How to Anchor Image Files in Microsoft Word

362769 How to Anchor Image Files in Microsoft Word

Anchoring images in Microsoft Word allows you to lock images to a specific part of the text, so the image stays in position even if you add, delete, or move text. Anchoring images is useful when you want an image to always appear next to specific text, like a diagram that illustrates a concept explained in the text.

This article explains what anchoring is, why you might want to anchor images, and step-by-step instructions to anchor images in Word.

What is Anchoring Images

By default in Word, images added to a document “float” around the text. If you add or remove text, the images can shift position or move between pages.

Anchoring an image locks its position relative to a paragraph or line of text. When you anchor an image in Word:

  • The image maintains its position next to the anchored text. If you add text before the anchored paragraph, the image moves down with the text.
  • An anchor icon appears next to the anchored text to indicate the anchoring relationship. You can reposition the image by dragging this anchor icon.

Anchoring prevents images from jumping around when you edit the text. It ensures diagrams, photos, charts, etc remain with the relevant text.

Why Anchor Images

Here are some reasons you may want to anchor images in Word documents:

Keep images with related text – Diagrams, photos, charts, etc often relate to specific parts of the text. Anchoring them prevents layout changes from separating the image from the relevant text.

Add clarity for readers – Keeping related images next to the appropriate text makes documents easier to follow for readers. They don’t have to search for the associated image.

Improve SEO for online documents – Web crawlers rely heavily on context for understanding image content and relevance. Keeping images anchored with related text can improve image SEO.

Prevent images overlapping text – As you add text to a document, anchored images stay fixed in position instead of floating closer to text and covering it.

Maintain intended design – In documents with a specific layout, anchoring prevents text changes from altering the positioning of images.

How to Anchor an Image in Word

Follow these steps to anchor an image in Word:

  1. Insert the image you want to anchor into the document. You can insert an image from your computer files, Word’s online library, or other sources.
  2. Position the image close to the text you want to anchor it to. You can move images by clicking and dragging them.
  3. Display anchor icons. Go to the Layout tab > Show group > Check Object anchors. Anchor icons will now show next to images.
  4. Click the anchor icon next to your image and drag it on top of the text you want to anchor to. The anchor icon will snap to the nearest paragraph.
  5. Lock the anchor position. Right click the image > Layout options > Check Lock anchor. This prevents the anchor icon from moving even if you reposition the image.

And that’s it! Your image is now anchored to the text. You can test it by adding, removing, or moving text – the image should move to stay with the anchored paragraph.

Here are some tips for working with anchored images:

  • To remove anchoring, uncheck Lock anchor in the image’s layout options.
  • If the anchor icon annoys you, uncheck Object anchors in the Layout tab to hide them.
  • To anchor inline images that move with text, anchor them to the nearest paragraph instead of locking their position.

Anchor Images to a Fixed Position

You can also anchor images to a fixed position on the page, so they don’t move at all when text is edited:

  1. Right click on the anchored image
  2. Select Layout options
  3. In the Position tab, change Wrap text to Behind text
  4. Check the box for Fix position on page

Now if you add, remove or move text, the anchored image will remain fixed to the same spot on the page.

Tips for Anchoring Images

Follow these best practices when anchoring images in Word:

Anchor to paragraphs, not pages – Page anchors can separate images from related text if the text moves to a different page. Paragraph anchors keep them together.

Avoid overlapping anchors – Anchor icons snap to the nearest paragraph. Having multiple anchors on one paragraph can confuse Word’s positioning logic.

Anchor important images first – Anchor images you definitely want to keep in position, before less important images that can float.

Check anchors before sharing documents – Review anchors before finalizing documents, to ensure images are next to the right text.

Reset anchors when revising documents – Major document changes can confuse existing anchors. Start fresh by removing or resetting anchors.

Anchor Images Online in Word

The online web versions of Word – Word Online and Microsoft 365 – have limited image anchoring functionality.

In Word Online and Microsoft 365 web app, you can:

  • Anchor images inline with text
  • Align and wrap images
  • Position images precisely using layout options

However, Microsoft 365 online does not support anchoring images to fixed positions, so they can still move around when text is edited.

For full image anchoring capabilities, use the desktop version of Microsoft Word.

Troubleshooting Anchored Images

Here are solutions for common issues when anchoring images in Word:

Images jump away from anchors – This happens when there is not enough space for the image next to an anchor. Try widening text margins or anchors to earlier paragraphs.

Anchor icons overlap – Anchor icons snap to the nearest paragraph. If there are multiple icons clustered together, Word gets confused. Delete and reset anchors to fix.

Can’t drag images or anchors – Unlock the anchors first. Click the anchor icon > Layout options > Uncheck Lock anchor. Now you can reposition the image and anchor.

Anchors not working properly – Sometimes anchors just seem to break. Start fresh by deleting all anchors and re-anchoring images.


Anchoring images in Word ensures your diagrams, photos, charts and other visuals remain alongside the relevant text when the document layout changes.

It prevents images from jumping around and overlapping text as you insert and delete content. Anchors keep images with the appropriate context.

So use Word’s anchoring feature to lock down the position of important images. This improves document clarity for readers, enhances image SEO, and maintains your intended page design.

Just remember – anchor images to paragraphs rather than pages, avoid overlapping anchors, and check anchors before finalizing documents.

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