Extracting Pictures from a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 18, 2015)

1

Richard requested information on how to extract pictures from a Word document in their original format. His observation was that if you simply selected the graphic (in Word) and then copied the graphic to the Clipboard, when you pasted the graphic into your favorite graphics program, it was in a bit-mapped form. Richard was looking for a way to copy the underlying format of the graphic (the format the graphic had when it was placed into Word) in order to maintain the highest image quality possible.

The good news, Richard, is that you are very observant—when you copy a graphic from Word, it indeed is done as a bit-mapped image. This is because of the way in which Word handles graphics. When you paste a graphic into a Word 97 document it is automatically converted into a bit-mapped (BMP) format, regardless of the format in which the graphic originally existed. For instance, if your original graphic is in TIF format, then pasting it into Word runs the graphic through Word's graphic filter, and it is converted to BMP format for inclusion in the document. Thus, once the graphic is pasted into a document, there is no way to recover the original TIF format—it doesn't exist, as far as Word 97 is concerned.

Things changed beginning with Word 2000, however. Besides working with BMP graphics, later versions of Word also natively understand GIF and JPG graphic formats. The reason for this is that those two formats are the predominant graphic formats on the Web, and Word wants to be a Web-enabled product. However, if you place a graphic in a Word document as a JPG, and then later copy it, the copy is still copied as a BMP format.

In order to get to the underlying GIF or JPG format, you can simply save the document in HTML format. This format requires that the graphics be in separate files, since they cannot be embedded within an HTML document. Once you save the document in this format, take a look at the files produced by Word—the individual graphics files should be there somewhere.

If you want to avoid the graphic conversion issue entirely, then you either need to keep original copies of your graphics images, or you should link images into your document rather than pasting them. Procedures on how to do this have been covered in other issues of WordTips.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1489) 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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Conditional Processing During a Mail Merge

The Mail Merge capabilities built into Word can appear limited at first glance. One thing that is often overlooked (and ...

Discover More

Comprehensive ExcelTips Archives List

ExcelTips is a weekly newsletter that provides tips on how to effectively use Microsoft's best-selling ...

Discover More

Message about a Problem with the Clipboard

Imagine this: You are working along just fine in Excel, then you try to make an edit to your workbook that causes a ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Using the Drawing Grid

One of the lesser-known drawing tools provided in Word is the drawing grid. You can easily turn this feature on and use ...

Discover More

Missing Left Border

Ever wonder why a border around a graphic doesn't print the way it looks on the screen? There are several ways to add and ...

Discover More

Merging Graphics into Word Documents

Ever want to expand the mail merge feature to include graphics? Merging graphics into your document is easy but requires ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 4 - 0?

2015-04-18 09:08:27

Fred Burg

If saving the Word document in HTML format preserves the pictures as its own file, what happens in between the time when you pasted the picture and when you saved the file? If Word writes the picture as its own GIF or JPG upon saving, it would seem there should be a way of recovering the GIF or JPG before the save.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.