How to Create an Image Map in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint

Image maps allow you to make different areas of an image clickable, linking them to different destinations. While Microsoft Word and PowerPoint don’t have built-in tools for creating image maps, you can approximate the functionality with shapes. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating image maps in Word or PowerPoint.

Why Use Image Maps

Image maps create interactive images that engage users. Potential uses include:

  • Interactive diagrams and infographics – Make parts of a diagram or infographic clickable to view more information.
  • Image navigation menus – Use an image as a navigation menu with clickable buttons.
  • Map navigation – Make countries/states on a map clickable to go to area-specific pages.

Without image maps, you would need to divide an image into individual files or add multiple text hyperlinks over an image. Image maps simplify this while allowing the image to remain as one file.

Step 1 – Insert Image

Start by inserting the image you want to use for the image map as you normally would in Word or PowerPoint.

Sample image

Make sure to size and position the image as desired.

Step 2 – Add Clickable Shapes

  1. On the Insert tab, click Shapes and select a shape that matches the area of the image you want to make clickable.
  2. Draw the shape directly over that area of the image.

For example, I drew a rectangular shape over Australia on the map image.

Map with rectangular shape over Australia

Step 3 – Add Hyperlink to Shape

  1. Right-click on the shape and select Hyperlink.
  2. Choose whether to link to a web page, place in this document, or file.
  3. Enter the hyperlink destination.

I set the hyperlinked shape over Australia to go to australia.html page when clicked.

Step 4 – Format Shapes

To make the shapes invisible and look like part of the image:

  1. Press Shift and select all shapes.
  2. On the Format tab, set Shape Fill to No Fill and Shape Outline to No Outline.

The shapes will now be invisible but the hyperlinks remain functional.

Step 5 – Repeat as Needed

Repeat steps 2-4 to add additional clickable areas and links to your image map.

Make sure to test the links thoroughly when done.

Image Map Tips

  • Use circle or irregular shapes for clickable areas that aren’t rectangular.
  • Add visual cues like color changes on hover or mouseover tooltips.
  • For complex image maps, layer shapes from back to front.
  • Check appearance on different slide sizes if using in PowerPoint.

Alternatives to Image Maps

If you want more advanced image map functionality, consider these alternatives:

  • Web-based image maps – Use HTML image maps on websites with precise area coordinates.
  • PDF document – Create clickable regions more easily in PDF files.
  • Microsoft Visio – Contains built-in tools for creating image maps.

So while Word and PowerPoint don’t have native image mapping features, you can create basic clickable image areas using shapes. Just insert any image, add hyperlinked shapes, and format them to be invisible over areas you want to make interactive.