Default Picture Settings

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 25, 2019)


Many people paste pictures in their documents. Some people paste many, many pictures. It would be very beneficial for those people if the settings used by Word to paste a picture were persistent—in other words, Word remembered the size used to paste a picture or the position, and then used it for subsequent pictures.

Word does not have such a capability, however. When you paste a picture, size is not persistent because the ratio between picture height and width can vary wildly from one picture to another. Positioning is not persistent because many page layouts call for pictures to be in different positions on the page. The only thing that is persistent is the setting of the "Float Over" check box on the Insert Picture dialog box.

If you have a need to format quite a few pictures using the same settings, the easiest approach is to create a quick-and-dirty macro to apply the formatting settings you want. You could then paste the picture, select it, and then run the macro. You can create such a macro by following these general steps:

  1. Paste the picture in your document.
  2. Select the picture you just pasted.
  3. Start the macro recorder.
  4. Make the size and position changes to the picture, as desired.
  5. Stop the macro recorder.

Your macro is now ready to use. Whenever a new picture is pasted in your document, select it and run the macro to apply the "default" settings.


If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the WordTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (671) 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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What is five minus 3?

2019-05-08 13:22:24

Jessica Davis

I'm using Word 2016 and am having through recording a macro to set picture properties. First, if the picture is selected and I start recording the picture becomes unselected and I cannot select it with the mouse. However, I discovered that I can use the Select > Select Object option on the Home ribbon to enable selecting the picture while recording a macro. However, none of the actions I take against the picture are actually recorded. I get a macro that is empty between the sub () statements.

I know that I used to record macros for picture manipulation years ago, so I'm wondering if there is some setting or trick to make this work in 2016.

2019-04-04 02:22:32


When I select the picture and then click record macro the picture deselects.

When I select the picture in the recording the format option for text wrapping is greyed out.

2019-02-15 09:52:05

Ricardo Herrera

My work around is to create an intermediate Word file with a custom size to suit the scaling I need. If the cell where the I want the image to be placed is 3.5" wide, my sheet width in this intermediate file is set to 3.5". Anything I drop in is automatically resized. I can then copy paste to the real file.

2018-09-15 10:46:10

Duane Leet

At least on my Word 2010-2013, Home.Format Painter is easier to use. Click on a picture you want to use as the model. Then click on the picture you want to format.

2018-06-11 11:08:53


Yeah. So no, lots of the below (and all of the above just doesn't work.

Stupid recorder. It does seem there are a couple ways for getting the "Size and Position" settings box. Start the recorder and press "Shift-Left Arrow" or "Backspace" both do nicely. Once selected, getting the settings box becomes the problem and a couple ways seem to make it available: pressing the "Context Menu" button on many, many keyboards, then mousing to select it, or pressing "Shift-F10" on just about any keyboard and mousing to select it. Both work nicely.

But... what I want to do just doe not happen. I select the horizontal size, enter 7.50", and save the result... only to see absolutely nothing happened. Just nothing.

One wonders just how many other settings in there act the same: let you select them, let you modify them, let you save them, then nothing is actually done.

In any case, using two pieces of Mr. Endacott's work below, and a guess, I finally have a working solution to my horizontal size problem:

(Just select the picture first. This code does not require the torture in Paragraph 2.)

Sub FullPageInlinePicture()
Dim aInlineShape As InlineShape
Set aInlineShape = Selection.Range.InlineShapes(1)
aInlineShape.LockAspectRatio = True
aInlineShape.Width = InchesToPoints(7.5)
End Sub

Unfortunately, now the stupid recorder takes a key assignment in the normal way, yay, but it does not exist after ending recording. It DID do that nicely before I started this. Wonder what changed by working on this? (Sigh... I often use the simile that we, the masses, want computers to work like toasters, drop the bread in, it pops out toasted. Most we might need to do is remember Little Becky likes it realllly light so there's a bit of adjusting the time dial and maybe it's best if hers goes first. That's the appeal of the Mac, except it doesn't really deliver it. But we seemed doomed to a simile of the computer being like a kitchen and some of us are writing cookbooks while some of us burn water. Sigh...)

2018-01-18 19:53:54


> Paste the picture in your document.
> Select the picture you just pasted.
> Start the macro recorder.
> Make the size and position changes to the picture, as desired.
> Stop the macro recorder.

