Images make a document for more interesting and also easier to understand. Here we’ll look at working with images. We’ll cover:

  • Inserting images
    • Uploading
    • Taking a snapshot
    • By URL
    • Google albums
    • Google Drive
    • Search
  • Editing an image
    • Resizing
    • Border – line colour, thickness, style
    • Cropping
    • Rotating
    • Resetting
    • Replacing
  • Positioning an image in a text
    • InLine
    • Wrap text
    • Break text

Inserting images

There are various ways you can insert an image into Google Docs and this will partially depend on where the image is to start with.

Go to the “Insert” menu and choose “Image”.

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This opens the “Insert image” box.

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Along the top you have 6 options:

  • Upload
  • Take a snapshot
  • By URL
  • Your albums
  • Google Drive
  • Search

Let’s look at them one-by-one.

Uploading an image

By default, the Upload option is selected. First, decide where in your document you want the image to be added and click on that place, so your cursor is there. To select your image, click on the blue button in the middle of the screen.

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This opens the folder directory, and you locate your file and double click it to select and upload it. It’ll appear on your document, where your cursor was.

Alternatively you can drag the file from its location into the middle of the screen. This then uploads it automatically.

Taking a snapshot

This allows you to take photos using your webcam. Click on “Take a snapshot”, this may ask you to allow access to your camera and microphone, just click “Allow” and “Close”. Then your webcam should turn on and you’ll see a lovely video of yourself.

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Click on the red “Take a snapshot” button and the photo will appear to the right of the main screen.

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Click on the one you want and press the blue “Select” button.


If you know the URL of an image, you can paste it in the box and this will upload the image directly into the document. Here I search for an image on Google and clicked on “View image”, then copied the image URL into the box.

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Your albums

This will show you photos in your Google albums, which you can click on to select and then press the blue “Select” button to add it to your document.

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Google Drive

If you have images on your Google Drive, you can add them directly into your Doc. Click on “Google Drive”, then either use the search box, or navigate to the folder where your images are. The search, will only look for image files, which as long as you know some of the filename, it’s usually the quickest way to do it. Once you’ve found your image, select it and click “select” to add it.

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Lastly, you can search directly from here for images that match your search term. You have the choice of searching on Google, Life, and stock images.

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Within the Google search you have the choice of filtering by image type (face, photo, clip art, line drawing) and by colour.

Editing an image

Now we have an image in our document what can we do with it?

Resizing the image

Well first, probably the most common thing done with an image is to resize it so it fits well in your document. Just click on the image and drag one of the blue dots. I usually use one of the corner dots, so as not to distort the image.

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Now let’s look at further editing options. Clicking on your image will change the toolbar at the top to give you various image editing options.

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Adding a border and changing its properties

Click on the image and then click on “Line colour” in the toolbar. This will open the colour palette. Click on the colour you want. Here I’ve gone for a tasteful shade of red, just so you can see what’s going on.

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To change the border thickness, click on “Line weight” and select a thickness.

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To change the line style, click on “Line dash”. There are only 3 options here.

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Cropping an image

Sometimes you need to crop your image to get rid of certain parts of it. You can do that right within Docs and best of all it’s non-destructive, which means if you crop an image, you can always go back and uncrop it.

To crop it, click on “Crop image” in the toolbar.

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Your image will now have black lines around it showing the corners and sides which can be cropped.

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Click on one of the black lines (here I’ve moved the one on the right in the middle, towards the left). It will show you the area that will remain and the part of the image that will be cropped (greyed out).

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Once it’s in the place you want it, to crop it, just press “Enter”.

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Rotating an image

Click on the image and at the top of it you will see a small circle.

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To rotate the image, click on the circle and hold the button down and drag your mouse to the left or right.

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Note, that if you’ve added a border to the image, the border doesn’t rotate, so you’ll be left with something like the image below. Similarly, if you have rotated an image, you can’t add a border afterwards.

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Resetting an image

As I mentioned above, the edits are non-destructive, so you are able to go back to the original image. This is useful if you’ve messed things up whilst editing it or you just want to use the original image in a different way. just click on the image and then “Reset image”.

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Changing the image properties

A little beyond the scope of this post, but you can change the colouring, transparency, brightness, and contrast of the image. Click on the image, then “Image options”. This brings up the “Image options” side toolbar. Re-colour, just the overall colouring of the image. Under Adjustments move the sliders to change the transparency, brightness, and contrast.

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Replacing an image

To replace an image, click on it and click “Replace image”. This will open the Insert image dialogue box, where you can find your image and it will place it in your document and remove the original one. Note, it will fit the new image to the size of the original one, which sometimes is fine and can save you reformatting it, but sometimes means you have to resize the image.

Positioning an image in a text

In this final part, we’ll look at how you can position the image in relation to your text in different ways. There are 3 ways:

  • In line
  • Wrap text
  • Break text

Click on your image and you will see the 3 options at the bottom:

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In line

By default, it will be on “In line”. This means the image will be placed on a line of the text, as if it were a piece of text. Below it was placed between the words “certain” and “areas”.

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Wrap text

Below I’ve selected “wrap text” and positioned the image to the right. The text wraps itself around the image. If the image was in the middle, the text would be on both sides.

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With Wrap text (and Break text below), you can change the amount of space around the image, by clicking on the margin menu and selecting an amount. Here I’ve increased from 3.2mm to 13mm.

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Break text

Sometimes you want don’t want any text on the same row as the image. “Break text” allows the image to the in the middle of the text, but with no text to the sides, which can make it a lot clearer.

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Baz Roberts (Google+Flipboard / Twitter)