If you’re writing a document that includes images, you may want to add annotations to those images to clarify what they represent. You can add callouts to your images to point out particular parts of the image and add text to describe those parts.

We will show you how to annotate an image directly in Word so you don’t have to use a third-party program.

First, insert an image into your document. To do this, click the “Insert” tab.

In the “Illustrations” section, click “Pictures”.

On the “Insert Picture” dialog box, navigate to the folder containing the image file you want to insert, select it, and click “Insert”.

Make sure the image is selected by clicking on it. In the “Illustrations” section of the “Insert” tab, click “Shapes”.

Click on one of the shapes in the “Callouts” section of the drop-down menu to select that shape.

The cursor changes to a big “+” symbol. Click and drag on the image to define the size and location of the callout.

Once you’ve defined the size of the callout, the cursor is automatically inserted into the center of the callout. Start typing to enter your text.

You can change the font, font size, and font style by selecting the text in the callout and selecting options from the mini toolbar that displays. If you’ve disabled the mini toolbar, you can use the formatting commands on the “Home” tab to format your text.

The fill color and outline color can also be changed. We’ll start with the fill color. Move your mouse toward the edge of the callout until it becomes a pointer with a crosshair.

Right-click on the callout and select “Fill” from the popup box above the popup menu.

Select a color from the “Theme Colors” section or the “Standard Colors” section of the drop-down menu. You can also access more colors or define a custom color by selecting “More Fill Colors”, experiment with a “Gradient” or a “Texture”, or use a “Picture” as the background on the callout.

To change the outline color, right-click on the callout again and click “Outline”. Select a color for the outline of the callout, or select “No Outline” if you want to remove the outline. Select “More Outline Colors” to access additional colors or create a custom color for the outline. You can also specify the “Weight” of the line and whether the line is composed of “Dashes” rather than a solid line.

If you don’t like the position of the callout, move your mouse over the callout until it turns into a pointer with a crosshair. Click and drag the callout to the desired location.

Once you’ve moved the callout, you may need to reposition the callout arrow to point where you want. To do this, move the mouse over the callout until you see the pointer with the crosshair and then click on the callout to select it. Move the mouse over the handle at the end of the callout arrow until the cursor becomes a small arrow.

Click and drag the handle to move it where you want. The whole callout arrow moves to the appropriate side of the callout.

Use the other handles on the callout to resize the callout. When you move your mouse over a handle, the cursor turns into a double ended arrow. Click and drag to resize the callout.

Experiment with adding other types of shapes, lines, and text to your images using the “Shapes” on the “Insert” tab.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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