How do I organise a lot of pictures on a page?

How do I organise a lot of pictures on a page?

Combining words and pictures 3

No, you aren’t imagining things — that is a 3. Combining words and pictures 1 (which explains how to make text wrap around pictures in a variety of ways) and Combining words and pictures 2 (which explains why pictures sometimes jump around and how to stop them doing so) appear as part of the Word tips and tricks strand of the LibroEditing blog.

Putting your text straight on to the page and then using the different sorts of text wrapping available is the best way of doing things if you have a lot of text and a few pictures. But what if you have more pictures than text? Or want to mix them up a bit more than the basic options allow – for example making sure that some text is on the left of a picture and some on the right? Clever use of section breaks and column layout can do it, but I think this way is much easier.

How do I use a table to arrange text and pictures?


I’m going to use as an example the picture round for a quiz. We’ve too many rows to use the automatic positioning options (even if we don’t want to include a title and instructions) and our little bit of text is very spread out, so to keep it in order using tabs and returns would be a bit tricky. So I’m going to use a table.

Step 1 – Insert the table

I’m going to insert a table after my first couple of lines of typing using the Insert table grid from the Tables group of the Insert ribbon.

Insert Ribbon, Table menu with 3x4 table selected

(Incidentally, it’s not usually a good idea to put a table or picture into a document before any text because it can be a bit tricky to get text to go above it later on.) I’m not going to bother getting them to the right size just yet – you’ll see why later.

Step 2 – Add the text

I’m going to put the question numbers in the same cells as the pictures because I want to show you how they work together, so I’m going to put those in next. If you are going to keep your text and pictures in separate boxes, then the order is less important, so I haven’t bothered with the two at the bottom yet.

Title and table with numbered cells

Step 3 – Insert the pictures

So now, with the cursor after the number in the first cell (box), I insert the picture I want using Insert|Illustration and pick the picture from the web or a file or wherever else I want. Notice that the picture is inserted in line with the text by default.

Layout Options menu from rainbow-on-lined-paper icon in Word 2013

But look what’s happened with the next.

Tall picture in second cell so number has moved to the bottom

The number’s at the bottom. Why? Remember that when a picture is in line with text, Word treats it as a character. Our first picture was too fat to go on the same line as the ‘1’ so the oak leaf went onto a new line. The poplar, though, is skinny enough to fit, so we need to change the text wrapping to Square (using Picture Tools|Format|Wrap Text or, in Word 2013, the option from the rainbow-on-lined-paper icon’s menu) and then move it to the right place in the cell.

When I try to insert the rose, I run into a different problem. My table goes all silly and I can’t see all of pictures 1 & 3.

Third picture too big for cell, so some pictures cut off and cell sizes uneven

The rose can’t fit in the cell, no matter what adjustments Word makes to the rest of the table. You can see the boundary box extending beyond the table, right to the edge of the page (and beyond). It’s easily fixed though. All we need to do is resize or/and crop the picture. (If you don’t know how to do that, then see my earlier post, How do I change the size of a picture in Word?)

Step 4 – Tidy up

So here it is with the remaining pictures and text added.

Whole table selected using cross in the corner. Table Tools Layout ribbon, Alignment group highlighted


I’ve centred the text at the bottom corners by making sure the cursor is in the text somewhere and choosing the right ‘pattern’ from Table Tools|Layout|Alignment – it’s shaded blue in the red box I’ve drawn at the top of the screen. All we need to do now is get rid of the borders. To do this:

  • Select the whole table by clicking on the 4-way-arrow-in-abox icon at the top right of the table (I’ve put a blue circle round it in the image above)
  • Go to the other Table Tools tab (Design) and look for the Borders group.
  • Click the drop-down beneath Borders and choose No border.

Whole Table selected. Table Tools Design ribbon, Borders group, Borders menu showing.

What if it’s still not quite right?

You may find that your pictures aren’t quite as lined up as you would like them to be, especially if you did a lot of resizing or cropping. One way round that is to get them to the right shape and size using image processing software before you put them in – but it’s not always possible or easy to make those decisions in advance. I’ll explain some ways of getting things to line up with each other in my next post on this topic, which will focus on yet another way of getting pictures and text arranged on a page in exactly the way you want.

How do I change the size of a picture in Word?

How do I change the size of a picture in Word?

My first digital camera came as a freebie with a new computer sometime around 1998. The photos from it were 640×480 pixels which meant that they were little more than thumbnails if you tried to print them at a print resolution of 300dpi. Nowadays even fairly basic phones can beat that so it’s highly likely that when you try to paste a photograph into a page of text it isn’t going to fit at first and you’ll end up with something like this:

Small paragraph on one page; large off-centre picture on the next, text continues on the third

A picture that you wanted to be an illustration taking up a whole page by itself and wonky on it too!

