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I'm trying to find a way to flatten images in a Word 2007 document.

I want the images that have text/labels placed/layered on top of them to be merged into a single image. Are there any tools or add-ins for Word that can do this? With a 100+ page document I'm trying to avoid a manual process.

I can't believe Word doesn't have a feature or option hidden somewhere that can do this out of the box.

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I think manual is your only choice. –  Rhys Gibson Apr 12 '11 at 3:46
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6 Answers

Have you thought about grouping the objects and then saving them as a picture in Word? You can record your actions in VBA and get a good start on writing a macro to do the whole thing.

For example:

Ungrouped objects

In your Word document, group the picture elements you want to flatten into a single image as I have below:

Grouped Objects in Word 2010

Copy the grouped object by selecting it and pressing Ctrl + C and then choose Paste Special in the destination document. See the picture below:

Paste Special in Word 2010

Select the format you want and the picture will be added to your document. At this point you can right click the new picture and save it to the hard disk if you like. For some reason, other Office programs allow you to group and save the group objects as pictures (without the need to copy and paste special).

enter image description here

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Excellent, thanks @wbeard52. And after trying this I found that in 2013 you can just copy and paste back into the same document, selecting As Image from the normal paste options –  CLockeWork Aug 4 '13 at 10:59
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There is no native way to do this (e.g. native to Word). You could either print to PDF, or maybe XPS, for a workaround (you might be able to export to PDF and then back into Word). (I've been with word since 2000 and have never seen such a "flattening" feature.)

What do you need the images flattened for? Perhaps there is another, better workaround.

(I answer regardless of elapsed time :P)

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It seems there is no way to do it. However, here is another way to achieve what you want:

  1. Change image positioning to Behind text or In front of text as per your preference. This will prevent the image from moving when you type something in the document and furthermore, this will allow you drag the image anywhere freely as you can do in PowerPoint.

  2. If there are multiple images, group them together so that they will act as a single object for positioning purpose. An advantage of grouping over flattening is that you will be able to edit individual objects later if you wish to.

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You can use NXPowerLite to reduce the size of the file. This helps in flattening the images in the document.

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How does it do that exactly? Does it compress the file by doing so, and when you open it, the images are just flattened? –  slhck Nov 30 '11 at 11:46
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Word does not have such an option as far as I know.

You can try printing the whole document into PDF files or Office OneNote - this will flatten the images and you can re-use it again.

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If you have an image capture app like Snagit, for one, simply select the entire set of images to clipboard and then paste away at will.

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