This does not work, because as soon as a) the image is selected and b) the macro is recording, you cannot right-click the image to get the options e.g. Format Picture. Put another way: Right-clicking the image when the macro is recording has no effect whatsoever, i.e. the right-button options menu is not displayed.

2017-06-15 12:56:41

Jessica Davis

I'm using Word 2013 and when I start macro recording, the picture is automatically deselected and I cannot select it. Do you know of a way to record a macro for picture formatting activities in Word 2013?

2017-05-31 13:01:47


is there a way to auto size pictures when pasting them into Excel onto different tabs?

2017-03-15 11:19:09

Nora Abbott

Using Word 2010.
I do want to create a macro to specify a black border. (I'm trying to help someone whose borders always default to blue and I cannot find a reason! I hope she does not have intentional default changes. In that case we'll try to delete/rename and see if THAT fixes it.) In any event, if I select the picture and turn on macro recorder, the picture is no longer selected. And once the recorder is running, I cannot select the picture. Thoughts?
Thank you.

2016-03-22 07:59:45

Ken Endacott

The macro FullPageFloatingPicture will expand a floating picture to full page width.

The macro RestoreFloatingPictureSize will restore a floating picture to its original size. This is the size before any changes were made to the picture and may not necessarily be the size before FullPageFloatingPicture was run.

For inline pictures use the macros FullPageInlinePicture and RestoreInlinePictureSize

Sub FullPageFloatingPicture()
Dim aShape As Shape
Set aShape = Selection.Range.ShapeRange(1)
aShape.LockAspectRatio = True
Selection.ShapeRange.ScaleWidth ActiveDocument.PageSetup.PageWidth / aShape.Width, _
False, msoScaleFromMiddle
End Sub

Sub RestoreFloatingPictureSize()
Selection.ShapeRange.ScaleWidth 1, True, msoScaleFromMiddle
End Sub

Sub FullPageInlinePicture()
Dim aInlineShape As InlineShape
Set aInlineShape = Selection.Range.InlineShapes(1)
aInlineShape.LockAspectRatio = True
aInlineShape.Width = ActiveDocument.PageSetup.PageWidth
End Sub

Sub RestoreInlinePictureSize()
Selection.Range.InlineShapes(1).ScaleWidth = 100
End Sub

2016-03-21 08:31:53


Ken Endacott===thanks
Is it possible to enlarge picture to screen size?
not for saving ,only viewing with undo ?or it only possible:to save on disk and opening with default picture program ?
thank you

2016-03-16 08:13:09

Ken Endacott

The line should read:

Your macro will only work if the picture or shape is floating. If the picture is an inline shape (the default for inserted pictures is inline) then you can use:

Sub Size2()
With Selection.InlineShapes(1)
.Width = 2.88 * .Width
End With
End Sub

2016-03-16 04:55:17


ActiveDocument.Shapes("Picture 9").Select

2016-03-16 04:48:19


Sub SIZE()
' SIZE Macro
Selection.ShapeRange.ScaleWidth 2.88, msoFalse, msoScaleFromBottomRight
Selection.ShapeRange.ScaleHeight 2.88, msoFalse, msoScaleFromTopLeft
ActiveWindow.ActivePane.VerticalPercentScrolled = 7
End Sub
ActiveDocument.Shapes("Picture 9").Select


2016-03-12 07:09:22

Ken Endacott

This tip only applies to versions of Word up to 2003. Starting with 2007 there were significant changes to pictures and shapes and it seems that Microsoft were too lazy to update the macro recorder.

If you can get hold of the VBA code from using the macro recorder in 2003 it should work in 2010.

2016-03-11 14:55:38


I am using Word 2010. When I select the picture and then start the macro recording, the picture is deselected. I can't figure out a way around this, so I can't get your instructions to work. Thank you.

2016-02-20 12:30:29

Roger Vaught

Sigh, Mac Word 2011 will not allow recording position or size of pictures.

2016-02-11 11:30:32


Great tip on selecting a picture during Macro recording!

Now that I learned how to do that, I tried creating a border with the macro (Format Picture -> Line -> Solid Line, etc.) but aside from selecting the picture, the macro was blank.

I have a lot of pictures which need this border, so I want to be able to either set a default for the line type (just color and width) or use a macro to do this.

