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Grab photos from Android direct to Word or PowerPoint

A new way to insert a picture directly from an Android device into a Word document or PowerPoint slide on a Windows or Mac computer.  Plus alternatives you can use now and might be more reliable.

How it’s (supposed) to work

In the online (browser) versions of Word and PowerPoint, Microsoft is gradually rolling out a new item on the Insert | Pictures | Insert Picture From | Mobile Device.

All images sourced from Microsoft because we can’t get the feature to work!

At the moment, only some Android devices are supported.

A QR code will appear on the computer screen like this:

On the smartphone, use the camera to open the link from the QR Code.  You may be prompted to install a “Link to Windows” app.

If the computer <> smartphone link is established (a big IF in our experience) the devices pictures will appear on the computer screen. Select one or more to insert into the document or slide.

All the file types supported by Office (JPG, PNG etc) work.

The same Mobile Device option is also available under ‘Change Picture’ to replace an existing image.

Who gets it?

At the moment, Insert Picture from Mobile Device is only in Word and PowerPoint in a browser. The browser based versions of Office apps can be opened on Windows and Mac computers.

A Microsoft 365 subscription

An Android phone (obviously😄)

Firefox users need version 104.0 or later.

Insert from Mobile Device is being gradually rolled out, so might not appear on your computer.

In the Real World …

We’ve tried many times (since late October) to get this feature working with no success.  It seems the connection between the computer and Android device isn’t stable enough to work reliably.  That’s been the problem with Microsoft’s various past attempts to connect Android with Windows.

Perhaps that’s why the feature has now disappeared from our test machines and that of some other people.  Maybe Microsoft has gone back to the drawing board?

By all means, look for the Mobile Device option at Insert | Pictures but don’t expect too much.

And don’t worry if you don’t see the option because there are at least three other ways to move an image from an Android (or Apple) device to an Office document.

Alternatives to insert a smartphone image into an Office document

There are many ways to get an Android/iPhone/iPad image into an Office document. Here’s just a few alternatives.

OneDrive Camera Roll

Use the OneDrive Camera Roll or similar feature on Dropbox, iCloud etc.  This automatically uploads all pictures and screenshots to cloud storage.  If setup, the online picture folder (Camera Roll for OneDrive) will sync directly to your computer.

We often do this and it works really well.  Take a picture, it uploads to OneDrive and then your computer downloads the image to the \Camera Roll folder.  No extra actions required and the whole process takes mere seconds.

Open the document on the smartphone

Open the same document or PowerPoint deck on the smartphone so you can insert the picture.

The file would normally be on cloud storage (OneNote, Dropbox etc) to do this.

As we’ve mentioned many times, modern Office document collaboration is also good for one person to access their documents from multiple computers or devices at the same time.

Send to yourself

Another option is to send the picture file from the device to your computer by some means. Email it to yourself. WhatsApp has just added a ‘message to yourself’ option.

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