How to embed linked images in Word 2007

Using Author-it to produce Word documents is easy. The tricky bit is distributing them.

Without running any post publishing macros, the Word document that is generated will be using linked images. So everytime you need to distribute the document you’ll also need to remember to include the images as well.

I frequently forget this, hence why I’m posting this, so, if all else fails, I can at least search my own blog to find the solution. If you look at a document with linked images, you’ll see that the filesize for the document is quite small, and there will be a number of images in the same folder (although this works fine if your images are linked from another folder).

UPDATE: You can also do this automatically after publishing using an afterPublish Word macro, the Author-it Knowledge Centre has the details, thanks to Derek Tomes for pointing it out. Read on for the manual method.

You can quickly and easily convert linked images to embedded images in Word 2007. Here’s how:

  1. With your Word document open, click the Office button*, top-left of the window.
  2. Select Prepare > Edit Links to Files.
  3. Select and highlight the images you want to convert from the list.
  4. Select the option to Save picture in document.
  5. Click the Break Link button.
  6. Click Yes to confirm.

The links are removed, and the images are now embedded in your Word document. A quick check of the filesize of the Word document should show a marked increase and you can now distribute the Word document, and the Word document only, safe in the knowledge that the images are embedded.


  1. thank u very much
    great info
    but how can i make it in vba so all the pictures are save at once.


  2. Hi Ahmed,

    I’m not sure how you can do that programmatically, sorry. Perhaps the MSDN library of information would be a good starting poin?

  3. Thank you for posting this.

    Is it your understanding then, that there is no way to send someone a Word document with linked images that they can see unless the images are formally embedded? we are writing long documents for a client that would like the images linked – problem is, even if we send the doc and corresponding linked images, the images don’t display. it almost seems like Image Linking is only of benefit if the document lives on one machine only. Am I crazy? Thanks for your expertise.

  4. Linked images are only of benefit if the linked images don’t move and the document can always see them.

    So if you store them on a network drive, then pass the word document to someone who can’t see your network, then no, why would you expect that to work?

    BUT, if you store the images in a folder next to the Word document and, for example, ZIP the Word document AND the folder with the images, then that should be OK, as the link to the images is maintained when the client unzips the whole lot.

  5. OK, found out how : select picture and do Shift Ctrl F9.
    In VB : Selection.Fields.Unlink

  6. This is what I needed two weeks ago. I had to manually go through my document and embed all the images. But at least I’ll be ready for next year.


  7. Thanks VERY much. After banging my head against a wall for the best part of two days trying to find why my client could not see the images in a Word document I sent I was close to lodging a problem report with AuthorIt. Previously all the docuemnts I sent from AIT were published to PDF so this is the first time I have come across the issue.

    The link to AIT’s own web site for the macro was also extremely useful. I had used the search engine on their site to try to come up with answers regarding embedded versus linked images and cam up with very unhelpful seacrh results. All I can say is “thank God for Google!”

  8. I do not have the menu option of “Edit Links to Files” under the “Prepare” menu. How do I get this option? Please Advise. Thanks.

  9. Dennis, Claire – which version of Word are you using? I only have access to 2007.

    From memory of previous version of Word, select Edit > Links, and from there you can highlight the images and click the Break Link button?

    (from here)

  10. I have Word 2007. The Edit links function only appears when I open a document as HTML that has a picture link. However when I do the procedure of breaking the link and save picture in document, I check the HTML document and it still has an img src tag pointing to the file location.

  11. Thanks, Gordon…you saved me hours of trying to figure out how to break the links and embed pictures into my word document.
    You can’t find this information in MS Word Help ANYWHERE!!!
    Merry Christmas.

  12. Hi,
    I’ve run into a similar issue – made a word document, pasted images in. Saved as a pdf (all in Word 2007) and published to our website, without the images.

    The pdf displays and looks fine on the site, but hovering over images shows where it “came from”. Since our office is secure and cannot be accessed from outside, it’s obviously not a “link” to our local image. just says (example):
    “c:daviddocumentsimagename.gif”. We don’t want that.

