Word: Extracting original images from a document

January 23, 2013

It used to be that if you wanted to extract your graphics from a Word document in pretty much one step, you had to save the document as a web page. This created a folder containing the graphics. But the graphics were saved as — or converted to — fuzzy JPGs, crisp PNGs, or GIFs, depending on the original format of the images. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked — to a point.

I recently discovered that you can extract graphics in their original formats from any DOCX Word document (i.e. Word 2007, 2010, etc.) by changing the file extension to ZIP, then unzipping that ZIP file.

You end up with a whole slew of folders and XML files, and in amongst them is the word > media folder, in which you will find your original graphics, in their original sizes and format.

Very neat trick!

[Links last checked August 2018]



  1. That’s a good trick, but its still a lot quicker just to “Prt Screen” and copy into a graphics application. My experience is Word is a bit unstable as a graphics vehicle if you want an exact an duplicate of the original, especially after interactive edits by others when a document is shared.

  2. Thanks Rhonda, that’s a great technique.

  3. Hi Vernon

    Copying an individual graphic using Print Screen or a screen capture program like SnagIt is an option (and one I’ve used often for a ‘quick and dirty’ capture), but there are two problems with that technique.

    First, you can only capture one image at a time. With the option above, you extract ALL images at once from a Word document (some of the docs I work on have more than 50 images in them).

    Second, Word resizes a large image to fit the page, so unless you size it back to 100% and have a big enough monitor on which to see it in full, you won’t get the original image size.


  4. A-ha! I have used the trick of saving as web page for years. Kai Weber just told me about the zip trick, but I thought I was OK. You just explained the difference! Very useful.

  5. This is a very neat ‘trick’. I will use it a lot. Thank you for all your hard work!!

  6. This a great trick. Thanks.

  7. What a time saver this will be! Excellent tip :)

  8. […] A curly one, for sure. Like Mary, I’d found that the images saved when you save to XML or HTML were unhelpfully named. I even checked the image properties to find if any of the information about […]

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