If you have objects like shapes or pictures in your Word document, and then move the document text around, it may not be clear why your objects are repositioned the way they are.

In Word, there are two primary ways objects can be positioned.

  • In line with the text - The object is positioned just like normal text is positioned. If you insert text in front of the object, it moves forward just like the rest of the text does.
  • Floating - The object is "anchored" somewhere and moves when the thing to which it's anchored moves. If the thing to which the object's anchored is deleted, the object gets deleted too.

To find out which of the two a particular object uses:

  1. Double-click the object to bring up up a dialog.
  2. Click the Layout tab.
  3. In the Wrapping Style section, if the leftmost dog picture is selected (In line with text), the object uses inline positioning. Otherwise it's floating.

If you've got something inline, positioning it easy. Just move it around like you move around text.

If it's floating, the easiest way to figure out its positioning is to display the object's anchor:

  1. Switch to Print Layout view (View menu | Print Layout).
  2. Click the button on the Standard toolbar to show the document formatting.
  3. Now, click an object like a shape or an image. If the object's floating, you'll see a little anchor icon appear that indicates where the object is anchored.
Here's a quick example:


  • The yellow circle uses floating positioning.
    • At the top, notice that I have the button on the toolbar selected.
    • I clicked the yellow circle shape and the little anchor icon in the left margin appeared.
    • When the text near the anchor is moved, the yellow circle moves too.
    • If I delete text right next to the anchor, the circle is deleted too.
    • I can drag the anchor icon around to specify exactly where I want my circle anchored.
  • The blue rectangle is positioned inline. It's positioned just like any other Word text, in this case after "The quick br" and before "own fox. Since it's inline, I can position the blue rectangle just like I position normal Word text.