Position pictures, text boxes, shapes on the page

Word 365
Word offers many useful features for working with various objects, such as images, photographs, text boxes, shapes, WordArt objects. All visual objects, excluding tables and equations, are figures in Microsoft Word. One of the most challenging steps in formatting objects is placing them with the text content. The Layout dialog box controls the positioning of figures.

Position images, text boxes, shapes on the page

Word attaches the figure to the paragraph at the current cursor position when you insert a figure. However, you can move the visual object independently of the text and place it anywhere on the page.

To change the position, on the Picture Format (Graphics Format, Shape Format) tab, in the Arrange group, click the Position button:

Position button in Word 365
  • In Line with Text places an object in the paragraph on the same line as the surrounding text
  • Position in Top Left with Square Text Wrapping places a figure in the upper left corner of the document page
  • Position in Top Center with Square Text Wrapping
  • Position in Top Right with Square Text Wrapping
  • Position in Middle Left with Square Text Wrapping
  • Position in Middle Center with Square Text Wrapping places a picture in the center of the document page
  • Position in Middle Right with Square Text Wrapping
  • Position in Bottom Left with Square Text Wrapping
  • Position in Bottom Center with Square Text Wrapping
  • Position in Bottom Right with Square Text Wrapping places a picture in the lower right corner of the document page

Using these options, position the object in a specific location relative to the page margins.

Use the anchor

When changing the text wrapping style from the In Line with Text to another one, Word adds an anchor to the object. In other words, all floating figures are anchored. Select the picture to see its anchor indicated by a small anchor icon Object anchors in Word 365 (see how to display non-printing characters in a Word document).

Attention! The anchor and the figure are always on the same page but not in the same place on the page.

By default, the anchor is positioned at the beginning of the nearest paragraph above the upper-left corner of the figure. When you move the object across the page, the anchor moves, using the same logic to place the anchor.

Also, you can select the anchor and drag it to a new location on the page.


Change the layout

To choose additional options for positioning an object, choose More Layout Options... from the dropdown list:

In the Layout dialog box, on the Position tab:

Position tab in Layout dialog box Word 365

Note: The available positions vary based on the selected text-wrapping option.

  • In the Horizontal section, specify that a figure is positioned horizontally:
    • Alignment places the object to the Left, Center, or Right relative to:
      • Margin
      • Page
      • Column
      • Character
      • Left Margin
      • Right Margin
      • Inside Margin
      • Outside Margin

      For example:

      • Alignment to the Left relative to Margin:
        Alignment to the Left relative to Margin in Word 365
      • Alignment to the Left relative to Page:
        Alignment to the Left relative to Page in Word 365
    • Book layout defines where the figure appears on odd (large left margin) or even (large right margin) pages. You can position figures relative to the Inside or Outside of the Margin or Page.

      This option is useful if you use the Mirrored margins.

      For example, Book layout Inside of Margin:

      The odd page The even page
      Book layout Inside of Margin in Word 365
      Book layout Inside of Margin in Word 365
    • Absolute position specifies the exact distance to the right of:
      • Margin
      • Page
      • Column
      • Character
      • Left Margin
      • Right Margin
      • Inside Margin
      • Outside Margin

      Measurements can be positive or negative. The figure will remain in the same position regardless of formatting changes.

      For example:

      • The Absolute position of -5 inches to the right of Right Margin:
        Absolute position of -5 inches to the right of Right Margin in Word 365
      • The Absolute position of 4 inches to the right of Page:
        Absolute position of 4 inches to the right of Page in Word 365
    • Relative position specifies a percentage of the distance relative to:
      • Margin
      • Page
      • Left Margin
      • Right Margin
      • Inside Margin
      • Outside Margin

      For example, Relative position of 20% relative to Margin:

      Relative position of 20% relative to Margin in Word 365

      Note: 8.5 inches page with 1-inch margins in each side = 6.5 inches * 20% = 1.3 inch

  • In the Vertical section, specify that an object is positioned vertically:
    • Alignment allows to set the object to the Top, Centered, Bottom, Inside, or Outside relative to:
      • Margin
      • Line
      • Top Margin
      • Bottom Margin
      • Inside Margin
      • Outside Margin

      For example, Alignment to the Top relative to Margin:

      Alignment to the Top relative to Margin in Word 365
    • Absolute position specifies the exact distance to the right of:
      • Margin
      • Page
      • Paragraph
      • Line
      • Top Margin
      • Bottom Margin
      • Inside Margin
      • Outside Margin

      Measurements can be positive or negative. The figure will remain in the same position regardless of formatting changes.

