Step-by-Step Guide on How to Remove an Anchor in Microsoft Word

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Microsoft Word, developed by tech giant Microsoft, is a widely used word processing program recognized for its versatile features such as creating documents, editing, formatting text, structuring layouts, and so forth. In the arena of document formatting, a unique feature called an anchor often comes into play. A well-structured document is contingent on the correct use of such hidden tools, and understanding how to control and navigate them is essential for seamless documentation.

Concept of Anchors in Microsoft Word

In the Microsoft Word context, an anchor refers to a specific feature that binds, or ‘anchors’, an element like an image, shape, or text box to a particular point in the document. Primarily, anchors are used to hold elements in position and determine how text will wrap around them. When you move or reposition the anchored object or its text, the anchor also moves ensuring that the position relationship between the object and its text is never lost.

Different Types of Anchors in Word

Anchors can be attached to various elements in Word such as:

Text anchors:

These are usually employed to attach a caption to a specific section of text.

Image anchors:

These anchors are used to associate an image with a certain part of the document.

Other anchors:

These connect other elements of your document like tables, charts, shapes, and so forth, to a particular section.

How to Identify Anchors

Anchors usually appear as a tiny anchor symbol placed near the anchor’s location. However, not all anchors are readily visible. Sometimes, they’re hidden and can be uncovered via Word’s interface by clicking on ‘Show/Hide’ button. Invisible anchors, if not managed properly, can lead to formatting issues and unexpected shifts in your document’s layout.

How to Remove Anchors in Word

Removing anchors in Word can be straightforward if followed correctly. The steps slightly differ depending on whether it’s a text anchor or an image anchor.

Text Anchors:

Step 1:

Highlight the anchored text and cut it (Ctrl+X). This will transfer the anchored text to clipboard along with its anchor.

Step 2:

Paste the text back to the original position (Ctrl+V). The text will return, but the anchor will not since the paste action doesn’t carry over formatting features like anchors.

Image Anchors:

Step 1:

Right-click on the image attached with an anchor and select ‘Cut’ (or Ctrl+X). You have now lifted the image and its anchor from your document.

Step 2:

Right-click on where you’d like to place your image and select ‘Paste’ (or Ctrl+V).

Alternative Ways to Remove Anchors in Word

Apart from the above-explained methods, there are alternative ways to remove anchors in Word. They include:

Using Shortcut Keys:

Using the short key route ‘Ctrl+Shift+A’ can easily remove anchors.

Through Word’s Advanced Settings:

By deselecting ‘Object anchors’ in the ‘Show document content’ part of the ‘Advanced settings, you can get rid of anchors.

Manual deletion by selection:

Select the anchored object and delete it. However, be careful with this method as it removes the entire object and not just the anchor.

Removing all anchors via Format Options:

Under the ‘Format’ tab, click on the little anchor icon next to the ‘Position’ button and select ‘Remove all anchors’.

How to Prevent Anchors from Appearing Again

Configuring your Word settings for future revisions, managing objects and text properly and adhering to recommended tips for preventing random anchors can all help keep your Word documents anchor-free. Opting for ‘In line with text’ layout option for your images and objects can also prevent the creation of new anchors.


Mastering the art of handling anchors in Word is not a herculean task. Understanding its application and removal tactics can lead to a seamless document formatting experience. Keep in mind the mentioned tips and strategies to enhance your Word handling skills.


What is an anchor in Word?

An anchor in Word is a tool that attaches a certain element like text, image or an object to a specific location in the document.

Why do I need to remove anchors in Word?

Misplaced or unwanted anchors can lead to formatting issues and the displacement of content. Thus, removing unnecessary anchors can streamline your document formatting process.

How can I remove anchors from my Word document?

Anchors can be removed by cutting and pasting the anchored object or text, through Word’s advanced settings, or by using the Ctrl+Shift+A shortcut.

How can I prevent anchors from appearing in my Word document?

You can prevent anchors from appearing by managing objects and text correctly and revising Word settings appropriately. Additionally, selecting the ‘In line with text’ layout option can also limit the emergence of new anchors.

Can I still format my document well without using anchors?

Yes, anchors are not imperative for document formatting. They just add an additional level of control over the placement of objects or text.

What happens if I leave unwanted anchors in Word?

Unwanted anchors can result in issues regarding formatting and displacement of text or objects, and can disrupt the overall structure and layout of the document.