Text Wrapping in Microsoft Word
  • 3-minute read
  • 22nd May 2019

Text Wrapping in Microsoft Word

From corporate logos in press releases to scientific diagrams in research papers, there are many reasons to include images in a Microsoft Word document. But how images fit with surrounding text is important when formatting a document, so you need to understand text wrapping.

What Is Text Wrapping in Microsoft Word?

Text wrapping refers to how images are positioned in relation to text in a document, allowing you to control how pictures and charts are presented. Your options for this in Microsoft Word are:

In Line with Text

This option places an image on the same line as surrounding text. The image will thus move as text is added or removed, whereas the other options here mean the image stays in one position while text shifts and ‘wraps’ around it.

In-line text wrapping.
In-line text wrapping.
Square

This wraps text around an image on all sides at right angles, as if it had a rectangular box around it. This is the most common form of text wrapping.

Square wrapping.
Square wrapping.
Top and Bottom

Text wraps above and below the image so it is on its own line. This is most useful for larger images that occupy most of the width of a page.

Top and bottom wrapping.
Top and bottom wrapping.
Tight

This is similar to Square but without the rectangular box, so text wraps around the edges of the image itself. Useful for irregularly shaped images.

Tight text wrapping.
Tight text wrapping.
Through

Similar to Tight, but text will also fill any white gaps within the image.

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Text wrapping through an image.
Text wrapping through an image.
Behind

Places an image behind the text, allowing you to add a watermark or background image on a page (although MS Word has a separate watermark option, too, which is easier to use in many cases).

An image behind text.
An image behind text.
In Front of Text

Places the picture in front of the text. This can be used to place a circle around some text or to add an arrow to highlight part of a passage.

An image in front of text.
An image in front of text.

The best choice will depend on your needs, but Square and Tight work in most cases. As such, these should be your default options.

How to Control Text Wrapping

After adding an image to a document, you can adjust the text wrapping to make sure it fits with the surrounding text. To do this:

  • Click the image you want to format
  • Click Layout Options or go to Format > Arrange on the ribbon
  • Open the Wrap Text menu and select the setting required
Text wrapping options.
Text wrapping options.

If you want to use the Tight or Through options effectively, you may also need to adjust the wrapping points for the image. To do this:

  • Select the image you want to adjust
  • Go to Format > Arrange
  • Open the Wrap Text menu and click Edit Wrap Points
  • Drag the red lines to adjust the wrap points as required
Editing wrap points.
Editing wrap points.

The instructions above are for Microsoft Word on Windows computers, but the process is similar in Word for Mac.

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