January 12, 2017

Word’s New Icon Graphics

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

I suppose I’m going to stumble upon new Word 2016 features as they ooze out of the Microsoft mothership and populate my Office 365 Word subscription. My latest discovery is the Icons button.

The Icons button is found in the Illustrations group, located on the Insert tab, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The new Icons button appears to the right of the Shapes button.

Like other graphical goobers in the Illustrations group, you insert an icon by first positioning the toothpick cursor in a document. The default layout is Inline With text, so the cursor position isn’t crucial; you can move the icon/graphic later and apply a different layout after it’s inserted.

After you click the Icons button, you see an Insert Icon pane, shown in Figure 2. Categories are listed on the left side of the pane, with sample icons on the right. All this information is pulled from the Internet, so you need an Internet connection to use this feature.

Figure 2. The Insert Icon pane.

Choose an icon from the pane and click the Insert button. The image is plopped into your text like any graphic element, shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. An icon inline with text, selected.

Unlike wingdings or other symbols, the icons you insert are not characters. They’re graphics, like shapes or pictures. As such, when they’re selected, as shown in Figure 3, you can apply commands from the Graphics Tools tab to format the graphics, change layout, and apply effects.

I’m not sure what motivated Microsoft to make this addition to Word, but the icons do fill in a place missing since the old clip art commands vanished. Icons provide a type of graphic that’s different from the line-art shapes and bitmapped pictures. They’re a mix of both.

The only downside I see is that icons will become popular and unless Microsoft makes a wider variety, the public will grow weary of seeing the same stock icons used over and over. Don’t forget that you can always build icon-like artwork in Paint and then copy-and-paste that image into Word. So hopefully you don’t fall prey to the overused icon syndrome.

I’ll be sure to alert you to any other additions to Word 2016 when I encounter them.


  1. Icons are they designed to be clicked on, I once had prepare a Word doc with ‘clickable’ pictures, if I had to do it again this might make life easier…

    Comment by glennp — January 14, 2017 @ 5:42 am

  2. Neat trick, Glenn.

    Comment by admin — January 14, 2017 @ 8:00 am

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