Using Graphics More Effectively in Word

This Tech Tip was provided by Gayle Fink, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Bowie State University.

My inspiration for Tech Tips comes from everyday “challenges” at work. This month, the office is writing various enrollment and other mandatory reports. I like to include graphics (tables/charts/pictures) in reports when appropriate to draw the audience to specific points. When I asked a colleague to insert a graphic, they struggled with the formatting. Their struggle inspired me to share this Tech Tip. Not only does this tip cover adding graphics, but also positioning them for maximum impact. 

Inserting a Graphic

Use the Insert menu to add tables, pictures, clip art, shapes, and charts. The example below highlights how to work with charts. However, the same techniques can be applied to the other items mentioned above.

  1. In the Word document, click where you want to insert the chart. Note: The picture will be inserted with the bottom left corner positioned where you place the insertion point and is sized to fit across the width of the page.
  2. On the Insert menu, click Chart, then select a chart type.
  3. Click the inserted chart, then drag the sizing handles to resize the picture if necessary.
  4. Use the tools on the Chart Tools toolbar to modify the design, layout, and format of the chart.

Modifying Position and Text Wrapping

Here is an example of a resized chart. You can adjust the position and text wrapping to fill white space by following the steps below.

  1. Click the graphic you want to format.
  2. On the Chart Tools menu, click Format. The editing of the chart position is done through the Arrange portion of the Format toolbar.


  4. Click Text Wrapping to modify the text wrapping and select the style. My personal preference is Square. Now the text runs up to the chart at the right. The same would happen if you were working with a picture or clip art.

  5. Use Position or Align options to refine the placement of a graphic. Position sets the horizontal and vertical positioning. Align is used to set positioning with an entire document OR aligning multiple graphics. Here is an example from our Program Review manual. These were five separate graphics that were equally spaced using Align



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Total Comments: 3
Erin posted on 2/29/2012 3:41 PM
This works well and I can see how it would be very helpful in writing reports.
Arlene posted on 2/29/2012 3:43 PM
Something to consider:

Under Item 3 under Inserting a Graphic, indicate you can also re-size the graphic using the Chart Tools/Format/Size and specifying the height and width.
posted on 2/29/2012 5:07 PM
This works well for me. I have Word 2007 and the screen prints look the same. I'm wondering how this all looks/works in other versions of Word?

Am I correct that this will only insert a default chart into the document from a default Excel file? The old copy/paste CTL C/CTL V technique of inserting a custom chart from Excel or SPSS works well too.

There is SO much more to formatting charts (add data labels, color, change scale, axis labels etc.) Perhaps this would be a good into to a series on how to format charts. I know that some of these topics have been presented in the past.Is there a way to organize searchable tip topics on the AIR web page?

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