap Lock setting comes into play. When you enable Anchor Lock, you can move your image to any position on the same page as the anchor paragraph and the object will stay in that position. However, if you move the anchor paragraph to another page, the object also moves to that page, but remains in the same relative position on the page.

So, for example, if you had an object at the top center of the page and you moved the anchor paragraph to another page, the object would also move to the same page where you moved the anchor paragraph, but remain at the top center of the page. this new page.

It’s about image positioning in all its glory, so the next time someone dismisses Word as a glorified typewriter that can’t process images properly, you’ll know they’re wrong. So wrong.

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