Understanding Graphic Linking

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 19, 2014)

You already know that when you insert a picture into your document, you can either place it inline (in the text) or in a text box or frame. You can also control how Word manages that graphic. You can either have the graphic file added to your document, as an integral part of it, or you can have it simply linked to your document.

The next time you insert a graphic, take a look at the Insert Picture dialog box. Notice that beside the Insert button there is a drop-down arrow. If you click this arrow you're presented with a number of options for inserting the picture. The first option, Link to File, causes Word to create an active link between the graphic in your document and the original graphic file. This allows you to automatically or manually update the graphic in your document by having Word recopy it into your document.

Note that the drop-down option also includes one named Insert and Link. This results in not only a link being established with the graphic file, but also a copy of the file being saved in the Word document. Choosing to insert the graphic in this manner can result in significantly increased document sizes.

If you are using Word 97, there is no drop-down arrow next to the Insert Picture dialog box. Instead, the dialog box includes a couple of check boxes that control graphic linking. One check box is entitled Link to File; it functions the same as the Link to File option already discussed. If you click the checkbox, then Word 97 creates an active link for the picture.

If you choose the Link to File checkbox, Word 97 then allows you to choose the Save Picture in Document check box. If this option is selected, a copy of the picture is saved as a part of your document, instead of a simple link to the picture. Choosing both check boxes is the same as choosing Insert and Link in later versions of Word.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (396) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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