Delete All Images from a Word Document

Mac users click the down arrow beside the Find field in the Find and Replace pane to select the Graphics option. (Do not select the gear icon.)

Images can be integral content in a manuscript: graphs convey huge volumes of data and information about their relationships; flowcharts relay sequences and relationships; pictures convey context and describe scenes. Images need to be seen while developing a manuscript or reviewing one, because they are so important. But images can also make files enormous to the point of crashing Word or email. Rather than deleting images one by one so that you can work with the file, delete them all at once with this simple Find and Replace in the Find/Navigation panel:

  1. In the Find field, select Graphic from the drop-down menu. Or, type the special code/regular expression ^g in directly.
  2. In the Replace with field, type nothing at all.
  3. Click Replace All.

You’re done! Now your file contains no images or graphs!

Windows users click the down arrow beside the Search document field in the Navigation pane to select the Graphics option.

Insert Placeholders in That Click, Too

Instead of replacing images and graphs with nothing, you may want to write [image placed here] in the Replace field. These replacement words won’t say which image or graph appeared there in the manuscript, but it will alert you that one was present!


book cover cropped to banner size
Find out more tricks for working with Find and Replace starting on p. 45 of the book.

Save a backup of the original file.

Tables, shapes, and equations created in Word will remain in place. They are not treated as a graphic. “Smart Art” elements created in Word will be erased.

While working with embedded images can be helpful during the development process, the images in that docx are not likely to be good enough resolution for the designer to work with. Make sure you have a folder full of original images at high resolution (note that means at least 300 dpi for print and about 120 dpi for modern hi-res screens).

Got a gnarly Word problem? Submit your problem and we’ll try to answer it in the Q&A thread.

Learn with us! Join a course today.

© This blog and all materials in it are copyright Adrienne Montgomerie on the date of publication. All rights reserved. No portion may be stored or distributed without express written permission. Asking is easy!

Leave a Reply