For drawing in an MS Word for Mac 2016 document, a canvas is apparently no longer necessary. Is it nevertheless available in any way? I liked them; they helped keep things contained.

UPDATE: I am running on OS X. Have been informed that it is rather different from Word on Windows machines.

  • I don't have a copy of Office 2016 handy current, seems like you can verify this easy enough, here is the help article on the subject. New Drawing Canvas. will either exist or it won't. – Ramhound Apr 8 '16 at 19:23
  • Saw that. It is explicitly for Office 2010. Doesn't say anything, AFAICT, about changes in 2016. Thanks anyway. – bob.sacamento Apr 8 '16 at 19:25
  • The location should be the same, if adding a Drawing Canvas is even possible, its should be here: "Within the Illustrations group, click on Shapes and then click New Drawing Canvas" if it isn't there then it was removed and you have your answer. – Ramhound Apr 8 '16 at 19:27

On Windows Word 2016, the option is called New Canvas Drawing and is at the bottom of Insert tab->Illustrations group->Shapes dropdown.

There is no such option on Mac Word 2016 (or 2011 for that matter). Word VBA on Mac does not currently have the AddCanvas command that the Windows version has, either, so it does not look as if you can create a macro to add one. (If you try to use the command to insert a shape of type msoCanvas, you get something that looks like a No Entry road sign, and it does not work like a canvas).

Because the canvas feature is not provided on Mac, it is difficult to recommend using them, as they may not actually be supported.

However, if you create a document on Windows Word and insert a canvas, then open that in Mac Word 2016 (or 2011), you get a Canvas that appears to work in a similar way on Mac. So if you have such a document, you could

  • make a copy
  • open it in Mac Word
  • remove everything from the canvas and size/format it the way you want
  • select the canvas and save it as an autotext

Then use the autotext feature to insert the canvas.

If you do not have such a document, you can use the XML I have provided below. To do that,

  • Select all the XML and copy it to the clipboard (e.g. cmd-C on Mac)
  • Open TextEdit and use File->New to create a blank document
  • Paste the XML into that
  • Use File->Save to save the document. I suggest that you select "Unicode UTF-8" in the "Plain text encoding" dropdown, uncheck "Hide Extension", and call the document canvas.xml. Make sure that TextEdit does not change the name (e.g. to canvas.txt or canvas.xml.txt)
  • Use File->Close to close the document

You should then be able to open canvas.xml in Word. The canvas probably won't be visible until you click on it (it's at the top left of the document in the main text area).

Then save the canvas as an autotext, as suggested earlier.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<?mso-application progid="Word.Document"?>
<pkg:package xmlns:pkg="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2006/xmlPackage">
      <Relationships xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/package/2006/relationships">
          Target="word/document.xml" />
      <Relationships xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/package/2006/relationships">
          Target="settings.xml" />
                <wp:anchor distT="0" distB="0" distL="0" distR="0" simplePos="0" relativeHeight="0" behindDoc="0" locked="0" layoutInCell="1" 
                  <wp:simplePos x="0" y="0" />
                  <wp:positionH relativeFrom="column">
                  <wp:positionV relativeFrom="paragraph">
                  <wp:extent cx="4000000" cy="3000000" />
                  <wp:wrapNone />
                  <wp:docPr id="1" name="Canvas 1" />
                    <a:graphicData uri="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/word/2010/wordprocessingCanvas">
                        <wpc:bg />
                        <wpc:whole />
      <w:settings xmlns:w="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/wordprocessingml/2006/main">
          <w:compatSetting w:name="compatibilityMode" w:uri="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/word" w:val="15" />
  • 1
    Wow! Had no idea anyone was going to do that much work for this! Thanks! – bob.sacamento Apr 11 '16 at 13:35
  • Thank you so much @user181946 This is one of the most generous and useful solutions I have been able to use. If I could I'd recommend you for an award. Why oh why did Microsoft not allow use to Insert a Canvas?! PS I secretly hope you work for Microsoft, perhaps even the Word for Mac team :-) – Ashley Aitken Jan 19 '20 at 12:58

I found a way to insert canvas like Microsoft Word (Windows version) using MAC by going to:

  3. Dropdown menu for Command to ALL
  4. Click ADD (+) in Customise ribbon (create new tab)
  5. Select INSERT DRAWING from command ALL to the new tab
  • 2
    A better answer than xml copy + paste in my opinion. – natedavisolds Mar 1 '20 at 15:11
  • As far as I can tell, this is the exact feature the OP and I were looking for and it functions the same as New Canvas Drawing does. – Andrew Fox Apr 22 '20 at 17:26
  • Nice!! I was about to give up, everyone says it's impossible on Mac. My God, it actually works very well! – 118218 Nov 19 '20 at 9:57

On Mac You can insert a shape staright in word and then use tab "Shape Format" --> Arrange --> position --> "in line with text"

will give you the same effect as the canvas.


The following should help:

  1. Place the cursor roughly where you want the drawing canvas to be.

  2. Go to the Insert tab.

  3. Click the Shapes button and choose New Drawing Canvas.

You can find New Drawing Canvas at the bottom of the Shapes drop-down list.

Source: How to Work with the Drawing Canvas in Word 2016 for Windows

Please Note:

This answer was written towards Office 2016 on Windows. When I originally submitted this answer, the question made no mention of OS X, so I wrote it towards the only version of Office I knew. I am keeping this answer, since everyone else still find use out of it, but if people don't find it helpful I will just delete it.

  • If I think about it, I will go to the effort, of adding a screenshot later today. Since the answer is complete, even without screenshots, it isn't actually a huge priority. – Ramhound Apr 8 '16 at 20:13
  • @Ramhoud and bibadia, thanks guys, but I'm sorry. It just isn't there. I'm on a Mac. Is Word different on a Mac? – bob.sacamento Apr 8 '16 at 22:21
  • 2
    Yes; Office on OS X is entirely different. You should have said that originally. Great; I have to delete this answer, since it's completely useless, since Office on OS X has an entirely different feature set – Ramhound Apr 9 '16 at 0:29
  • That I did not know. At all. Will edit question. Thanks. – bob.sacamento Apr 11 '16 at 13:32

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