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Cannot paste images from Hotmail into Word 2013

Posted on 2014-01-31
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Last Modified: 2014-02-09
Hi
Can anyone help me to copy and paste an email from Hotmail which includes images into Word 2013 without losing the images? I just get the text and a blank space where the images should be.
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Question by:medcomputers
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Expert Comment

by:Paul Sauvé
ID: 39825380
What I do is open the email, Save as HTML. Then Open the HTML file in Word...

However, it the image is a link to an Internet site, you may not be able to get the image in Word without clicking on the link.
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by:Christopher Jay Wolff
ID: 39825864
And often you can even get those images into Word using SnippingTool.exe from your system32 folder.  It is a Windows Accessory item for taking screen grabs.  Or simply click Start, Run, and type snippingtool.
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Assisted Solution

by:BillDL
BillDL earned 250 total points
ID: 39825957
The answer to your question lies in the the fact that the code of a web page fetches the images into the page from wherever they are stored, and displays them in the browser.  The images may be on the same server as the email messages are stored, or may be linked to an external source somewhere.

You are viewing your hotmail message in a web browser, so it presents the message as a web page.  If you RIGHT-Click on one of the images and choose "Properties" (Internet Explorer) it will usually show you the path it is being fetched from.  If you just scroll over the email, copy, and paste it elsewhere, it copies the underlying code.  If the image location is protected behind a login and isn't on a public website somewhere, then Word isn't going to ask you for a login so that it can fetch the image from a password-protected location, it just won't display it.

Here is an example of an email I sent to a hotmail email address I have, and then opened it separately in Firefox and Internet Explorer by logging into www.hotmail.com (which they now call "Outlook Live" or something).

Firefox shows the following Right-Click menu for the image:
Choose the "View Image Info" to see the location it is fetched fromAnd this is the very long URL that shows for the image location.  Note that it is fetched using a fancy script from a server named "dub130.afx.ms" (will differ by country) using the secure https:// and not http://
This is the code that would be pasted into Word
Here is the equivalent Internet Explorer Right-Click menu:
Not as versatile as Firefox.  Select "Properties" to see location.Here is the "Properties" dialog that opens and shows the URL of the object, in this case the image:
Again this is the code that will be pasted into Word.
An email message that is downloaded into an installed email program like Outlook is stored as one file into which the image data is inserted.  When the program opens the message it temporarily extracts all the components to separate files and then fetches them into the page in much the same way as a web page does.

The problem with Microsoft Word is that is is a word processor as well as a half-baked web page editor that mangles code into its own crappy code.  It will happily allow you to paste code for web page objects without telling you that it doesn't have a hope in hell of being able to display them later.

The only failsafe method of making sure the images are properly inserted into Word is to first save them to your hard drive and then insert them, or else do a File > "Save As Web Page complete".  Doing that creates a local HTM/HTML page and saves associated files like images, JS and CSS files, into a new folder alongside it.  The code of the web page is modified so that the references to the files are now local rather than having to try and fetch them each time from where they were originally stored.

So, you can scroll over the contents of a webmail email message and paste into Word.  It will try to recreate the text formatting, and may mangle that in the process.  You can then use the RIGHT-Click options to save the images as files to your hard drive (see the IE and Firefox dialogs above) and then insert them into Word where the vacant boxes show.

My preference would be to just copy and paste text into a plain text editor, copy that and paste into Word, and then insert the images I had saved.

Another option is to install a virtual PDF Printer that converts the web page into a PDF file that is later viewable in Adobe Acrobat Reader as it was displayed on the web page.  Some allow you to use the "Print Selection" option so that you can create a PDF file with only the section that you selected on the web page.

The problem with this is that some PDF Printers just convert everything into one large image within the PDF file, whilst others separately convert the text and images.  Unless you have an application to edit PDF files, such a saved file is only really of use for printing and reading.  The most recent versions of Word open PDF files, but experience tells me that this is also a half-baked effort by Microsoft.

Hopefully this explains what is probably happening and gives you a few alternatives.
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Author Comment

by:medcomputers
ID: 39826478
Hi BillDL

Many thanks for your detailed and fascinating solution. Has it always been so complicated to copy and paste images from email into Word? I have been using computers for a long time but have only had this problems recently, a year or two at most. Would the problem still exist using earlier versions of Word? I guess it would.

Thanks again

Matthew
Points to follow.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39826815
Hi Matthew

Don't be too hasty with the points, because I'm noticing some behaviour that has taken me a little by surprise.

If you want to skip down to a suggestion to test immediately, just scroll down to my "EUREKA!" heading below.  You'll get to it just the same if you have time to read my notes before reaching it.

In Word if you press the Alt and F9 keys, it will show you the form field code that makes things display the way they do.  For example, when you insert page numbers in the format
Page # of #
it is actually inserting this code which is populated dynamically
{ PAGE } of { NUMPAGES }
The Alt + F9 keys toggle the text to code and back again.

I always assumed that copying some text, a hyperlink, and an image from a web page and pasting into Word would paste the text roughly as seen on the page, and that it would embed the hyperlink and image as form fields.  For example, copying the top part of my previous question and pasting into Word creates the following:
Top part is normal. Bottom part is after pressing Alt   F9As you can see, the code that fetches the little avatar image is:
{ INCLUDEPICTURE "full_URL_here" \* MERGEFORMATINET }
The "full URL" can be the full path to a locally stored image, to one on a network drive, or to an internet location.

