While Microsoft Word is traditionally used as a way to create text documents, it has a number of different tools that allow you to add other objects, too. This includes things like pictures, text boxes and tables, but you may be wondering how to draw in Word if you want to insert your own designs.
Fortunately there are a set of tools that you can use to draw shapes, or even draw freehand objects.
These drawings that you make can be customized in a variety of ways using the various formatting options that appear after you have added a drawn object to your document.
Our article below will show you how to use the drawing tools in Microsoft Word for Office 365 so that you can add the designs or elements that your document requires.
How to Draw in Word
- Open your document.
- Click the Insert tab.
- Select the Shapes button, then choose a shape from the drop down menu.
- Click and hold at a spot in the document, then draw your shape.
- Release the mouse button when you are finished.
Our article continues below with additional information on sharing in Word for Office 365, including pictures of these steps.
How to Draw Shapes or Freehand in Microsoft Word for Office 365 (Guide with Pictures)
The steps in this article were performed in the Microsoft Word for Office 365 version of the application, but will also work in most other versions of Word.
Step 1: Open your document in Microsoft Word.
Step 2: Select the Insert tab at the top of the window.
Step 3: Click the Shapes button in the Illustrations section of the ribbon, then choose one of the shapes form the drop down menu.
If you want to draw a freehand shape, then select the Scribble option in the Lines section of the menu.
Step 4: Click and hold your mouse button down at the point in the document where you want the shape, then draw it.
Step 5: Release the mouse button when you are finished.
This is going to create an outline of a shape, so you will need to use the formatting options if you would like to change its color, outline, or add some effects.
How to Format a Drawing in Microsoft Word
Now that you have a drawing in your document, you will likely want to make some additional changes to the way that it looks.
Step 1: Double click the shape to select it.
Step 2: Select the Shape Format tab at the top of the window.
Step 3: Choose one of the options in the ribbon to format the shape.
Some popular formatting options for drawings include the Shape Fill, Shape Outline, and Shape Effects options found in the Shape Styles section of the ribbon.
You can also elect to resize the drawing by using the controls located around the drawing when it is selected. If you want to add text on top of the drawing then you can continue to the section below.
How to Put Text on Top of a Drawing in Word for Office 365
A common use of the drawing tool is to add a drawing to your document, then place text on top of it. Fortunately there is an option to place a text box on the drawing as well.
Step 1: Select the drawing.
Step 2: Click the Shape Format tab.
Step 3: Select the Draw Text Box option in the Insert Shapes section of the ribbon.
Step 4: Type your text into the text box.
Depending on the color of your shape and your needs for how the text looks, you may not like the white background of the text box. Fortunately this can be changed in the same manner as you edit the drawing. Simply click inside the text box to select it, choose the Shape Format tab, then click the Shape Fill button and choose the No Fill option.
How to Apply Additional Formatting Options to Your Word Drawing
If the formatting options in the ribbon don’t seem like they have enough options for you, there is another menu that you can open which provides additional settings.
Right-click on the drawing, then choose the Format Shape option from the bottom of this right click menu.
You should now see the Format Shape column at the right side of the window. There you can find settings that let you change the appearance of the shape’s line, as well as additional options for formatting the shape fill.
For example, you could choose to increase the transparency of the shape if there is something underneath it that you want to be able to see.
More Information on How to Draw in Microsoft Word with Drawing Tools
If you just went directly for the Scribble option on the Shapes drop down menu, it can be useful to go back to it and see all of the different shapes that are available. There are things like ovals, arrows and mathematical symbols, as well as some various line options. If you wanted to draw a straight line, for example, you could choose one of the options in the Lines section.
If you are having trouble drawing a straight horizontal line, try holding down the Shift key on your keyboard before you click in the document. This will force the line to stay horizontal.
If you tried out the right click option discussed previously to open the Format Shape column, then take a look at that menu again. There are also options on that menu that let you add a caption to your image, add a hyperlink, or add alt text.
Depending on your drawing skills, particularly when it comes to freehanding with a mouse, learning how to draw in Word can be pretty difficult. Even with all of the drawing tools in Word that are available in the application, you are still limited by your own skill and dexterity. I am a terrible artist (as indicated by the terrible “M” that I drew in the guide above), so I tend to avoid using any of the options that require me to draw freehand on the drawing canvas.
If you are a skilled artist by struggle with the drawing tools in Microsoft Word, then you may want to consider getting a drawing tablet. These connect to your computer via the USB port, and are compatible with a lot of different image editing applications. So, for example, you could draw as you normally would with a drawing tablet in an application like Microsoft Paint or Adobe Photoshop, then save that drawing as an image. That image can then be inserted into a Word document in the same way that you would add any other image.
Matthew Burleigh has been a freelance writer since the early 2000s. You can find his writing all over the Web, where his content has collectively been read millions of times.
Matthew received his Master’s degree in Computer Science, then spent over a decade as an IT consultant for small businesses before focusing on writing and website creation.
The topics he covers for MasterYourTech.com include iPhones, Microsoft Office, and Google Apps.
You can read his full bio here.