A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Draw on Word (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 20, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

While many associate Microsoft Word with creating and formatting text, the application is also suitable for other purposes, such as creating images. Using the drawing tool, you can add personal elements to your documents or produce images that aren't readily available on the program. Whether you're using Word to create documents for professional or personal use, learning more about the drawing feature and how it works can be beneficial. In this article, we explain why drawing in Word is useful, detail the steps you can follow to do so, and provide tips for using Word effectively.

Why learn how to draw on Word?

Depending on the device you're using and why you're using the program, learning how to draw on Word may offer several benefits, including:

  • Personalize documents: With the drawing feature, you can create any illustration, shape, or figure you require for customizing your document. For instance, you can personalize your documents with hand-drawn titles using this feature.

  • Create specific or nonstandard shapes: Although Word comes with various pre-installed shapes, sometimes the shape you require for a project may not be in the shapes menu. With the draw feature, you can draw your preferred shape.

  • Communicate complex information: Presenting some information in visual form can make complex content more understandable to a broader audience. By combining textual and visual information, you can improve the clarity of your message and effectively connect with your audience.

  • Communicate more information: The visual imagery you can achieve by drawing on Word can help you communicate more information with fewer words while also taking up less space. Doing that can also save the time usually spent reading through several pages.

  • Take notes or edit using a digital pen: Word allows for using a digital pen when working on some devices. With the action pen feature within the "Draw" tab, you can edit document text through freehand drawing, which may feel like a more natural way to proofread or edit content.

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How to draw on a Word document

Depending on the device and operating system you're using, some of these steps may differ slightly. These are the typical steps you can follow to draw in Word:

1. Open the Word document

To draw in Word, first open a new or existing document. If you prefer a new document, select the "Blank document" option after launching the program. As an alternative, if you find a template that works for you, you can choose that instead. If you want to use an existing document, go to "File" and click "Open" to select your document.

If you wish to use the drawing functionality to modify text, select a document that includes the content you intend to edit. You can open a Word document by navigating to your files and selecting the document you want to edit.

2. Locate and select the "Draw" tab

The location of the "Draw" tab depends on your device and version of Word. On computers running Microsoft 365 or Office 2019, the tab is at the top of the page between the "Insert" and "Layout" tabs. Clicking it reveals options for different drawing tools and methods in the toolbar. Sometimes, the "Draw" tab may have a grey tone, indicating that it's unavailable.

To remedy that, you can click on the "View" tab in the ribbon and choose "Print Layout," making the feature available for you. If you have a computer with Office 2016 or Office 2013, navigate to the "Review" tab and click "Start Inking" It reveals the same options present in the "Draw" tab in Office 2019.

3. Choose your drawing tool

After completing the previous step, Word displays various drawing tools. The options available include the selecting tools, an eraser, pens, a pencil, and the action pen. A pen or pencil might be the ideal choice if you want to draw shapes, or if you want to emphasize selected pieces of text in a document, use the highlighter instead. The eraser can help you remove drawings that you no longer need, or you can use the selecting tool to select several items at once.

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4. Customize the drawing tool

After deciding which drawing tool to use, you can customize it to suit your needs. For example, you can use a pen and change the thickness and colour. A preview of the pen stroke shows you what it may look like when you use it on the page. You can also change the thickness and colour of the pencil or highlighter.

If you want to edit text, the action pen is suitable for this purpose, allowing you to edit the text the same way you do with a pen on paper. You can use the pen to delete and move words, change the lines and select various sections. You can find the action pen in the toolbox between the "Ink to shape" option and the highlighter tool. Click the arrow on the action pen symbol and select the option "Ink Gesture Help" for more information about the gestures you can perform with the action pen.

5. Draw or edit text

After selecting a drawing tool and customizing it for your needs, you can proceed with your drawing or text editing. If you don't have a track pad or a pen, you can click and drag with your mouse until you get the shape you desire. Releasing the mouse completes your drawing.

6. Refine, format, and shape your drawing

After completing your drawing, a "Shape Format" tab typically appears on your toolbar. This tab allows you to make several adjustments to your drawing and refine it to your liking. It offers various options, including "Shape Fill" to choose the colour for your drawing, "Shape Outline" to change the outline or remove it, and "Shape Effects" to add effects such as shadows to your drawing. At this stage, you may also add relevant text to your drawing by using the "Draw Text Box" option.

7. Save and name your document

When you've finished drawing on your document, save your work by selecting the "File" option at the top-left of the application window. Click the "Save" option to save the document with the same name and in the same location, found between the "Info" and "Save as" options. If you want to give your document a new name or location, you can choose the "Save as" option between the "Save" and "Print" options. You can also print your document for distribution.

Read more: The Best Computer Skills to Develop for Work

Tips for using Word effectively

The following tips can help you use Word more effectively for drawing and other purposes:

Use default shapes

You aren't required to draw all the shapes manually. All versions of Word come pre-installed with a variety of shapes. Incorporating some of these shapes into your work can help you complete your task faster.

Use keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are specific keys or key combinations you can use to perform an action. When they're key combinations, press them simultaneously or one after the other. While there are many default shortcuts in Word, you can make customized shortcuts and save time by not performing each action manually with your mouse or pen. You can typically find these default shortcuts through a simple online search.

Install across devices

Word is compatible with most devices across many operating systems. Installing the program on all your devices, like computers, tablets, and phones, can make it easier to access and work on documents on any device using the Microsoft OneDrive. It's a cloud-based file sharing and storage service that allows registered individuals to exchange, save, and synchronize their documents. This feature can help make your work processes more efficient by allowing access to all your files from one place.

Utilize the templates

Word usually has a template for most documents users may want to create. These templates are available for many popular document formats like cover letters, resumes, calendars, and lists. That often means you can save time by creating populated documents instead of blank ones. If you don't find a template that perfectly suits your needs, browsing through the available templates can give you ideas for designing your own document.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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