How to fix images not displaying in Microsoft Word 2007

Recently I’ve been hit by a bug (or what I thought was a bug) in Microsoft Word 2007: images embedded in the document did not display in any mode other than “Full Screen Reading”. And since the editing ribbons are not available in that mode, it’s hard to get work done. This all started when Word crashed on me one time; ever since then, images simply haven’t been displaying correctly. I get a border where the image should be and white space inside. But when I send the file to other people and they open it, they can view the images just fine. I can even add images to documents; I just can’t see them.

So I performed a Google search on this issue, but the only relevant “solution” was behind a paywall over at ExpertSexchange. After a few minutes of trying to figure it out on my own, I stumbled upon the solution, and to save everyone from the hell that is ExpertSexchange, here it is:

Click the Office Button (it’s in the upper left corner of Word), select “Word Options”, select “Advanced” in the left pane, scroll down to the “Show document content” subsection, and uncheck the “Show picture placeholders” option. Yes, it’s that simple. Somehow, when Word crashes, this option can get turned on all by itself. It’s really annoying because there’s no clue that Word is intentionally hiding images from you; it just feels like a bug. And the reason for this insane option?

Word 2007 Options dialog

That’s right, it’s for performance. And it improves performance only at the expense of severely crippling usability. You’d think this option should never be able to get turned on accidentally, yet there it is. At least you know the solution now.

396 Responses to “How to fix images not displaying in Microsoft Word 2007”

  1. VK Says:

    Thanks was really helpful :)

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    I get pleasure from, result in I found exactly what I used to be taking a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  3. Ashok Says:

    thanks buddy, it helped

  4. mammatt Says:

    I find using open source Latex perfect for writing papers and reports, but still MS Word is handy for small documents specially when I need to bundle some html results from my analyses into Word to archive. This solution helped me alot as I was grappling how to save the images/plots in word doc, thanks.

  5. Danish Says:

    GOD Bless You

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  7. Pornchai Says:

    Thansk …………………………
    i do not know why it happen but you help me fix it. Great! Appriciated

  8. ishi Says:

    i m preparing one document for my class with some pic i suddenly got torched with this headache on not seeing my inserted images in word thanks in a ton for your posting …i m out of problem thank you again in ton

  9. Frank Says:

    Brilliant – couldn’t fathom this. Assumed it was a memory error and kept re-booting to no avail.

    Why this option gets set is anyone’s guess.

    Thank you !!!!

  10. AK Says:

    Thanks for this valuable information. I was struggling to finish a document and could not figure out why the images were not showing after word crashed.

  11. Philip Says:

    Thanks you saved my day.

    Home Microsoft would allow to change this setting fom the picture itself with right “click show all” some day.

  12. Raj Says:

    Its 2012 and I got the issue now and it was still not fixed. Thanks Jonny B and folks. It is fixed now.

  13. arthritis Says:

    I came across and i love it !
    arthritis treatment

  14. Jason Says:

    Thanks a bunch. I ran into this exact same problem after Word crashed and I had been totally perplexed.

  15. john Says:

    Thank you so much!!! I encountered this when comparing / merging documents.

  16. Venu Says:

    Thank u so much…dude….Its save my time….

  17. RP Says:

    wish I had seen this sooner. I was going crazy and being unproductive because of it. thanks so much for the fix!!!!!!!

  18. Qash5 Says:

    I am in IT user support and troubleshooting. I was literally stumped by this issue when one of our users came up with this complain, this solution saved me a lot of time. THAAAAAAnk YOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!

  19. atoMerz Says:

    Couldn’t leave without saying THANKS!

  20. TestAna Says:

    Thanks a Ton!!!
    Very very helpful :)

  21. Mohan Says:

    Thanks a lot.

  22. Bubbles Says:

    Thank you! I have wasted valuable time trying to sort this out and you have made it so simple. Its so simple, I even feel a little dumb.

  23. Daviod Says:

    Thanks, Clyde.

    Why doesn’t ‘Word help’ help with this?

    Good old Microsoft!

  24. Muhammad Younas Says:

    Thanks my friend…. This is awesome solution. I tried alot and wasted almost 2 hours. I try reinstalling office which failed due to some reasons. But your solution really helped me. Thanks and you Rock…

  25. Janet Cano Says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this. Imagine even our tech support was not able to help me with the problem and just following what you’ve posted, it resolved my frustration for the last three weeks. You are an angel. thanks again

  26. manikanta Says:

    thanks my friend i search for this solution from lot time it is very useful for me.

  27. Aut Says:

    Thanks!!! What a relief to have that fixed!

  28. Fariez Jakarta Says:

    It is really use full trick. Thanks God and you!
    Highly appreciated.

    Warmer regards from Indonesia …

  29. Srikanth R Says:

    Thanks a Ton, i got the issue fixed.

  30. Anon Says:

    Thank you so much!!! This issue had been driving me crazy for months!!! You are brilliant!

  31. Jonathan Says:

    Thank you. So easy but hard to find. Even when I was looking in the right place. Cheers.

  32. Jim Marinelli Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This was driving me crazy. This suddenly hit me out of the blue. But now that I think about it, just as you suggested it was after Word crashed.
    I looked through all the options and nothing was obvious. Thank you for pointing me to that un-obvious option that fixed the problem.

  33. souyada Says:

    I face with this problem too. That really make me crazy. Now, I can open it. Thank you!

  34. Jan Willem Says:

    Many thanks!!

  35. Alwin Says:

    You are my saviour.. i’ve re-installed MS Word twice now and still can’t see it.. it now fixed.. many thanks

  36. Chetan Says:

    I had been troubled by this problem for quite a while, until I found your solution, worked like a charm.

  37. Denton Moore Says:

    Thanks! That has been bothering me for some time now!

  38. Shaun Says:

    Thanks for posting this.

  39. DodgyD Says:

    Thanks a mil – had no idea why this occurred on my home machine but not at work PC!
    BTW on the MAC in Word 2011 the option is in Preferences, View, Image Placeholders.

  40. Eduardo Says:

    Thanks Man!! Very useful info…. Made me safe a loooooot of time… Thanks again

  41. Nev Says:

    This problem has been bugging me for a while. I tried all of the solutions suggested on this thread but unfortunately none of them solved it for me.
    I got a hint from one of my Google searches that there may be a problem with one of my Outlook files, so I ran the Outlook repair procedure (Start/Control Panel/Programs/Programs and Features then scroll down to – in my case – Microsoft Office Professional Plus, right click, then click on Change, slight wait while Setup prepares, then click on Repair) This takes a few minutes, but when it had finished and after a system restart everything was back to normal !
    So, don’t give up, there usually a fix somewhere!

  42. Jo Says:

    Thanks! I have a large data set of single pages each with a picture that disappeared overnight! The thought of tracking back to find and re-insert each picture was keeping me awake!

  43. Lutful Ahad Says:


    I followed the same procedures as described but still I cann’t see the drawing, I had been working on for a few hours.

  44. Lucas Says:

    Oh dear, it’s help me so much, thank you guy :D

  45. Michael Says:

    Just wanted to add my thanks as well. I have been dealing with this for months now and its was driving me nuts I can’t believe how easy a fix it is.
    Thanks again!!

  46. sev Says:

    Thank you !
    Life saver !!