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The default insertion type for pictures into documents is embedded. If you want to link to the picture file, you have to choose the "Link to File" option from the Insert button menu on the Insert Picture dialog each time you add a picture image.

Is there a method, maybe an unpublished Windows Registry setting, that can set the default to be Link to File?

This would be very convenient for organizations that wanted all picture files linked versus embedded into their documents.

  • How would you like to insert the pictures if not via Link to File? – harrymc Jun 8 '19 at 16:33
  • I would like to Link to File, and it requires that you select it each time you insert. Word, at least the current version, always returns to the default setting of Embedded. – Rich Michaels Jun 9 '19 at 1:09
  • Are you inserting the picture via drag-and-drop? (Add to your comment @harrymc for me to be notified.) – harrymc Jun 9 '19 at 7:15
  • @harrymc, yes drag-and-drop. Either manually or programmatically I would like to set a default insertion type (Link-to-File for example) and then regardless of the insertion method Insert Picture, Paste, or Drag-and-Drop, Word would adhere to that insertion type. – Rich Michaels Jun 9 '19 at 9:50
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What you see is intentional : Microsoft doesn't like linking to files, since when the file is moved the link is lost and the document is then broken.

Instead Microsoft added the Insert and Link option, which is the best of both options, both embedding the image and keeping the link in case it changes, but also the image in case the link is broken.

Even writing an add-on that will intercept the drag-and-drop and create instead a link is pretty hard (see link), which is why no such Word add-on exists today.

I'm sorry to conclude that such an option or software or registry update does not exist. You may recommend this as a feature to Microsoft's Feedback, but the chances of this happening are very low.

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