Each time I format a new picture, I have to manually change these two options. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

2015-12-07 06:05:22


Sorry - did not see comments below.
Don't worry about my question, thanks.
Matthew, Jennifer and Justin's suggestions are great, thanks :)

2015-12-07 04:49:06


The macro recorder does not seem to work while in picture mode. Or probably other way around. The selected picture is no longer selected. What do you suggest please?

Thank you very much.

2015-11-10 18:36:47


How can I change the default picture border color in Word 2013 from blue to black?

2015-10-01 15:31:58


I have been pasting photos into Word 2013 from the same webpage web 6-7 times a day for over three weeks. All of a sudden, the pictures are huge. Yes, I know that I can go in and reduce them but that is a pain. Am I missing a setting that I have inadvertently changed. I can't find a default anywhere.

2015-06-10 10:07:29


For those having issues with the picture de-selecting when starting the macro, you have to pause the macro (in Developers tab), select the pic again, then un-pause the macro.

It's a bit tricky.

If you don't have the developers tab showing, turn it on in your File/Options/Customize Ribbon > tick Developer in right side 'Main Tabs' box

2015-06-10 09:58:46


I needed all my pics in a 60 page doc with over 150 pics to be 'in front of text' and 'locked anchor'.

Word 2013 default is 'in line' and not locked anchor.

At first I couldn't get the macro to record the sequence as others have mentioned but I found that Jennifers/Ms Tiffany's file/options/advanced trick of setting it to 'in front of text' helped with the first part. Then I just needed to work out how to record the macro to be able to lock the anchor.

I achieved this by using the Shift F10 trick (after starting the macro, then pausing it, then re-selecting the pic, then un-pausing the macro) to scroll down to Size & Position, then using the Tab key and arrows to access the Position Tab, then tabbing down (not using the arrow keys!!) to 'lock anchor' then pressing the space bar to activate it. Then tab to ok, press enter and stop the macro.

now when I paste a pic (from another file) it automatically is 'in front of text' then I just click the macro to lock it's anchor.

Saved me hours of work!!

2015-05-01 11:37:56


I found this MACRO. Works like a chnap for me.

Resize images with VBA

With the following VBA code, you can resize pictures to your ideal size. You can get it done as follow:

In this example, we resize the picture size to 1.78inch height and 3.17inch width.

1: Please select a picture you want to change the size;

2: Press Alt+F11 to open the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window;

3: Click Module from Insert tab, copy and paste the following VBA code into the Module window;

4: Click Run button to run the VBA

The VBA code on resizing images:

Sub ResizePics()
Dim shp As Word.Shape
Dim ishp As Word.InlineShape
If Word.Selection.Type <> wdSelectionInlineShape And _
Word.Selection.Type <> wdSelectionShape Then
Exit Sub
End If
If Word.Selection.Type = wdSelectionInlineShape Then
Set ishp = Word.Selection.Range.InlineShapes(1)
ishp.LockAspectRatio = False
ishp.Height = InchesToPoints(1.78)
ishp.Width = InchesToPoints(3.17)
If Word.Selection.Type = wdSelectionShape Then
Set shp = Word.Selection.ShapeRange(1)
shp.LockAspectRatio = False
shp.Height = InchesToPoints(1.78)
shp.Width = InchesToPoints(3.17)
End If
End If
End Sub

Note: In shp.Height = InchesToPoints(1.78 ) and shp.Width = InchesToPoints(3.17) you can change the size to meet your need.

With this VBA code, you also cannot resize all or multiple picture at once. You need to go back and forth between the Word document and the Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications window to select the picture and apply the code. That’s too time-consuming

2015-02-09 14:37:19


Same issue with Macro record not allowing me to work with pictures, only text.

And for those responses about how this is "making it hard", I like to use a standard picture format across documents. In order to do this, it's ideal to have a preset or a macro that creates the lines and shadows, in colors etc, in each document. Copy + Paste or Format Copy are not helpful for ongoing, multi-document consistency work.

****DOES Anyone know how to get the macro to record Picture Format in 2013? *****

2015-02-04 20:10:45


Alternatively, if you just have one change to make to a series of pictures (eg the width or height) you can resize the first image and then select the next and press 'F4' to redo the last action.

2015-01-27 14:52:16

Tex Everett

Thank you Jennifer!!!
KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) is always best.

2015-01-15 15:48:34


As Miss Tiffany describes above: "I'm not sure why you are all trying to make it so difficult?"

