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I would like to save a Word 2010 file so that it has automatically saves a thumbnail image of the first page.

These instructions mention how to get Word 2003 to save a thumbnail in the metadata of the .doc file:

To save a thumbnail in Word or Excel you must go to File > Properties and select the Save preview picture checkbox.

However, Word 2010 doesn't have "File > Properties" and under "File > Options" und both Save and General I find no checkbox called "Save preview".

How can I get Word 2010 to save a thumbnail image of the first page of the document in its metadata, to be read out by other applications?

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This article provides step by step visual details on how to save a word document with a thumbnail: Word 2010: Save Documents to Display with Thumbnail Picture.

If you wish to save thumbnails for all word documents by default, follow the steps given below:

  1. Go to File > Info then on the right hand side of the screen click on the drop down arrow next to properties and select Advanced Properties.

  2. In the new dialog box select the tab labelled Summary and the bottom of the dialog check the option to Save Thumbnails for All Word Documents. Then just click OK.

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