How to Wrap Text Around a Picture in Word (Step by Step)

Are you struggling to create great-looking documents in Microsoft Word with neatly aligned images and text? Our step-by-step guide can make this task easy, even for beginners. You’ll discover how to wrap text around an image in Word without using tables. (Includes video tutorial.)

I’m taking advantage of Creative Commons images and the RAND function for this word wrap tutorial. However, you can use your text, images, or even an irregular shape.

Start With a Practice Document

In this tutorial, I’m using Microsoft 365. And if you’re interested in older MS Word versions, I’ve created a PDF document with the steps. Let’s create a practice document with a simple design. Or, you could use your own document.

  1. Open a blank Microsoft Word document.
  2. At the top of the document, type =rand(2,5).
  3. Press 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 from RAND function.
Adding random text

How to Insert the Picture in Word

You can use any picture, but I will use the built-in Online Pictures feature. Many come with attached captions. Sometimes, captions can present issues that I’ll address.

  1. Place your cursor at the end of paragraph 1.
  2. From the Word ribbon, click the Insert tab.
  3. From the Illustrations group, click Pictures.
  4. From the drop-down menu, select Online Pictures…
Adding image via Online Pictures menu.
Find a picture to embed
  1. From the Online Pictures pane, click Balloons. Or, you can choose another category.
  2. Click any picture. A checkmark will appear in the top right image corner.
Online Pictures showing selected image and Insert button.
  1. Click the Insert button. It will show with (1) to indicate image count.

Your image will appear between the two sample paragraphs.

Inserted balloon image and caption with toggle code.
Inserted image with caption (with toggle codes)

Resize the Image & Caption

Your image is probably not the size you want, so we’ll resize it. We’ll use some image layout options, although you could use the sizing handles. This method limits distortion.

If your picture has a caption, like the one above, it also has its own sizing controls. Thus, we’re dealing with 2 objects – the picture object and the caption object. If we don’t click the right set, we may end up resizing just the image.

For this tutorial, I am keeping the caption. However, some prefer deleting the caption and adding it back in after the image resizing. If you’re new to image resizing, this may be easier.

  1. Click the image. You want to have one set of sizing handles and one rotation control. In my image, I show 2 rotation handles. One is for the image and one for the caption.
Image with rotation controls and sizing handles.
Rotation handles for image and caption.
  1. Click the outermost border to include both items. You should now see one border.
  2. From the top menu, click Picture Format.
  3. In the Size group, click the downward-pointing arrow in the lower right corner.
Control to open More options in the Size group.
Click the tiny arrow for Advanced Layout
  1. This opens the Layout dialog box with 3 Tabs: Position, Text Wrapping and Size. Click the Size tab.
Layout panel with outlined tabs and Lock aspect ratio checkbox.
Note the Lock aspect ratio checkbox
  1. In the Height section, change the Absolute size to 2.5″.
  2. Press Tab. The Width value will change.
  3. Keep the Lock aspect ratio box checked.
  4. Press OK.

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

Resized image and caption with Toggle Codes.
Smaller balloon image and caption

If you have a caption with toggle codes such as {HYPERLINK press Alt + F9 to have them show correctly.

Adjust Text Wrap with Layouts

At this stage, we’d like to have the text wrap to the right of the picture. To do that, we need to change our wrapping option.

  1. Click the Layout Options control, which is on the right-hand 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 Layout Options panel.

We now have wrapped text to the right of the balloon. However, this wrapping style looks too crowded for me.

Text wrapped around balloon.
Text flows to the right side

Add Space With Picture Styles

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

  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 the Picture Style icon to see the effect
  1. Hover over the style icon to determine which one works best for you.

If you played around with the different picture formats, you’d have 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.

You can wrap text in Word in other places, such as making custom address labels with an image. While address labels don’t have as many options, the layout concept is similar. And you could probably shrink down this balloon picture to use.

Supplemental Resources