For Word 2013 (and probably other versions, as well but maybe in a different menu - figure it out.)

- Click on 'File'
- Click on 'Options'
- Click on 'Advanced'
- In the 'Cut, Copy and Paste' section, choose the default setting you want for 'Insert/paste pictures as:' from one of the dropdown selections given which are: In Line with Text, Square, Tight, Behind Text, In Front of Text, Through, or Top and Bottom.
- Click OK


2014-11-25 17:39:51


What happened to AutoShape Defaults? Used to work on pictures in W2003, but cannot find it in Word 2007. Worked perfectly for adding borders, captions, etc.

2014-10-03 11:45:49

Alex B

This doesn't work on Word 2007. When I start recording a macro I can't select the picture. My mouse turns into a little tape picture and I can't do anything. I tried with Shift+F10 as was described early, however my micro is empty!

I remember that several times I did macros to change pictures in previous version on Word when I did documents with a lot pictures and it worked fine.

I am dissapoiment with Word 2007 and 2010

2014-09-25 11:32:48

John Randel

Thank you Miss Tiffany

2014-09-05 11:13:56

Michael Hamilton

I am trying to subscribe to you Word newsletter but i can't find the authorization email anywhere in any of my Outlook folders.

2014-09-01 15:42:40

Justin Donie

1) I set the formatting in the first image in the series I want to insert.
2) I copy the first image.
3) I paste a copy of the first image into position where I want the second image.
4) I then use "right-click > Change Picture" to swap the next image in the series for the pasted one. The formatting I've established in the first image now applies to the second.

Simply repeat steps 3 and 4 (paste / change image) to insert the rest of the images in the series.

Simple, easy, effective. :)

2014-08-08 13:50:08


My "options" are set to paste pictures "top and bottom," but the other properties I want - 0.1" from text, centered, etc. - do not seem to be settable. Any hope?

2014-06-13 03:38:04

Miss Tiffany

I'm not sure why you are all trying to make it so difficult?
- Click on 'File'
- Click on 'Options'
- Click on 'Advanced'
- In the 'Cut, Copy and Paste' section, choose the default setting you want for 'Insert/paste pictures as:' from one of the dropdown selections given which are: In Line with Text, Square, Tight, Behind Text, In Front of Text, Through, or Top and Bottom.
- Click OK

2014-06-12 05:06:59


Had the same as the others here with regard to selecting of the picture.

The thing is, when the macro recorder is started, the picture is again de-selected.

However, if you push shift and use your arrows to left/right you can select the picture during the record.

Jeroen: Can you post a copy of the macro which made?
After I finalised the recorder, Word crashes/freezes and the macro is corrupted.

2014-05-06 22:36:52


I found I can select the pic again when I backspace onto the pic. But, then the macro does not capture my formatting steps, either when I'm using the Toolbar buttons, or via the F10 right click menu. The most any macro captured is just the cursor movement:
Sub FormatPic()
' FormatPic Macro
Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
Selection.MoveLeft Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
Selection.MoveRight Unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=1
End Sub

2014-05-06 22:23:58


When I start the macro recorder, Word unselects my pic and puts the cursor to the right of the pic, as if to start typing. I'm using Word 2010, Windows 7 Pro

2014-04-18 05:31:25


Works for me, just as explained you have to select the picture before starting your recording. The trick IMHO is the Shift+F10 to open the context menu:

- Paste picture, SELECT picture
- Start macro recording (name your macro & asign a hotkey)
- Shift+F10 to open context menu
- Use mouse to select option
- Use mouse to select tab
- Use mouse to select default value
..for me that is (12,01 cm)
- Use keyboard to type in default size
..for me that is (10 cm)
- Press enter
- end macro recording
now when I paste my next screenclip-picture in Word, I press my hotkey and get the size 10cm :)

2014-01-24 12:22:37

Bruce Applegate

I have tried this several times in different documents (including starting from a new (empty) document). Once the macro recorder is started, the picture cannot be selected and the dialog box for size and position settings is unavailable.

2013-12-04 11:58:43

Dawson Lewis

Confirmed, this does not work as described. Is there a solution?

2013-11-07 20:00:01

Melanie Fordham

This doesn't work. When I start recording a macro I can't select the picture. My mouse turns into a little tape picture and I can't do anything.

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