      For example:

      • The Absolute position of 3 inches to the right of Line:
        Absolute position of 3 inches to the right of Line in Word 365
      • The Absolute position of -7 inches to the right of Bottom Margin:
        Absolute position of -7 inches to the right of Bottom Margin in Word 365
    • Relative position specifies a percentage of the distance relative to:
      • Margin
      • Page
      • Top Margin
      • Bottom Margin
      • Inside Margin
      • Outside Margin

      For example, Relative position of 25% relative to Page:

      Relative position of 25% relative to Page in Word 365

      Note: 11 inches page * 25% = 2.75 inches

Note: It is impossible to fix a figure on the page.

  • In the Options section:
    • Move object with text moves the figure along with the text in which it is located.

      If this option is selected, the picture moves with a paragraph (anchored to a paragraph). When you delete or add any context before that paragraph, the figure will move with it.

      If the Move object with text option is deselected, the picture is anchored to the page location. After deleting or adding context before the anchor, except when the paragraph moves to the next page - the figure moves and keeps its position relative to the page.

      Note: This option works only for floating figures (see Text Wrapping for more details).

      For example:

      • Before moving:
        Before moving in Word 365
      • After moving with the selected Move object with text check box:
        Move object with text in Word 365
      • After moving with the deselected Move object with text check box:
        Don't move object with text in Word 365

      When you select this option, the horizontal and vertical alignment will change to Absolute positions relative to the margin (horizontal) and paragraph (vertical).

    • Lock anchor keeps the anchor at the same place (at the paragraph) when the figure is removed. Word changes the anchor symbol to the locked anchor Locked anchor in Word 365.

      The anchor symbol will remain to the left of the start of the anchored paragraph, regardless of the picture position.

      For example:

      • Before moving:
        Before moving in Word 365
      • After moving with the selected Lock anchor check box:
        Moving with Locked anchor in Word 365

      Note: An example is shown with hidden Headers and Footers.

      However, if you select and drag a paragraph to another page, the picture shifts to another page.

    • Allow overlap allows to layer figures on top of each other.

      For example:

      Allow overlap in Word 365

      To easily work with such figures, open the Selection pane. To change which figure in front or behind another one, use the Bring Forward or Send Backward buttons in the Arrange group on the Picture Format (Graphics Format, Shape Format) tab:

      Bring Forward or Send Backward buttons in Word 365
    • Layout in table cell is the option from the older versions of Word and older file formats.

      For example, in a *.doc file, you can’t put an image whose text wrapping style is set to Square inside a table cell unless the Layout in table cell option is selected:

      Layout in table cell in Word 365

To align a figure on the page simpler, see snap an object to the Grid or a Shape.


Main features of the anchor

  • The anchor is related to the paragraph, not words, characters, or other objects.
  • When you select the text where the figure is anchored, the figure also is highlighted.
  • If you move or delete the text where the figure is anchored, the figure will also be moved or deleted.
  • If the paragraph with the anchor is pushed to the next page, the anchored figure also jumps to the next page, even if the figure is located above the anchor.

Delete an anchor

The anchor cannot be deleted. An anchor is a feature of the floating figure.

If the anchor is visible, the figure is selected, and pressing the Delete key will delete the figure and anchor.

Select the figure and change the text wrapping style to the In Line with Text to remove the anchor. The figure will cease floating, and Word will stop showing its anchor when you select this figure.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information you’ve provided to them or they’ve collected from your use of their services.

Learn more