How to Insert and Manipulate 3D Models in Microsoft Word

Image: Rawf8/Adobe Stock

Microsoft 365 apps can simulate 3D shapes and letters, but the effect is often less than satisfactory. If you must go the 3D route, get the right perspective with Microsoft WordFeatures can be tedious. Fortunately, Microsoft 365 now supports 3D models. These files are 3D representations that update perspective in real time, and there are dozens of them available through Microsoft stock images.

You won’t create 3D models in Microsoft Word, but you can insert and manipulate them in Word. In this document, I will show you how to work with 3D models in Microsoft Word documents. The results are more accurate and satisfying than anything you could create using Word’s features.

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Microsoft 365, Office 2019, 2021, and Phone 10 apps support 3D models. We will be working in Word, but 3D models are also supported by power point, Excel and Outlook. Web applications do not support 3D models.

How to insert a 3D model in Word

You won’t create a 3D model in Word, but you can insert existing 3D models. 3D models are three-dimensional objects used in animation, simulation, and even manufacturing. 3D printers print 3D models in manufacturing. For example, the next time you need a dental crown, ask the dentist if they will use a 3D printer to create that crown – many do.

3D models in Word allow you to move the model around to expose other perspectives. You can use them in electronic and printed materials such as brochures, flyers, and other desktop publishing type materials.

Once you’ve inserted a 3D model into Word, you can manipulate it by rotating and tilting it to view different perspectives, which exposes further functionality. Let’s insert a 3D model and explore it:

  1. Click on the Insert tab.
  2. In the Illustrations group, click 3D Models.
  3. From the drop-down list, choose Stock 3D Models. Later you can purchase or create other 3D model files.
  4. In the resulting pane, click the Toys dialog box.
  5. Check the matrix (Figure A), then click Insert.

Figure A

Select a 3D model to insert into Word.

Figure B

Word inserts the 3D model into a Word document.

Once the 3D model is in a Word document, you can manipulate it to get the look you want.

How to manipulate the 3D model in Word

After inserting the dice, Word offers two tools to change the perspective. The red arrow (Figure B) points to the rotation handle, which you may already be familiar with. Use this handle to rotate the object 360 degrees. However, this will not change the perspective. For this you need the 3D control in the center of the dice.

Click on this control and start dragging it to see the different angles – perspectives – that expose more detail about the object. In this case, if you move it enough, you will see that the die has 21 points, just like a real die does.

Slide the button down to see the top side of the dice. Swipe the button up to see the bottom, as shown in Figure C. Drag left to expose the side on the right and drag the control right to expose the left. The easiest way to get familiar with the possibilities is to play around with them for a while. Remember that you can still use the rotation handle.

Figure C

Use the 3D control in the center of the object to change the 3D perspective in Word.

Although you have 3D views, Word treats the model like any other chart, so almost anything you can do on a normal chart, you can do on a 3D model. Simply select it and click on the 3D Model contextual tab. As you can see in Figure Dthe Accessibility, Arrange, and Size groups offer options and settings you may already be familiar with.

Figure D

Use the contextual 3D Model ribbon to edit model properties and formats in Word.

Some options are only available for 3D models:

  • Adjustment settings allow you to insert and reset a 3D model. Choosing Reset will return the model to its newly inserted perspective.
  • 3D model views offer several predefined views, most of which can also be obtained using the 3D control, but predefined options are faster.
  • Most interesting is the Pan & Zoom option, which allows you to increase and decrease the visual within the frame.

How to Use Pan and Zoom in Word

It’s not difficult to work with 3D models in Word. In just a few minutes you will have a good idea of ​​the functionality. Perhaps the only new feature for you is Pan & Zoom. This feature allows you to control how the image fits into its frame.

Click Pan & Zoom, then click and drag the object in the frame to move it. Use the Zoom arrow on the right to make the object appear larger or smaller in the frame.

Figure E shows the result obtained by clicking on Pan & Zoom and then moving the model to the right. As you can see, it’s a bit like cropping. Usually you will lose part of the visual when using Pane.

Figure E

Zooming moves the object within the frame.

Reset the die, then use the zoom arrow to increase the die in the frame. As you can see in Figure F, losing half of the pips. You can also reduce the size of the object.

Figure F

Panning increases and decreases the size of the object in the frame.

How to send 3D models in Outlook

Outlook 2019 and later versions support 3D models in email messages. While creating a new email, click on the Insert tab and select in the body section. If you are replying to a message, click Pop Out to access the Insert tab. Double-clicking to open the email will not work. The recipient can only view the template.

How to make a 3D model

Earlier I mentioned that you won’t be using Microsoft Word to create a 3D model. You can convert a 2D shape to a 3D shape, but this is cumbersome and these shapes limit perspective. SmartArt also has 3D effects, but you’ll be working with basic letters and shapes best suited for flowcharts and similar uses.

You can use Microsoft Paint 3D. Although limited, you can glimpse the possibilities. Using Paint 3D, select 3D Shapes or 3D Library from the menu. In the right pane, use the many options to sketch a doodle or select an object. While sketching, you may need to connect dots to create the 3D model.

It’s limited, but it’s a meaningful way to explore before investing in more powerful and expensive third-party software. If you want to try your hand at serious 3D modeling, explore some of the third-party products – there are plenty.

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