Microsoft Word users who have upgraded to Office for Mac 2011 may notice that suddenly they are unable to print pictures they’ve inserted or pasted into their Word documents. Or they may notice that files that they created and printed just fine in Word 2008 no longer print with their pictures when opened in Word 2011. Text doesn’t seem affected.
This problem is the result of an undocumented feature change in Word 2011. Although Word users can work around this feature change when creating new documents, they will either have to edit their older documents to accommodate the change or print using Word for Windows or older versions of Word for Mac.
Recreating the problem
What’s changed? Simply put: Pictures will no longer print when inserted or pasted into Word 2011’s text boxes.
To reproduce the problem do this:
- Launch Word 2011 and create a new Text Box on a new page using the drop down menu from the Insert tab of the ribbon.
- Using the Text Box cursor, draw a text box on the page.
- Add a little bit of text to the new text box. Then select Insert –> Photo –> Picture from File… and select a picture file such as a PDF, JPEG or GIF. Or just open the picture file in Preview and copy/paste the picture into the new text box in Word.
- Select File –> Print… and notice that the print preview itself does not include the picture but does include the text. Printing to paper or creating a PDF also results in text but no picture.
Note that this doesn’t affect pictures inserted into the mainstream text area of the document. It only affects pictures placed into text boxes.
The change in behavior is a design change in Word 2011 and is not considered a bug. It is the result of graphics changes made to the application. The result, however, is a two-fold problem.
- Older versions of Word for Mac as well as Word for Windows still print pictures inserted into text boxes, making Word 2011 the only version that doesn’t.
- Nothing stops the Word 2011 user from doing this or warning him about what will happen. Everything looks the same on screen. Only when previewing, printing or creating a PDF does this problem occur.
Furthermore, this change in behavior introduces a new problem where embedded or “anchored” images, such as small graphics used to separate paragraphs of text or precede a new text section, will no longer flow with the text.
This issue has no workaround other than to avoid the use of anchored images or to use Word 2011’s Publishing Layout view. Publishing Layout view, however, is not available in Word for Windows. Cross-platform document sharing will more than likely result in fidelity issues with the layout.
Word 2011 users who would like to see this behavior changed in future versions should use the Help –> Send Feedback tool found in any Office application.