    When I use the “Office Button” and “prepare”, the option you mentioned (edit links to files) isn’t there. Just:
    – Properties
    – Inspect Document
    – Encrypt Document
    – Restrice Permissions
    – Digital Signature
    – Mark as Final
    – Compatibility Checker
    Any ideas how I can remove the “text on hover” from the pdf?

  13. David,

    The option to Edit Links to Files ONLY appears if you have linked images. If you are copy and pasting them into the document then they are already embedded, there are no links!

    That’s why your PDF displays ok.

    To remove the ‘text on hover’ I’d check the PDF settings (but as the links are local they won’t work anyway, just look unsightly). Either the generation of the PDF is adding the tooltip text or the PDF itself holds that information.


  14. Thanks for the reply.

    As it happens I found the answer to the “path” that showed when hovering over the images.

    Apparently when you paste the image into Word 2007, it adds “alt text” like an image on a webpage, to be “helpful” for assisted readers. You remove it, by “properties”? nope.

    You right click and choose “size” and there’s a tab under size where you can delete / change the alt text.

    Thanks again.

  15. Hi

    One could instead embed and link simultaneously. When the Insert->Picture menu is invoked, the third item in Link drop-down button has that option. It will take care of both distribution and ability to update the changed content.


  16. Very helpful, thanks. Unfortunately I’m only able to embed the first several images, and the rest of the hundred-plus images in my 300-page manual are killed (display as red X’s).

  17. Is it possible to do the opposite??
    That is – make embedded images linked?

  18. VBA Solution:

    Option Explicit

    Sub ChangeLinkFolder()
    Dim dlg As Dialog
    Dim ilsh As InlineShape
    Dim strNewPath As String

    Set dlg = Dialogs(wdDialogFileOpen)
    With dlg
    .Name = ActiveDocument.Path

    If .Display = -1 Then ‘ user clicked OK
    ‘ the WordBasic.FileNameInfo$ function is described at
    ‘ The syntax is
    ‘ x = WordBasic.FilenameInfo$(FileName$, FileType)
    ‘ where Filename is the name of the file, and FileType is a number which defines the part of the filename you want to return:
    ‘ 1 – the full pathname, e.g. C:My DocumentsMy File.doc”
    ‘ 2 – the filename only, if the file is in the current folder, otherwise the full pathname
    ‘ 3 – the filename only
    ‘ 4 – the filename without the extension
    ‘ 5 – the path without the filename, e.g. C:My Documents”
    ‘ 6 – the UNC pathname
    strNewPath = WordBasic.FilenameInfo$(.Name, 5)
    End If
    End With

    For Each ilsh In ActiveDocument.InlineShapes
    Application.StatusBar = ilsh.LinkFormat.SourcePath
    ilsh.LinkFormat.SourceFullName = strNewPath & ilsh.LinkFormat.SourceName
    Next ilsh

    Application.StatusBar = “”
    End Sub

  19. If Edit Links to Files does not appear, try moving your cursor down to the gray bar with a down arrow in the center.

  20. In Word 2010, “Edit Links” is a text link at the bottom right corner (under the Properties pane) on the File tab, Info section. The ‘Prepare documents for sharing’ option written large in the middle has nothing to do with it. It has taken me months to work this out!

  21. Thanks Sarah! I am SO glad you found that. I can’t believe they make it so hard to figure out…

  22. Fantastic post. An issue related to this was driving me crazy.

    *Weirdest MS Word bug/flaw/feature ever*

  23. Interesting. I pressed F1 in Word 2007 and searched for “to embed linked graphics” and this blog post was one of the results. Did you know that Microsoft are syndicating your content right inside Word? That makes you nearly famous!

  24. “You right click and choose β€œsize” and there’s a tab under size where you can delete / change the alt text.”

    Wow what was MS thinking. Can you make it any harder for people to find? Gezz.

    MS 2011: To print your document, click and hold down the save icon for 10 seconds then drag it over the References tab.

  25. Hi,
    This posting has been a life saver. I have used AIT for years and never had the problem of “unembedded graphics”. I was using a customized template for the customer which must have had a macro included to automatically embed the graphics. This is the first time I am using it on my home machine which has Office 2007 and it was a disaster. This is great and worked.

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