Using Static Graphic Sizes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 11, 2012)

Word allows you to insert graphics in your documents, which is a very handy (and indispensable) feature. The graphics can even be manipulated--resized, cropped, and rotated--a bit, if desired. When it comes to the most common manipulation (resizing), a time may come up when your graphic doesn't stay resized as you expect it to. Most often, this problem is detected when you open a document and find that one or more of the graphics you sized in a previous session have mysteriously changed to a different size. This problem is a difficult one to track down--even for the experts! (You'll see why in a moment.)

Most often, this problem is caused by using graphic links rather than embedding actual graphics in your document. When you embed a graphic in your document, the size of your document can get very large very quickly. To overcome this, Word allows you to link your graphic to the original file. This means that Word stores a link to the graphic rather than the graphic itself. When you load a file, the link is checked and refreshed--resulting at times in a resized graphic.

This problem was particularly acute with Word 97. If you are using Word 97, you should make sure you have SR2b applied to your system; Microsoft insists this will solve the problem.

If you aren't using Word 97, or if you apply SR2b and still experience the problem, there are a couple more things you can try.

  • When using the Insert Picture dialog box to insert from a file, make sure the "Save with document" check box is selected so that there is a copy of the current image saved in the file. This will eliminate Word's need to go and get an updated image and avoid its failure to remember the display size when updating.
  • Prevent any individual linked object from being automatically updated via the Links dialog box. Click Links on the Edit menu, in the Source file box click the linked object for which you want to prevent updates (your picture), select the Manual Update option and select the Locked check box.
  • Switch off Word's auto-update links on the General tab of the Options dialog box. Make sure the "Update automatic links at Open" check box is cleared.

Using these options can result, of course, in the size of your document growing. Your aim is to have Word store the picture with the document rather than establishing a link. In most cases (probably 99%), these actions will solve the resizing problem. There may still be an instance or two where it doesn't, however. Unfortunately, there is no solution in these hard-case situations. Perhaps the final solution is to make sure that the graphic you are inserting within Word doesn't need to be resized within Word--simply use a third-party graphics program to create a graphic of the proper size before it is inserted within 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 (693) 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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