The { INCLUDEPICTURE } field name supports the switches:
\c  - Identifies the filter for the format of inserted graphic.
\d  - Graphic data is not stored in the document, reducing the file size.

Adding   \* MERGEFORMAT  tells Word to preserve the formatting of the image during updates to the document.

Because I never paste from Websites into Word I have never previously been aware of the sparsely documented variation to this named  MERGEFORMATINET.  This apparently is the result of using the Edit > Paste Special > HTML Format option rather than just the plain old Ctrl + V, Edit > Paste, or the Paste toolbar button.  What it seems to do is preserve the Internet derived formatting of the image.

If you copy the URL for the image on the source web page and use the ordinary Paste options, or the Insert > Picture > From Filename option where you paste the URL to the image, it just adds   MERGEFORMAT.   The same happens if you insert a new form field, choose "INCLUDEPICTURE", and tick the box entitled "Preserve formatting during updates".

OK, so the little avatar image alongside my user name in a posted comment pastes into Word as a Form Field, as do the Hyperlinks ..... however, when I scroll over one of the screenshot images that I embedded in my previous comment, copy that, and then paste into Word, here is the field code that is generated:
.There seems to be no mention of the actual image location, just the target file of the hyperlink from the displayed image and the "alt text" tooltip.  The { HYPERLINK } field name supports 5 switches:
\l  - Specifies bookmark location in document to jump to
\m  - Link is to an HTML 2.0 image map
\n  - Hyperlink opens target in new window
\o  - Screen tip (the alt text) text
\t  - Specifies frame target for hyperlink

Translated into HTML the field code above would be:
<a href="http://filedb.experts-exchange.com/incoming/2014/01_w05/t831890/Right-Click-IE-Properties.jpg" target="_blank">
<img alt="Again this is the code that will be pasted into Word." src="http://filedb.experts-exchange.com/incoming/2014/01_w05/t831890/Right-Click-IE-Properties.jpg"></a>

Open in new window


This specifies the name of the image that is showing, the image that is the target of the hyperlink, the "alt text" that will show in some browsers on mouseover, the target frame, and the URL to the target (in this case just the same image in a new window or tab).

For some reason Word doesn't specify the name of the pasted image in the field code, only that there is a hyperlink, and this puzzled me.

OK, so maybe it's just the quirky way that Experts-Exchange embeds the images.

EUREKA !!

Now here's something I didn't know, but discovered while messing around with the field codes.  If you do an Alt + F9 to show the field codes and then click on the actual field code (for example the {INCLUDEPICTURE} one shown in my previous screenshot, the F9 key seems to refresh the code, and more interestingly the key combination Ctrl + Shift + F9 converts the field code into a fixed image.  The image is now embedded in the page and is part of the document rather than being fetched in dynamically from an Internet resource.

Here is what I started with after I clicked the {INCLUDEPICTURE} field to select it:
.   and here is the result of then pressing Ctrl + Shift + F9:
All the other field codes remain unaffected.There are probably Microsoft Office MVPs reading this and saying "I thought that was common knowledge", but to me this is a new discovery.

Now, if that works with the email messages you copied and pasted from Microsoft webmail, then maybe someone can write a Macro to automatically select all {INCLUDEPICTURE} form fields and simulate a Ctrl + Shift + F9 key combination to fix all the non-appearing images and make them show.

If this doesn't work for you, then there are two other possibilitoes that you can look at.  I am only using Word 2003 at the moment, so I am unable to translate the instructions to later versions.  Hopefully you will be able to locate the options and experiment by enabling or disabling them.

Tools > Options > General tab:

"Update automatic links at Open"
(Automatically updates any information that is linked to other files each time you open a document)

I can't see any other options that might be remotely associated with the issue.

"Automatically create drawing canvas when inserting AutoShapes"
(Determines whether Word places a drawing canvas around drawing objects or ink drawing and writing when you insert them into your document. A drawing canvas helps you to arrange drawing objects and pictures and to move them as a unit.)
Not sure if this also affects pasted images.

Tools > Options > General tab > Web Options button > Files tab:
"Update links on Save"
(probably only applicable if saving as HTML file)
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Accepted Solution

by:
Christopher Jay Wolff earned 250 total points
ID: 39827314
I had presumed your were reading your email in IE or some browser which is why you simply used the phrase, "from Hotmail."  If that's true, your easiest solution may be to use an email client software package like the Outlook 2013 desktop application.  I have a fairly easy time with Cntl+A and Ctrl+C in Outlook 2013, and pasting with Cntl+V into Word 2013 with a couple quick edits.
.
Although Cntl+A is fairly ineffective in IE, I can mouse select and Ctrl+C from IE v.11 into Word 2013 with some success, but lost my sig file, as it is not in the body of the message, although my "select all" showed it highlighted.  Take a look.

Here is my received and opened email to myself  in Outlook 2013.

Email to myself viewed here in client software Outlook 2013
and here is the same email pasted into Word from Outlook.

Email copied from Outlook 2013 and pasted into Word 2013.and here is same copied from IE and shown here in Word  where I lost my sig file.

Email copied from IE 11 viewed here pasted in Word 2013
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Author Comment

by:medcomputers
ID: 39845435
Hi everyone
Apologies for delay in posting.
Thanks in particular to BillDL for interesting and comprehensive posting and equally Chris_top_he_r whose suggestion to use Outlook works well.
Thank you
Matthew
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 39846479
Thank you Matthew
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