Embedding Linked Images in a Word Document

Jul 27, 2007

I googled the phrase in the title a lot the other day.

I had created printed documentation from a large Flare Help file. Everything exported perfectly. Then I moved the document to a different directory. When I opened it again, all my images were little red Xs. They were linked instead of embedded.

I wish Flare gave me an option before creating the printed documentation: embedded or linked images. I went through a lot of rigmarole before finally figuring out how to get the images embedded so I could share the document. I did not find much information on the web, which is why I’m writing this post. I hope it saves someone the headache I had.

A couple of tips:

  • Before you try this, make a copy of your document in the same directory, just in case things go wrong.
  • Perform this procedure before you format and resize all of your images.

Here’s how to embed your images:

Note: These directions use Word 2003. I’m sure they transpose, with slight differences, to Word 2007. This should at least get you started.

1. From the Edit menu, select Links.

2. The Links dialog box displays. This is where you’ll do all of your work.


3. Let’s start with just one image. Click the first link.

4. The source information displays the name of the image. Check the Save Picture in Document checkbox – this is very important!

5. Click the Update Now button. It may seem as if nothing happens, but it actually just saved your photo to the document.

6. Make sure the Save Picture in Document checkbox is still selected. Click the Break Link button.

7. A confirmation box appears. Don’t be scared. Click Yes.

8. The link is removed from the Links dialog box and that particular image should now be embedded in your document.

9. Here’s the catch: If you have already re-sized and formatted your images within Word, that is all lost. It is best to do this procedure before you start re-sizing and modifying graphics within the document.

I had hundreds of images, so I didn’t do this manually for each one. I tried selecting all of them at once, but that seemed to confuse Word. So I selected about ten at a time and it seemed to work great.

Posted by | Categories: Technical Writing |

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18 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Rocco Pier Luigi
    December 13th, 2007 at 4:33 am #

    Thanks, I was just looking for how to do this

  2. Scott Josephson
    May 15th, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    Word 2007 removed the Links option from the interface.
    You must use the following Word 2003 access key: ALT, E, K. These keys must be pressed separately, one after the other.
    The Links menu appears and you can continue the steps above.

  3. Iain Johnson
    June 23rd, 2008 at 5:20 am #

    Thanks for this. Seems there’s some issues with relative links if you try to embed the images with the document in a location other than the Flare compile directory. Putting the document back in there and using the steps above will work.
    Also, no need to use the Alt + E,K to get into the links menu in word 2007; just click the windows icon in the top left corner -> Prepare -> Edit Links to Files

  4. Nick
    July 25th, 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    Wow! Thank you soooo much. An easy fix to an annoying problem.

  5. Paul
    August 13th, 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    In Word 2007, you can convert linked pictures to embedded ones by clicking the Microsoft Office button (that big round thing at the top left corner of the window) and clicking Prepare. If your document contains linked pictures (or other linked content), you should see “Edit Links to Files” on the Prepare menu. Clicking that opens the Links window, similar to the one described in the original post above.

  6. David Russell
    September 18th, 2008 at 9:23 am #

    Thank you… it is nice to find little unknown utilities within word that do exactly what you want.

  7. koyama
    November 22nd, 2008 at 3:29 pm #

    Thank you very much, this was exactly what I was looking for. The ALT+E+K shortcut probably only works on English version of MS Office Word 2007, but I have Danish version and I have no clue what the corresponding shortcut is. Thanks to the comment by Paul I got this solved on Danish MS Office Word 2007 without using the keyboard shortcut.
    As usual, I find the answer to my Office-related problem as a blog post rather than from Microsoft’s resources 🙂

  8. Alex
    November 26th, 2008 at 1:14 pm #

    Nice one, exactly what I was looking for. Now the 450KB Word doc is up to the 10.5MB I was expecting. Word 2007 didn’t seem to mind doing all the pictures at once for me, so it is a minor step in the long path of single source document production.
    But thanks again.

  9. Jay Stephens
    December 3rd, 2008 at 7:44 pm #

    Yeah – not the 1st time you’ve solved something that endless searches of the MS site could not. Us poor mouse-centric users are little served by the fact that the 2003 keyboard shortcuts still work… So thanks to Paul as well 🙂

  10. Armand
    July 29th, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    THANK YOU. Incredible that it is imbossible to get this information in the word help!!

  11. Nick
    October 7th, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    I add my thanks to everyone else’s. Great work, I wish I’d seen your post several hours earlier. (The images in the doc only disappeared when the doc was printed.) I’m delighted to have found this site!

  12. Dan
    October 15th, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    HUGE help. Muchas gracias.

  13. Kazzar
    December 14th, 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    Thank you so much!!!! I was having exactly the same problem with Flare and was trying desparately to fix it. Now I can do it without rebuilding and having to redo all my edits!

  14. Pierre
    December 28th, 2009 at 3:44 pm #

    Good grief! There is nothing that comes remotely close to this in the MS Word Help. What a shortcoming.
    This is great information. It worked fine for me. The images did not lose their formatting.
    You are a most kind lady, in addition to being smart and attractive.
    Thank you so much.

  15. RunM
    January 26th, 2010 at 4:36 am #

    Thanks a lot !!
    You save my life :o)))

  16. TDJ
    November 14th, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    A faster approach using VBA code.. this will do ALL images of the inlineshape type.
    Technically you can’t change the .type property of images, but if you change the .savewithdoc property and use breaklink function, Word magically changes the type for you….

    Sub convert_all_inline_shapes()
    Dim s As InlineShape
    For Each s In ActiveDocument.InlineShapes
    If s.Type wdInlineShapePicture Then
    ' use debug print to get a list of images converted.. not necessary though...
    Debug.Print s.Type & " <>"
    s.LinkFormat.SavePictureWithDocument = True
    End If
    Next s
    End Sub

  17. Word: Embed Linked Images — EpingSoft
    April 9th, 2011 at 3:21 am #

    […] Embedding Linked Images in a Word Document […]

  18. Nathan Gustavson
    May 29th, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    If you do have a bunch of formatting you don’t want to break, you can typically save yourself by opening the file in openoffice, and resaving as a .doc, it will preserve the formatting and save the images locally.
    Or you could just use openoffice in the first place and not have these insane problems….

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