Using MS Word to Add Callouts

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Once you've located a sample image from a FamilySearch Historical Records article that you are able to translate, follow the instructions below to add callouts of the genealogical data in English.

  1. Open Word and select a blank document (this is typically the first/default choice when opening Word).

  2. Go to PAGE LAYOUT, click on "Orientation," and select Portrait or Landscape depending on the orientation of the image you will edit.

  3. Click on "Size" and change the size to the largest selection; usually 11" x 17" or 12" x 18". This larger page size will help retain most of the image's quality and visibility.

    Note: Changing the margins to .25” will allow more space to work with.

  4. Go to INSERT and click "Pictures." Find the image on your computer and click "Insert."

  5. Save the file type as a document file using the same file name as the image.

  6. Resize and align the image to allow space on the page for the callouts and image to fit within the margins.

  7. Once the image is set on the page you are ready to insert callouts. Click the INSERT tab on Word’s top toolbar and find the “Shapes” tool.

    Under the “Callouts” section, we want to choose the “rounded rectangular callout”; this is the second one from the left.

  8. Once selected, you can click and drag anywhere on the page to create the shape.

    Note: As you place callouts, try to keep them off of the text of the record as much as possible. You may use the blank spaces of the record to place callouts.

Guidelines for callouts:

  • The outline weight (thickness) must be at least 1.5 pt and not greater than 2.25 pt (=”Shape Outline” in Word; see image to the right)
  • The outline must be black (=”Shape Outline” in Word)
  • Set the background color to white (=”Shape Fill” in Word)
  • Use black text

9. There are two ways to get to the formatting options for callouts:
A. Select the callout and click on FORMAT under the "Drawing Tools" heading at the top
B. Select the callout, right click on it, and select "Format AutoShape"


Hint: If you create one and format the text, size, margins, color, and outline weight, you can copy and paste to create more without having to reformat the shape each time you create one.

10. Start typing inside the newly inserted callouts. You may keep the text simple by merely typing "Birth name," "Mother's name," "Place of death," etc.

11. If necessary, resize the callouts accordingly by using your cursor to adjust the small bubbles that appear around the callout.

12. When you’re finished adding all of the callouts necessary, save the file.

13. Email the Word (.doc) file to

Thank you for your help!