How to Delete Anchors in Microsoft Word

Anchors in Microsoft Word are used to attach objects like images, shapes, or tables to a fixed position in a document. The anchor appears as a small icon that connects the object to the text. While anchors can be useful for precisely positioning objects, you may want to delete an anchor if it gets in the way or you don’t need it anymore.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to delete anchors in Word on both Windows and Mac:

What is an Anchor in Microsoft Word?

An anchor in Word is an invisible markup that attaches an object, like an image, shape, or table, to a set position in the text. It ensures that no matter where you move the text, the object will remain anchored in its original location on the page.

Benefits of using anchors in Word:

  • Precisely position images, shapes, and other objects
  • Maintain a consistent layout when editing text
  • Allow text to wrap around anchored objects

When you might want to remove an anchor:

  • The anchor icon gets in the way of text or other objects
  • You want the object to move freely like regular text
  • You no longer need the object anchored in that position

How to Delete an Anchor in Word on Windows

Deleting an anchor in Word on Windows is easy to do in just a few steps:

Step 1: Select the anchored object

Click on the object, image, shape, or table that has the anchor you want to remove. This selects the anchored object.

Step 2: Open the Layout dialog box

Next, go to the Layout tab and click the Layout Options icon. Select More Layout Options at the bottom to open the Layout dialog box.

Step 3: Uncheck the layout positioning

In the Layout dialog box, locate the Position tab. Uncheck the box next to Move object with text to detach the object from the anchor.

Step 4: Confirm and save

Click OK to apply the layout change. The anchor will now be removed from the object. Save your Word document to finalize the changes.

By unchecking this one positioning option, you disconnect the object from its fixed anchor position and delete the anchor connection.

How to Remove All Anchors from a Word Document

If you want to delete all anchors from an entire Word document in one go, you can use the search and replace function:

Step 1: Press Ctrl + H to open Find and Replace

This will bring up the Find and Replace dialog box.

Step 2: Enter the find and replace text

  • In Find, type ^a (this is the anchor symbol)
  • In Replace, leave blank

Step 3: Select Replace All

Now click Replace All to remove all anchor symbols in the document at once.

And just like that, all anchors in your document will be deleted in one simple action!

How to Stop Anchors Displaying in New Documents

If anchor icons annoy you, you can set Word to stop displaying them for new documents:

Step 1: File > Options > Display

Go to the File tab > Options > Display

Step 2: Uncheck Object Anchors

In the Always show these formatting marks on the screen section, uncheck the Object anchors option and click OK.

Now anchor icons will not show up when inserting new objects in this Word instance.

How to Remove an Anchor in Word on Mac

Removing anchors in Word for Mac is very similar:

Step 1: Select the anchored object

Click to select the object you want to remove the anchor from

Step 2: Open Layout > Wrap tab

Go to Layout tab > Wrap tab

Step 3: Uncheck Move with text

Uncheck the box next to Move with text and click OK.

This detaches the object from the anchor text so the anchor icon is removed.

Why Does Word Use Anchors?

Anchors might seem annoying but they actually serve an important function. By attaching objects to fixed points in a document, anchors preserve your carefully designed layout no matter how much you edit the text.

Some key reasons Microsoft Word uses anchors:

  • Maintain image positions – Anchors ensure images, shapes, and tables stay next to the relevant text
  • Keep wrapping intact – Anchors preserve text wrapping around objects
  • Retain object alignment – Objects remain aligned to margins or text
  • Reduce manual adjustments – Less need to reposition objects when text moves
  • Improve document structure – Objects are logically tied to related paragraphs

So in many cases anchors are helping to keep your document formatting looking professional. But when no longer needed, the steps above make it easy to remove anchors from Word on both Windows and Mac.

Tips for Working with Anchors in Word

Here are some useful tips for handling object anchors in Word documents:

Display anchor icons
Go to File > Options > Display and check Object anchors to show anchors when working with positioned objects.

Use inline text wrapping
If an anchor gets in the way, set the object to inline text wrapping instead of floating to hide the anchor icon.

Group aligned objects
Grouping aligned objects can reduce multiple anchors cluttering the text.

Use text boxes for forms
For setting checkboxes, radio buttons, and forms, use text boxes instead of shapes to avoid unnecessary anchors.

Lock anchor positions
Check this box in layout options if you want the anchored object to stay fixed on the page and not move up with text.

Anchor FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about anchors in Microsoft Word:

Can you delete an anchor and keep the object?

Yes, anchors can be removed while keeping the attached object in the document by unlinking it from the text as shown in the steps above.

Do anchors show up when printing?

No, anchor icons do not appear on the printed page – they are just display artifacts in Word.

Can you move an object without moving the anchor?

No unfortunately not – the anchor moves with the attached object. To break this connection you must delete the anchor.

What is the fastest way to remove all anchors?

Use the search and replace technique to locate all anchors and remove them instantly by replacing with a blank.

What happens if multiple objects are anchored in one spot?

You can anchor multiple objects to the same paragraph in Word. The anchors may overlap but the objects can be positioned separately.

Can you customize the anchor icon?

No, there is no way to change the default anchor icon in Microsoft Word.

Hopefully this guide has helped explain what anchors are, why Word uses them, and how to easily delete anchors in Word documents on both Windows and Mac. Let us know if you have any other questions!