Wrap Text Around an Image in Word

One item that perplexes people is how to wrap text in Word. This problem usually arises when an image isn’t full-width. Sometimes the text doesn’t flow the way we want. This issue can be more complicated if you need to add text to the picture, such as a caption. I’ll admit it took me a bit before I understood how all the pieces worked. (Includes video tutorial)

I like to include images in some Microsoft Word documents. They often help illustrate technical examples. The problem for me was I could never quite figure out word wrap. On occasion, I even used tables to do the layout and dropped the picture in a cell. That solution is limiting so I’ll show a different method that focuses on styles. And this tutorial will use built-in functions and online images so you can practice.

Adding Random Text

In this tutorial, I’m using Word in Microsoft Office 365. And if you’re interested in older versions, I’ve created a PDF document of steps from an older Word version that you can find in the Related section. Let’s create a practice document.

  1. Open a blank Microsoft Word document.
  2. At the top of the page, type =rand(2,5).
  3. Click Enter.
Using RAND function for starting text.
Use RAND to create dummy text
  1. This Word function creates 2 paragraphs of 5 sentences of random text.
2 paragraphs of dummy text
Starting text before image

How to Insert Picture in Word

You can use any image, but I’m going to use an online image because they come with an attached caption.

  1. Place your cursor at the end of paragraph 1.
  2. From the toolbar, click Insert.
  3. From the Illustrations group, click Pictures.
  4. From the menu, select Online Pictures…
Online Pictures menu.
Find picture to embed
  1. From the Online Pictures pane click Cats. Yes, you can choose another category.
  2. Click the first cat picture. A checkmark will appear in the top right corner.
  3. Click the Insert button. It will show with (1) to indicate image count.

Your image will appear between the sample paragraphs.

Full width image with caption.
Both image an caption appear

Resizing the Image & Caption

Most likely, your image is not the size you need so we’ll resize it. What is not immediately apparent is that the caption has its own sizing controls. We’re dealing with 2 objects. If we don’t click the right set, we may end up just resizing one object. You can test this by clicking around.

  1. Click the image. You want to have one set of sizing handles and one rotation control.
Kitten image with rotation control and sizing handles.
Sizing box includes image and caption
  1. From the top menu, click Picture Format.
  2. In the Size group, click the downward-pointing arrow in the lower right corner.
Size group with arrow to access Advanced Layout options.
Click tiny arrow for Advanced Layout
  1. This opens the Layout dialog with 3 tabs.
Layout panel with outlined tabs and Lock aspect ratio checkbox.
Confirm tabs and Lock aspect ratio checkbox
  1. Keep the Lock aspect ratio box checked.
  2. Change the Height Absolute size to 2.5″.
  3. Press Tab. The width value will change.
  4. Press OK.

You should now have a small image and caption with the Layout Options control to the right. The image also maintained its aspect ratio.

Left-aligned smaller kitten image with sizing handles.
Smaller kitten image and caption

Changing Text Wrapping Layouts

At this stage, we’d like to add text to the right side of the image. To do that, we need to change our Layout Options.

  1. Click the Layout Options control which is on the right-side outside of the sizing box.
  2. Click the Square option. It’s the first item under With Text Wrapping.
Layout Options panel with Square text wrap selected.
  1. Click the X to close the panel.

We now have text that wraps to the right of the kitten image. However, it looks too crowded.

Text wraps around right side of image.
Text flows to right of image

Adding Space With Picture Styles

For my taste, there isn’t enough room between the image and text. And you can’t highlight the paragraph and indent. This where picture styles play a role. Fortunately, Microsoft has a number of these that can enhance the image and spacing.

  1. Click your image. The sizing box should show around it and the caption.
  2. Click Picture Format from the top menu.
  3. The Picture Styles group appears.
  4. Click the More button (small arrow) to the right scrollbar to expand.
Picture Styles group with Soft Edge selected.
Hover over Picture Style icon to see effect
  1. Hover over the style icon to determine which one works best for you.

If you played around with the different styles you noticed that the effects differed quite a bit. And while some styles didn’t really increase the space between the image and text, the image effect and coloring made it seem like it did.

Supplemental Resources

Office 365 All-in-One For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
Amazon Kindle Edition; Weverka, Peter (Author); English (Publication Language); 803 Pages - 05/29/2019 (Publication Date) - For Dummies (Publisher)

Disclaimer: Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. I may receive an affiliate commission on these products if you buy. Updated: 2021-03-07