How can I wrap text around a full-page graphic?
Users who are laying out books and other complex documents often ask how they can have a photograph, diagram, table, chart, or other graphic item that occupies an entire page, with text flowing smoothly from the page before the graphic to the page after it—in short, how to wrap text around a full-page graphic.
The answer is that you can’t! A “picture” in Word (and this term encompasses pretty much anything that isn't normal text) has two possible formats:
From the above, you can see the problem:
Needless to say, I am not writing this article to tell you that you cannot achieve the result you need! You can achieve at least the appearance of that result, but it requires a little fiddling, and you have to abandon the idea of “wrapping” the graphics: they are going to be inline.
As you prepare the document, insert images (or placeholders for them) in the text immediately following the paragraphs in which they are referenced. They should be In Line With Text, and it's usually a good idea to use a specific paragraph style for them (for one thing, this makes them easier to find). If they require captions, add those above or below the image in a separate paragraph. Don't make any further effort to position the graphics.
When editing is complete (that is, when you are sure the text will not change), you can start dealing with graphics. Graphics that occupy less than a full page can be positioned (inline or wrapped) as desired, but special handling will be needed for the full-page ones. Start at the beginning of the document and deal with all the graphics (both full-page and smaller) in order.
When you come to a full-page graphic, obviously, it (or it and its caption) will fill a page. The preceding page will probably end short (if it doesn’t, you’re already home free). Move text from below the graphic to above it until the text just fills the page. If it happens that the end of a paragraph and the end of a page coincide, again, you’re home free.
Most likely, however, you will have to break the paragraph in the middle. Not a problem: just press Enter at the end of the last line that fits and move the rest of the text (now a separate paragraph) to the top of the page after the full-page graphic.
If your text isn't justified and you haven’t used a first-line indent, you’re done, but if this is a book, the paragraphs are probably both justified and indented. To achieve the appearance of a single paragraph continuing from the page before the graphic to the page following, here’s what you do:
To justify the last line of text at the end of the page before your full-page graphic:
To remove the first-line indent from the first paragraph on the page following your full-page graphic:
If the graphic, or combined graphic and caption, that you want to have on a separate page does not entirely fill the page, then you will need to insert manual page breaks at the beginning and end of the page (that is, before and after the graphic/caption content).
If you need to insert a broadside table or landscape photo—that is, content for which the page orientation needs to be landscape—you will need to insert Next Page section breaks before and after the graphic and caption. Note that the orientation is for the entire page: you can't have a portrait caption with a landscape graphic unless you use a text box with rotated text. For more on this type of layout, see “How to put a portrait page number on a landscape page.”
All these solutions are for general nonfiction books. If your book is a technical one with a lot of numbered headings and paragraphs, it maybe that splitting paragraphs as described will cause problems. In such cases, it may be more expedient to group illustrations at the beginning or end of a section or chapter instead of trying to integrate them with the text.
This article copyright © 2014 by Suzanne S. Barnhill.