Formatting Changes after Uploading a Word Document with Images

Copper Contributor

I have been using Teams to hold virtual office hours with my students in my Business and in my Technical Writing Class. This has been working when the documents are simple and straight text. However, my student uploaded a document with images, and when I opened this in teams and then in Word Online, I could tell that the formatting is askew: the Pictures are out of place. Then I opened the document in Word and the formatting is correct. I've had this problem before with the Online MS apps. Why can't Teams and Word OnLine maintain the formatting of such documents?

23 Replies

Hello @mhnicholas you can read this to understand the difference between Word Online in teams and Word.

Hi @mhnicholas ,


Its just a limitation of Word Online. There are certain things that just don't format correctly and there is also a functionality deficiency in Online as per the previous posted link. I assume with images it is to do with the layout and the conversion between a word document and HTML. 


This issue is something I usually make users aware of as part of training. 



@Andrew Hodges so what you are telling me is that if any of our users actually touch the doc while it is in Sharepoint it gets totally screwed up. I always tell them to go to the application, but once the formatting gets messed up, it stays messed up. 

@mhnicholastry installing the MS OFFICE chrome extension and then sign in, after opening the extension,

the formatting issue will disappear.

Worked for me!!



This does not work. The MS OFFICE extension in chrome does NOT fix the formatting integration problems. It only allows simple cut, copy, paste functions to work properly. There are numerous formatting errors in documents created offline then opened in MS WORD online. This is a huge problem for WORD users and I'm astonished that Microsoft would allow this problem with document formatting to persist. I am inclined to begin converting my documents to Google Docs just to streamline my processes.




I have found that setting an assignment asking the student to create a document and then uploading it, or having them download the file, editing it, then uploading, is probably the best way to preserve formatting of documents within Teams classroom.

@AndyTres That doesn't preserve anything. I'm supposed to upload documents for my course and nothing works properly, documents randomly don't show up. Then the formatting is completely different once uploaded, this makes no sense. Why would having pictures in one place in a word document suddenly change to somewhere else in a random jumble of letters and pictures, the moment it's uploaded? Makes it impossible to hand work in.

@SquishySamson you are right... we have resorted to saving the edited doc as a pdf before uploading to Teams...


@mhnicholas I know this is two years too late, but I was having the same issue and have had some success with controlling formatting using tables. The Teams version of Word does not allow images to be Square Wrapped. Using tables to place images in positions alongside text holds them in place and retains the layout.

This does not, however, get MS off the hook. MS Teams viewer should not be messing up MS Word documents, and require submission as a PDF to solve. 

But if you upload to Teams as a PDF you cannot use the review features in word, right?

@mhnicholas Correct. If you load up a PDF you lose all editing facilities. The bug bear in Word appears to be images and Text Wrapping. As long as you use tables to place images in a Word doc rather than text wrapping, they will hold their shape when you upload as Word.



My guess is that this is still an issue and not fixed by MS? Anyone know? 



@TracyF330 sorry I haven't explored this for a while.

We  still have that problem in my organisation.
Dont know how to fix it.

And THIS still doesn't even work all the time. Just got done with my 2nd semester in grad school that was absolutely the WORST semester I have EVER had in undergrad or grad school to point my professor I think thought I was purposely ignoring her feedback asking me to start getting help at school writing center or I would fail grad school. I had NO CLUE what she was talking about until the last week of class other than my papers written and edited in Word , were coming out as complete mess looking fragmented and spliced together at different points of autosave as I worked on assignment. No matter I would ALWAYS use review to check writing mistakes. I felt like a complete idiot when one assignment she was really frustrated with saying in feedback my writing looked as if I used the APA paper template with embedded info directions on each page Microsoft puts on there- and I just randomly copy and pasted my written assignment over embedded content pre-filled not erasing any of the embedded content. No APA formatting with margins and on and on and on. Before I sent assignment after saving- the paper was formatted , edited and professional. Why does Word not tell users any of this stuff in troubleshooting section of app program??? Btw- when submitting no matter a pdf or Worddoc- and submit it through the Brightspace online Dropbox that is mandated for assignments to be submitted through- brightspace screws it up more the professor said. Almost was dismissed from grad school over these ridiculous issues no one at Microsoft bothers to mention or have fixed over the years! I'm beyond angry all the stress of trying to figure out what was going on and my teacher thinking I was purposely sloppy or just a complete idiot.
As a university writing instructor, whenever a professor tells students that they need additional help, those students should immediately make an appointment with the professor to find out exactly what the problem is. In your case, if you had done this, your professor could have shared with you how your documents were appearing on her end, and you could have worked together to find a solution. I know this can be a challenge if your course on online instead of face 2 face (F2F), but this is what you have to do.

I am not familiar with the learning management system (LMS) you are using; however, I can tell you that other LMSs have the same problem. At my institution, we use Canvas, and sometimes, submitted work gets screwy, even with simple Word Docs. Sometimes, the indentation of the first line of a paragraph ends up not indented. Just this past semester, students uploaded an extensive PowerPoint for a collaborative assignment, and it seems as if Canvas could just not handle the size of the document--Canvas altered ALL of the formatting--I mean everything: the font, the shapes, the pictures, the reference list. Canvas also does to play well with Apple devices. Students who use PCs seem to have less problems with the LMS.

I would be really proactive with your next set of professors.


I'm encountering this for the first time as we just started using TEAMS.  Seeing how long this has been going on, I would have hoped a solution would have been created by now.  Very disappointing.


Glad that I am not the only one who has experienced this. This fault is still not fixed by Microsoft.
I have found that formatting of heading levels have changed when uploading, using, and downloading Word documents when stored in Teams. It is not related to the browser as I always open document in App, not on the browser. Doesn't happen all the time but often enough and very frustrating to have to change and correct again. @mhnicholas

it is astonishing- format changes radically! Text boxes columns all of it. Ridiculous.