Extracting the Original Photos from a Word Document

This is my favorite "use-immediately" tip from the InDesign conference I attended last week in DC. I literally needed to use this technique the first day I was back at work. The InDesign conference was awesome - I'll be sharing my favorite tips from the conference in the weeks to come.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who receives Microsoft Word or PowerPoint documents from clients with photos I need embedded in those documents. In the past, I've tried to copy and paste them into Photoshop which only yields a low res copy. Then I have to go back and ask the client to track down the original jpg or tif files which takes a while. Sometimes the originals are lost and I'm out of luck.

Now I finally know how to properly extract those original photos thanks to Anne-Marie Concepcion of Seneca Design and InDesign Secrets. Of course, garbage in, garbage out - if the client inserted a low res photo all you're going to extract is that original low res photo but at least it's something!

  1. Open up your Microsoft document. If it's a Word doc, you're ready for the next step. If it's a Powerpoint file, open a blank Word document. Copy all of the photos from Powerpoint into that new blank Word doc and save the Word doc.

  2. Open a new InDesign document. Choose File > Place (Cmd + D), select the Word document, make sure the "Show Import Options" check box is selected and click Open. In the Show Import Options dialog box, check "Import Inline Graphics". Click OK and place the file.

  3. Go to your Links panel and select all of the placed photos. Click on the Links panel's flyout menu and choose Unembed Link. In the dialog box that comes up, click No. You will be prompted to select a folder to place the embedded photos. Decide where you want the photos and click Choose. The original photos will be extracted to that file location.


  1. Thanks for the kudos! Glad you were able to put that tip to use right away. ;-)

  2. It was very very helpful. Thank you!