Ever since I first started using Word, I’ve been finding ways of getting pictures and text to sit together exactly the way I want them to: first as a teacher making worksheets then doing layout for community magazines. But before you can begin to think about getting an image into the right place on a page, you need to make it roughly the right size so you can see how the text will fit around it — and that’s what this post is all about.

Note on versions of Word

I’m working in Word 2013, which has significant improvements to picture handling, but I have included what to do in Word 2010 where this is different (the same instructions are good for Word 2007). If you are using an earlier version of Word then some of the things now on the ribbon were on the picture toolbar and most of the methods that go through a right-click menu will also work, although the exact appearance of some of the menus will vary.

How do I make the picture fit the space I have available?

There are two things you can do to make a picture take up less space on the page and it is important to be aware of the differences between them.

  • When you resize a picture, you basically squash it so it looks the same but fits in a smaller space.
  • When you crop a picture you are effectively trimming some off, part of it disappears from view.

In the case of the picture above, we’re not even seeing all of it. Can you see little white boxes in the middle of two of the edges and at one of the corners? These are called handles, and we’ll be using them in a moment to re-size the picture. For now, though, the ones on the bottom and on the right-hand side don’t show because they, and some of the picture, are off the edge of the page.

How do I resize a picture?

Using the handles

The easiest way is to hover over a handle at one corner of the picture. A double-headed diagonal arrow appears.

Simply click on this and drag the corner of the picture inwards. As you do, you will see a black box showing you the new outline or / and, depending on the original size and how much working memory your computer has available, the resized picture. (The arrow turns to a black cross in Word 2013 when you start to drag it, don’t worry about this.)

When you let go, your new, smaller picture is in place.

Warning: don’t try this with one of the handles in the middle of an edge unless you want to want to squish or spaghettify your image. (OK then – try it once, just to see what I mean.)

Using the Picture Tools|Format ribbon

In ribbon versions of Word, when you click on a picture a new ribbon appears and, right at the end of it is a group called Size. The two boxes on the right show you the height and width of the image. You can change these using the little arrows. Notice that, as you change one the other changes automatically (although the change may not show until you stop using the arrows).

Picture Tools Format ribbon, Size group for cropping and resizing

If you want to make a big change it can take a while to scroll through a millimetre at a time. Instead, you can click in one of the boxes to highlight the measurement, type in your new value (no need to type ‘cm’ or ‘ cm’, Word knows you’re working in the same unit) and press Enter. The other will magically change to match and your picture will appear at its new size.

Using the right click menu

If you right click on the picture (you might have to do it twice in Word 2013), one of the items on the menu which pops up is Size and Position. If you select this you get this box (If it doesn’t look like this, it’s probably opened with the Position tab open – just click on Size at the top):

More Layout Options Size tab - allows you to see Original size and change Height, Width, Rotate, Scale

Just as on the ribbon controls, you can scroll through alternative sizes or type in new values for height and width. You also have the option of making the lengths a certain percentage of the original values.

Make sure that Lock Aspect Ratio stays ticked so that the height and width keep changing together.

How do I crop a picture?

You’ll have already spotted that Crop command on the Picture Tools|Format ribbon. The down arrow takes you to all sorts of interesting possibilities, but we’re going to do a simple crop which you can get just by selecting your picture then clicking on the icon, or selecting Crop from the little menu that comes up when you press the arrow. (In Word 2003 you need to have the picture toolbar showing, select your picture and then click the crop icon.)

When you do this, thick black crop marks appear at the corners and edges of the picture.

Crop marks at edge of picture

As with using handles for resizing, simply click on these and drag them inwards. The bit of the picture that will remain stays bright and the bits that are going to be lost go grey.

Picture with area to be cropped greyed out, section to be kept inside crop marks

When you are happy with what you have, simply click somewhere else in the document and only the cropped bit will remain.

You can also crop pictures by using the right click menu to go to Format Picture and choosing options from there, but it involves typing in where you want to crop from, and how much, using numbers. Again, depending on the size of the picture and the amount of working memory your computer has available, you may be able to see what’s happening to the picture as you change the figures, but it’s still not as straightforward as using the crop marks.

Picture cropped and resized so that all the text and the picture fit on to a single page

How do I make pictures go where I want them?

So now the picture is a reasonable size to fit on one page with the words, but the page doesn’t look very good. The picture is stuck randomly in the middle of the text and there’s a huge white space. I’ve written a post about one way of making the picture nestle in amongst the words over on Liz Dexter’s LibroEditing blog, and next week I’ll show you a way of dealing with a lot of pictures in a single document.