Linking to an external image in Microsoft Word

In our last blog post we discussed compressing images to reduce the size of your Word files.  For most, this is more than enough to manage large images.

There are a few instances where you might want to keep those large images completely external to your document.  Word allows you to “link” to an image.  Instead of adding the entire image to the Word file, just a link to the image is included – much (much) smaller!

Many documents using a single image

This can be very useful especially if you are using many large images with many different documents, or many times in the same document.  Instead of having a copy of each stored in every document, you only have one image which loads along with each document.

An image that changes from time to time

You can also save some time if your image (such as a logo) changes from time to time.  Instead of having to update the image in each document whenever it changes, a linked image only needs to be changed once.

Linked images can be cropped and sized just like embedded images.

To link an image:

  1. [Click] to place the insertion point where you want the photo to be inserted or anchored to.
  2. Choose INSERT, then from the ILLUSTRATIONS group, [click] PICTURES.
  3. Select the preferred photograph.
  4. [Click] the drop down for INSERT and choose LINK TO FILE.


Moving/renaming/deleting a linked image or Emailing a document with linked images

BrokenLinkIf you move, rename, or delete a linked image Word will no long be able to find it when your document is loaded.

As well, if you send a document with a linked image, the recipient also needs to be able to access the location of the link image.  This can work in a corporation with a shared network but may not work when sending to other people.

Managing Links

If a source image is moved, the link to the photo or logo will break. Broken links can be edited and corrected within the document.

If a document is constructed with linked images and later is to be shared with others, the images should be embedded within the file.

  1. Choose FILE, INFO.
  3. Make the required changes.
    • To correct a broken link, [Click] the CHANGE SOURCE button, relocate the source image, and [Click] OPEN.
    • To embed an image inside the document, [Click] SAVE PICTURE IN DOCUMENT.
  4. [Click] OK.