Monday, September 14, 2009

Group, Ungroup and Regroup disabled in Word

I was editing a Microsoft Word document which had a collection of shapes and text boxes grouped together. I wanted to modify some of the shapes, and therefore I had to ungroup them. But when I right-click the group and open the Group menu, all three options namely Group, Ungroup and Regroup are completely disabled or grayed out.

I couldn’t figure out what’s wrong. This group of objects is perfectly ungroupable, and I can even select objects within the group. However, Microsoft Word 2007 is not letting me ungroup it.

I searched the Internet for a solution, but did not find anything very useful. The closest I came across is this statement: “The type of Text Wrapping doesn't make any difference as long as it isn't In Line with Text.” (Link here)

Anyway, I changed the text wrapping of the group of objects from ‘In line with Text’ to ‘Tight’ and viola! I could now ungroup it and edit it. The document got a bit messed up when I did so, but after I ungrouped, edited and regrouped, I changed the text wrapping back to ‘In line with text’ and everything was back to normal.

Annoyingly, even the Help for Microsoft Word does not mention about this problem or have a note about it in its page teaching you how to group and ungroup objects. And I haven’t found a solution on the Internet either.


  1. hi ,try changing the layout of the grouped object to float-over-text or not in-line-with-text or in-front-of-text. i hope it be ok.

  2. lol i was not asking for a solution. did you read the post?

  3. Thanks for this post! Helped me solve the same problem!

  4. Thanks for the help! this was driving me mad, stoopid Word/Microsoft!

  5. I was seconds away from throwing my laptop out the window trying to figure out why some grouped Word elements in Word 2010 could not be ungrouped. Changing the Text Position to anything other than In Line with Text solved my issue. However, it's a total nightmare having to switch between the two modes.

    Thanks for sharing this particular nuance of Word.

  6. No problem, glad I could be of help! Once you change the setting back to "In line with Text," the messed up placement of the grouped objects will return to normal. Not that much of a nightmare.

  7. Fantastic! Nothing on MS, so thankful I saw this. Changing the layout fixed the problem for me. More clunky to do than our previous method, but at least it could be done!
    Appreciate that you took the time to post this.

  8. Thank you by coming out fron "in line with text", group, ungroup and regroup will work.

  9. how about POWERPOINT i want to ungroup some elements in one picture i have loaded it from vector image and group icon is grayed out

    1. Sorry, I don't think that Powerpoint understands vector image files as distinct elements or even supports vector graphics (beyond the rudimentary drawings support). It was probably rasterized into a flat image when imported. I suggest ungrouping in the vector editor (such as Adobe Illustrator) and saving each element as a separate picture. Import all the pictures in Powerpoint and then you can manipulate each element separately in Powerpoint.


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