Shapes (in general)

A graphical object that appears in a Word document is known as a shape. A shape can be inline or floating. An inline shape appears on a text baseline as though it were a character glyph and affects the line height. A floating shape appears at an arbitrary location on the document and text may wrap around it. Several types of shape can be placed, including a picture, a chart, and a drawing canvas.

The graphical object itself is placed in a container, and it is the container that determines the placement of the graphic. The same graphical object can be placed inline or floating by changing its container. The graphic itself is unaffected.

In addition to this overview, there are the following more specialized feature analyses:


Access to shapes is provided by the Shapes and InlineShapes properties on the Document object.

The API for a floating shape overlaps that for an inline shapes, but there are substantial differences. The following properties are some of those common to both:

  • Fill
  • Glow
  • HasChart
  • HasSmartArt
  • Height
  • Shadow
  • Hyperlink
  • PictureFormat (providing brightness, color, crop, transparency, contrast)
  • Type (Chart, LockedCanvas, Picture, SmartArt, etc.)
  • Width