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Enhancing Word Documents with Audio/Visual Texts

Critical writing on film and other audio/visual media can be enriched by a judicious use, within the text, of still images or video clips. Images and audio/visual clips can be included with your text in a variety of ways.

Images can be presented either as documents attached to the hard copy of your paper, or hyperlinked to the document from a burned CD, or embedded or uploaded rather than burned to disk by choosing to export to Quicktime, mp4, Avi or another preferred format.

For a MacOSX tutorial, please visit:

For other resources, please visit:

For older systems or versions of Word, audio/visual clips can be presented effectively in two ways as well: one, burned onto a CD that will accompany a hard copy of your Word document, and, two, burned onto a CD with the Word document and hyperlinked directly into the Word text.

One method for either images or audio/visual clips is not really better than the other. The first methods offer the reader a little more control over when he or she will view the image or clip. However, it also requires more work on the reader's part, as he or she must locate the clip or image on the CD or document while holding a place in the text. Hyperlinking gives the writer control over where in the text the images or clips are accessible to the reader, and it saves the reader the trouble of finding the corresponding clips on a CD while reading. This method, however, makes more work for the writer and must either be read on a screen or printed out by the reader. The choice is really one of personal preference, but it might be a good idea to check with your professor if they have not already indicated how they would like audio/visual texts submitted.

Note: While it is possible to insert movies and images directly into your text in some later versions of Word, we found this function a less reliable method of incorporating audio/visual texts into Word documents, as it often converts moving images into stills when saved and does not work as well on less sophisticated machines.

To hyperlink an image or audio/visual clip into a Word document:

  • First of all, come with your captured clips or still images on a blank or "toasted" CD. Do not burn the CD yet. Both the clips and the Word document must be on the same CD to be hyperlinked and, unless you have a CD-RW and choose to toast rather than burn your CD, it is both inconvenient and wasteful to burn a new CD with each revision.
  • Open Microsoft Word on your computer. On most campus computers, Word is found by clicking the blue "W" icon on the desktop or toolbar. If you are using a Mac computer, try the "Applications" folder or the "Recent Applications" menu under the apple icon in the top left of your screen.
  • Write your paper as you would any other Word document. It is a good idea to have already captured your images or clips for easy reference while writing. Wait until the end of the writing process to hyperlink clips and images to your text. This is a good practice because you may want to edit the clips or revise the paper later, even if you write it all in one go.
  • Once you have finished your Word document, highlight the word or other cue you have created for the clip or image in your text.
  • Go to the "Insert" menu and click on "Hyperlink." A shortcut on a Mac is to hit Apple-K.
  • A new window will pop up on your screen. The word or cue you have highlighted will appear in the area marked "Display." If not, make sure you have successfully highlighted the proper part of your text.
  • Below the "Display" area, there are three thumb tabs. Make sure that you are looking at the one marked "Documents," and not "Webpage" or "E-mail Address."
  • Click on the "Select" button within this thumb tab; this will open another window. Locate the clip or image on your CD in this new window. Make sure you know where you have saved the clips as it will save time.
  • Click the "Open" button. The highlighted words should now be blue, and when you click on them they should link to the desired image or audio/visual clip.
  • Save your Word Document directly onto the CD. You can also save the Word Document to the desktop and then move it and the clip or image files into the same blank CD later. However, you may have to re-link your clips or images because they have changed location.
  • Burn and then view the CD to make sure everything has been saved correctly.

In order to capture, edit and burn audio/visual clips to a CD, please refer to the "Digitizing Still and Moving Images" handout, and for more information on how to choose, place and cite audio visual texts see the "Writing with Audio/Visual Texts" handout found on the Writing with Film website.

Prepared by Nora Gully and Gretchen Hitt '03, updated by Margaret Kelly