I have a number of custom symbols I use regularly in Word. Right now, I have them saved as individual shapes in a Word document. I keep this open and cut-and-paste shapes as needed.

However, I'd love to somehow add these shapes to a library that would automatically display in Word when I use the "insert shape" dialog.

Is this possible? Or have I been spoiled by the swatch and brush libraries in Illustrator? :)

5 Answers 5


I suggest making your own custom template with all the shapes you often use. That way, you will always have access to them.

You'll have to copy/paste them as you go along. However, this saves some time compared to doing it externally..

  • Yep...that's how I've been doing it. I'd just prefer to have a little icon on the menu bar. :)
    – dwwilson66
    Jan 21, 2013 at 16:55

Being in position that required writing of significant number of "how-to" documents, I have had the same need; the solution I found that worked best for me was to use: MS Office Clip Organizer

It is in the All Programs\Microsoft Office...Office Tools folder in the Start Menu.

  1. using your favorite image editor (or cut & paste from Word to your image editor) to create your custom shapes, images, signatures, etc that you want to stamp your docs with.

  2. Save Shapes:

    a) Save AS: I like to use bitmaps and GIFs ...GIFs are especially nice when you want transparency for things like signatures.

    b) Save to a folder in your Pictures folder (i.e.: C:\Users\Name\MyPictures\MSWord_Shapes)

    c) Add a prefix your image file names using a common tag, like your initials (i.e.: dw_myshape01.gif)

  3. Open MS Clip Organizer and create a New Collection (i.e.: myShapes) or just use the Favorites collection folder.

    a. Then add all of your Custom Shapes to your new collection.enter image description here

  4. In Word, when you want your custom shapes, use "Insert Clip" instead and just type your chosen prefix (e.g.: "dw" - without the underscore) in the search to pull only your images and insert at will :-)

    a. If you want to do more than re-size the image, just un-group and edit the parts. I have un-group and add text box in my quick access tool set for this.

In the end, it is not as quick and easy as having them in the Insert Shapes menu, but it's faster than customizing on the fly.

Using the MS Clips Organizer is not necessarily better than the cut & paste from a shapes template suggested by COT either (a technique I have used as well), this is just another option. And sometimes the way you do things comes down to what best fits your workflow.

Hope this helps!

  • Awesome option! I'd not even thought of that. I'll have to see what works best for me. :)
    – dwwilson66
    Feb 5, 2013 at 12:35
  • Excellent. I prefer this way because it allows me to associate keywords with the graphics, search and organize them, etc.
    – Jelgab
    Feb 26, 2013 at 19:07

Why not just create a word document called 'shapes library' and save them in that. Then all you need to do is open it when you want to access the shape and copy it on to the clip board.

Much easier than trying to adapt a picture to a shape, especially if you want to add text in it somewhere.


Select the object, etc. that you want to re-use. Go to "Insert" tab. Select "Quick Parts" Select "Save Selection to Quick Parts Gallery"


If you create a custom gallery in your ribbon (see ribbon customization), then you can fill up the custom gallery with your own shapes if you select your own custom shape and click Alt-F3, then choose storage in your custom gallery. This is valid for word 2016, I do not know about earlier versions. A problem I have not solved is, - clicking on shape in gallery - to place the shapes into a canvas. So far I can only put then into the document

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