How to Create an Image Map in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint

469595 How to Create an Image Map in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint

Image maps allow you to add interactive clickable areas to an image. Different parts of the image can link to different webpages or documents when clicked.

Image maps are useful for creating interactive images, diagrams, maps, buttons, and more. When created properly, they engage users and help communicate information visually.

Benefits of Using Image Maps

Some key benefits of using image maps include:

  • Engaging visual communication
  • Interactivity without splitting up images
  • Ability to convey lots of information in a small space
  • Useful for maps, diagrams, infographics, etc.

Image Map Limitations

However, image maps also come with some drawbacks:

  • Can be difficult for some users to interact with
  • Increase page load times compared to normal images
  • Need extra markup and code compared to standard image links
  • Positioning issues on responsive sites

So use image maps judiciously based on your specific needs.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Image Map

Creating an image map from scratch can be tricky. But Word and PowerPoint make the process fairly simple with shapes and hyperlinks.

Follow these steps:

1. Insert Base Image

First, insert the image you want to use as the base for your image map in Word or PowerPoint.

Position and size the image as needed on the page or slide.

2. Define Clickable Areas with Shapes

Next, insert shapes from the “Insert” tab to define clickable areas on top of your image.

Customize the size, shape and position of each shape to match up with parts of the underlying image you want to make clickable.

For unusual shapes, use the Freeform shape tool.

Image map shapes example

3. Add Hyperlinks to Shapes

With the shapes inserted and positioned, it’s time to add hyperlinks.

Right-click each shape, select “Hyperlink”, and define the link destination.

Link to webpages, other documents, slides, an email address, etc.

4. Remove Shape Outlines

The shapes will initially have a visible outline overlapping your image.

To complete the image map illusion, select all shapes, go to Shape Format > Shape Outline > No Outline.

5. Test Clickable Areas

With outlines removed, the shapes become invisible clickable areas on top of your image.

Test clicking each part of your image to ensure the hyperlinks work as expected.

And that’s it! Save your Word or PowerPoint document and you have a working image map.

Tips for Improving Image Maps

Follow these tips to create more user-friendly image maps:

  • Use simple rectangular or circular clickable areas whenever possible
  • Avoid too many tiny, intricate clickable sections
  • Add tooltip text to clarify what each area will do when clicked
  • Use color contrast between clickable/non-clickable sections
  • Consider responsive design needs for smaller screens

Examples of Using Image Maps

Some examples of effective uses of image maps include:

Interactive Maps: Make different countries, states, cities clickable to view more information.

Diagrams & Infographics: Link parts of a flowchart, graph, or diagram to related content.

Navigation Menus: Use icons as clickable menu items instead of text links.

Quizzes: Create clickable quiz answer options in a visual format.

Image Galleries: Let users click on products, thumbnails, etc to enlarge the image.

So in summary, image maps unlock interesting interactive possibilities in Word and PowerPoint. Follow the step-by-step process outlined above to add this useful feature to your next project.

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