Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text.

Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 25, 2016)

5

When you add graphics to your document, Word allows you to arrange the graphics so they are behind the text. In other words, the text appears in front of the graphic. If you later need to make changes to the graphic in some way, you may not know exactly how to select it when it is obscured by the text in your document.

If the graphic is not fully covered by text—perhaps there is a small corner of the graphic sticking out from behind the text—then you can select the graphic by simply clicking on the portion that is not covered by text. However, the easiest way to select a graphic—even if it is behind text—is to follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the Drawing toolbar is visible. (Click on the Drawing button on the Standard toolbar, or choose View | Toolbars | Drawing.)
  2. Click on the Select Objects tool on the Drawing toolbar. This tool looks like a mouse pointer that points up and to the left. It is normally the second tool from the left on the Drawing toolbar.
  3. Click on the graphic you want to select, without regard to any text that may be covering it.

When you are done working with your graphics, make sure you click on the Select Objects tools again (to turn it off), or press Esc. You must turn off the Select Objects tool, otherwise you won't be able to edit any of the text in your document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1679) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Selecting a Graphic that is Behind Text.

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 eight less than 9?

2019-06-07 09:28:03

Katie Lozoya

SUPER helpful! Thank you so much! And same as others are saying - I've used Word since its inception and never knew about "select objects."


2018-04-20 13:35:46

LL

I was still unable to select the image using the procedure above. Instead, I:

1) Highlighted the area with the image, to include the surrounding text. This way the image frame appeared and was highlighted.
2) Clicked on Select Objects.
3) Right clicked the image


2017-04-19 19:03:30

KA

Extremely useful tip! I was so frustrated clicking endlessly trying to get the shape behind my table text.

In Word 2007, the 'Select Objects' is under the 'Home' tab, under the 'Editing' group that is at the right end. Select 'Select Objects' under the drop down menu 'Select.'


2017-03-04 06:19:54

J

OMG! Thank you! I've been using Word for 10 years and never knew of this tip! Thank you!


2017-02-21 17:56:34

Linda Ribinsky

followed your instruction but it would not select anything


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