How to add images, tables, and drawings to a Google Doc file

Sometimes a visual element is the best way to make a point and it's simple to add a variety of them to a Google Doc file.

Drawing of a blue Doc with "Insert table text box" (in green text) and "Insert drawing text box" (45-degrees tilt, in red text) inserted

Image: TechRepublic/Andy Wolber 

Using Google Drive to collaborate with coworkers is a big part of the modern cloud-based business world and has been made an even bigger day-to-day part of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drive, Google's online file sharing tool, is tightly integrated with its suite of office apps, which includes Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The easy shareability of files and folders in Google Drive makes it an excellent tool for tech-savvy and less technically inclined professionals alike, but that doesn't mean everything in it is easy to do.

Take for example adding a visual element to a Google Doc--it's simple to do, but you need to know where to find the options and how they work before you can do it. Regardless of your level of Google Docs expertise, if you're unsure of how to add images, drawings, or tables to a Google Doc this guide is for you.

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How to add an image to a Google Doc

With your Google Doc open, look for Insert on the top menu bar. Click on Insert and you'll see, in descending order, options to insert an Image, Table, Chart, Drawing, and other special elements. When you mouse over the Image option you'll see a list of several different places to find a picture (Figure A).

Figure A

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It's easiest to add an image that's stored locally on your computer, but Google can also do a web search from inside your document, pull from your Google Drive or Google Photos library, add a photo via its URL, or take a picture with your device's camera.

If you're adding photos stored on your computer select the Upload From Computer option, navigate to the image you want to add to your document, and select Open (Figure B).  

Figure B

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Note: Inserting an image can mess up your document formatting a bit, so you may have to make adjustments once the image is inserted. 

First, you may need to make changes to the image, like rotating, resizing, changing colors, or adjusting how it interacts with the document text. To open the Image Options menu, single-click the image and look for the menu at the bottom left. Click on the three dots to open more menu options, and then click on All Image Options to open the editing menu (Figure C).

Figure C

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From the Image Options menu you can do a lot of different things, but potentially the most useful one is changing how the image interacts with the text around it (Figure D). 

Figure D

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Experiment a bit with your favorite option, and then move the image around to see how it looks in different positions. Don't worry about making a mistake--if the image ends up in a bad position just hit Command+Z in macOS, or Control+Z in Windows to undo your last action. 

To move an image around the document, simply drag it around the page. Mouse over the image and your cursor should turn into a move cursor (a cross with arrows on the ends). If it doesn't, try deselecting the image by clicking somewhere outside of it first. 

How the image looks when moving it will be different depending on how text wrapping is set. If it's set to inline, you'll see a line in the text appear where the image will split it. For break and wrap the image will simply float above the page (Figure E), stay where you drop it, and the text will be rearranged based on where you set it.

Figure E

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To delete an image from your document, just hit the Delete key and it will disappear. 

How to insert a table into a Google Doc

Adding a table is done by selecting the Table menu item and then deciding how many cells you want the table to be (Figure F). 

Figure F

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You can drag the selection field all the way to 20 x 20 cells and once it's inserted in your document, it can be edited a lot like a spreadsheet, with rows and columns inserted and modified with a right-click.

How to add a drawing to a Google Doc

Drawings are basically a way to insert word art, put some text over top of an image, or add an MS Paint-like sketch to a document. When you select New from the drawing menu it opens a screen (Figure G) where you can add background images, text, and do other basic image editing tasks. 

Figure G

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Once you're done and click Save And Close, the drawing is added to the document and behaves just like an image.

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