Word: Cropping an image

December 12, 2013

Word 2010 has some quite powerful image editing tools. One that’s been around for a long time is ‘Crop’.

You should crop an image when you have:

  • extraneous white space around the image
  • labels, borders, or other information outside the main image that you don’t want to keep.

Note: Cropping will only remove unwanted white space or information from the edges, not from within the image. And it’s NOT permanent – you are cropping what you can see, not cutting it out completely.

Below is an example of a figure added to a Word document. You can see that there’s a little white space above and on the sides of the image (#1, 2, 3), but the main offender is the big blank bit with a date (#4) sitting below the image (I clicked on the image to show the ‘handles’). While you can edit out this big space in graphics software, it’s very quick and easy to do ‘on the fly’ in Word using the cropping tool.


How to crop an image:

  1. Click on the image in Word to select it. The ‘handles’ (see above) show that it’s selected.
  2. On the ribbon, go to the Format tab for Picture Tools.
  3. Click the Crop icon.
  4. The image is now surrounded by black markers at each edge and corner.
  5. Hover your cursor over the black cropping marker of the edge you want to change until it changes to a ‘T’ icon (for the edges) or an ‘L’ icon (for the corners).
  6. Click and drag the cursor in towards the image – as you do so, the area that will be removed by the cropping will be shaded dark grey.
  7. Stop and release the cursor where you want to stop cropping the image.
  8. Repeat steps 5 to 7 for any of the other edges you want to trim down.
  9. When you’re finished cropping, check that the image is as you want it to be. Make any adjustments.
  10. Click the Crop icon again to save your changes.


Note: Word doesn’t delete the unwanted bits of your image—it just hides them. You can always reset your cropping for that image by clicking on it again, then clicking the Crop icon.

[Based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my work colleagues]


  1. You can remove the cropped portion permanently. In Word 2010: Picture tools > Format > Adjust > Compress Pictures. An dialog box will give you the option to “Delete cropped areas of pictures”. You can apply it to only the selected image or to all images in the document. Very useful for reducing file size or hiding something permanently.

  2. […] This screenshot shows how to crop an image in Word.  https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/word-cropping-an-image/ […]

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