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Drafting IEC publications



Inserting images in a document

To insert an image into a document, Word offers different possibilities:
(click on each option to see its description)

1) Inserting a non-editable image file (recommended method)

Insert > Picture, then browse to the image file


This only works with non-editable file formats, images whose lines and text cannot be modified, such as .png. Editable text can be added as described in the page on using MS Word to elaborate figures.

2) Embedding the native file as an object (e.g. MS Office files)

This is not the preferred method but is an acceptble way to insert entire files like Visio, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.


Insert > Object > Create from file > Browse, then browse to the file containing the image.

The entire file will be embedded as an object - by double-clicking on the image, the file will open in its original application (e.g. Excel, PowerPoint etc.).


This method seems attractive because it is so easy to modify the image from within Word. However, it often creates problems because the original file is not updated at the same time, which results in different versions.


Moreover, as the entire file is embedded, this can greatly increase the size of your Word file.

3) Copying and pasting

Although this is a very popular method of introducing images into a document, it is not advisable. It often creates problems during the publishing process, and can greatly increase the size of your Word file in an uncontrolled way.


It is preferable to export non-editable image files from the original application, allowing you to keep control of image file sizes; see the page on using MS Word to elaborate figures.


IEC recommendations

Send us the native image files in addition to the submitted Word document, so that we can correct them if necessary. Besides sending separate native image files to the IEC, insert a copy of each image in its correct place in the Word document. Seeing the images in their context can help detect any inconsistencies.


Proceed as follows:

From within your image editing tool, save the images in a non-editable format and insert them in the Word document as described in method 1 above.


Do not use the option "link to file" when you insert or embed an image. This links the Word document to the image file stored on your computer. When the file is exchanged with others, this link may cause problems. For the same reason, do not use Word's {IncludePicture} field.


Positioning the image in relation to the text

To facilitate layout work, we recommend using a table. Place the different figure elements (image, caption, key...) into different cells.


If you do place images directly within the text, please ensure that the text wrapping option for the image is In Line with Text. To set this as the default option for inserting images:

  • click the MS Office button / the File tab, then select (Word) Options > Advanced. Under Cut, copy and paste, select Insert/paste pictures as: In line with text.

paste inline Word 2003


To set the text wrapping option for individual images, select the image, then go to

  • Picture Tools - Format > Wrap Text > In line with text

wrap text in Word