How to Painlessly Extract Images from a Word Document

There are two quick and easy ways to extract images from a Word document. This post goes through the steps to extract them on either your desktop or within InDesign.

In an ideal world, no one would supply a designer solely with images and charts embedded in a Word document. However, this happens regularly – often with the client not having access to the original media.

Screen shot of a Word document with an embedded photo. The photo is selected with a drop down menu with Save As Picture selected. A crying emoji is next to this dialogue box.

Before I came across InDesign Secret’s video and post, I would right click each image and select “Save As Picture”. This was a long and painful process, especially when you had a multitude of images to get through. Fortunately, there is a much faster way to do this!

In the video Extracting images from a Word document, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción from InDesign Secrets share two methods:

Extract images from Word in InDesign:

  1. Place the Word doc
    (File > Place > select the Word doc > click your InDesign page to place it in the file)
  2. Open your Links panel in InDesign
  3. Select the images that were embedded in the Word doc
    (click on the first image, then shift-click on the last image)
  4. Go to the Links panel menu (top right corner) and select “un-embed link”
  5. A window will appear. Click “No”
    (you do not have the original images – if you did you wouldn’t be going through this process)
  6. A window will appear. Create a new folder to store your images
    (press New Folder > type in name > Create > Choose)

Extract images from Word on your desktop:

  1. Make a copy of the Word doc
    (right click the Word document > Duplicate)
  2. Rename the file type from .doc/docx to .zip
  3. A window will appear. Click “Use zip”
  4. Your file will now appear as a compressed file
  5. Double click the file to unzip it
  6. Navigate to the “word” folder within the unzipped folder
  7. Navigate to the “media” folder. There you will see all the images in the Word doc! Other items, such as Excel docs will appear in the “embedding” folder


My folder did not unzip automatically. It turned out that the default program on my computer (Archive Utility) did not work for this task, but another application installed did (The Unarchiver). To get around this problem, I did the following:

  1. Right click your zipped folder
  2. Select “Open With” and select the alternative decompressor app on your computer.

Note, these instructions are for a Mac, but the process is similar on a PC.


Author: nchitty

Inclusive designer based out of Toronto.

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