Graham Mayor

... helping to ease the lives of Microsoft Word users.

Many people access the material from this web site daily. Most just take what they want and run. That's OK, provided they are not selling on the material as their own; however if your productivity gains from the material you have used, a donation from the money you have saved would help to ensure the continued availability of this resource. Click the appropriate button above to access PayPal.

Simple extraction of images from Word

Once an image is included in a Word document (as opposed to being linked to it), it becomes part of that document. Extracting that image for re-use, is not insurmountable. You can, for example, save the document as a web page, which will separate the component parts out of the document as files (from Word 2000 on), or you could use the following ingenious method which fellow Word MVP Suzanne Barnhill came across, which only appears to have one minor caveat mentioned below at the relevant point.

The method which works in both Word 2003 and 2007 (and probably earlier versions) on the Windows XP platform. I have not tested it with Windows Vista. It entails simply selecting the image and, with the left mouse button depressed, dragging it to a visible part of the Windows desktop. Obviously you will have to have Word windowed at the time in order to be able to see a part of the desktop.

When you release the mouse button you will see the following dialog:

On clicking yes, you will be given the option to save the image in a folder of your choice. The original image name is not retained. You can either choose the name offered or use your own name.

Having clicked 'Save' you will be presented with a further dialog. On this dialog select 'No'.


I tested the effect of selecting 'Yes' and found that it screwed up my desktop settings to such an extent that I had to perform a System Restore to get it back as I had had it previously. I didn't bother to test it again.


The image is saved at the same size as the original image. Compare the full size screen capture at the start of this method, with the finished item below:


Extract using Word 2007/2010

Word's new file format is XML and when you save a document in Word 2007/2010's default DOCX format, you are in effect saving a zip file that contains all the elements of the document. You can easily extract the files from that zipped file by opening it with a zip utility such as  WinRar or Winzip - or if you change the file extension from DOCX to ZIP recent Windows versions should be able to open it directly.

The image files (provided they are real images and not shapes or autoshapes) are stored in a sub folder called Media and can be extracted and renamed for re-use:

You can use this method to extract images from DOC format documents, provided you save them from Word 2007/2010 as DOCX format with the compatibility option unchecked first.


An alternative method using html

This essentially similar method may be used with Word 2007, but the above method is simpler, so the following is more applicable to Word 2003 and earlier. It relies on the fact that html is also comprised of a number of separate elements, though in this case the folders are not compressed.

The File menu has an option to save as a web page. The default option for this function is the single page web format, hence the suggestion to save the document in the manner described.

The images will be saved in a sub folder of the folder into which the document is saved which will have a name based on the filename chosen i.e. <Filename>_files.

This is the default setting and is controlled from Tools > Options > General > Web Options (see illustration).

Save the document as a webpage (File > Save As). In the following example, I have used the name Extract.htm. The sub folder in this case will therefore be called Extract_files.

The files will not be visible in the 'save as' dialog, but you can view them in the File > Open dialog with the file type set to 'all files' (as below), the Insert Picture dialog or by using Windows Explorer.

This alone will extract the images, but the original resolution no longer applies. You can improve the resolution of the extracted images by setting the web options from the 'Tools' sub menu of the file save window (or from Word Tools > Options > General > Web Options). Select the 'Pictures' tab and choose the largest screen size available, and in the 'Pixels per inch' box, type '300' - see illustration:

The resulting image may not have the resolution of the originally inserted image, but it should produce an acceptable image file.



Word users with PowerPoint can use that application as an aid to extracting images individually with the possibility of improving the resolution compared with the above quick and dirty method.

Select the image in the Word document and paste it into an otherwise blank PowerPoint slide. Right click the resulting image and choose Save as Picture.

This provides the option to save the image in a number of compatible formats of which EMF (Enhance Windows Metafile) may produce the best results.


An alternative approach has been developed by fellow MVP Stephen Lebans, which is well worth investigating.



Extract Images

There are several approaches one can take to extract images from Word documents, much depends on the document format, and in many cases the results may not be identical to the original image.