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Microsoft Word 2010 : Creating and Formatting Text Boxes (part 1) - Inserting a Text Box

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12/16/2014 8:12:28 PM

A text box is a graphical container that holds text and works like a minidocument you can place anywhere within a regular document. Although it holds text, a text box itself is actually a graphic; the text it contains is independent from the document’s body text. You can format a text box’s text in most of the same ways you can format a document’s normal text. But because the box is a shape, you can drag it to a different position, resize it, and format it like other shapes.

The text box is one of the secret weapons of great document layouts. In fact, lots of multicolumn documents, such as the newsletter template shown in Figure 1, don’t use columns at all. Instead, they are laid out with text boxes. In the figure, the newsletter is just a series of text boxes, sized and formatted in different ways, but neatly arranged to imitate a two-column design.

Figure 1. A newsletter template laid out with text boxes rather than columns. Each text box is indicated by its handles and borders.

The following sections show you how to insert a text box into a document, resize and move it, format the box itself and the text inside it, and other cool tricks.

Inserting a Text Box

You can create a text box in two ways. The first (and quicker) way is to insert a building block that is already formatted. The second (and slower) way is to draw a text box with your pointer and do all the formatting yourself. Either way, when a text box is selected, the Drawing Tools Format tab appears on the Ribbon and the text box is surrounded by a thin border and selection/sizing handles.

Creating a Text Box from a Building Block

If you create a text box from a building block, most of the work is done for you. The building blocks used for text boxes are preformatted with a border (and sometimes a fill) that coordinates with the document’s theme colors. The text is already formatted, too. All you need to do is add your own text. Here’s how to create a text block from a building block:

1.
On the Insert tab, click Text Box. A menu drops down, showing thumbnail versions of Word’s built-in building blocks for text boxes, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Selecting a building block from the Text Box menu.

2.
In the Built-In section of the menu, click one of the thumbnails. The new text box contains sample text, so you can see how it is formatted. The sample text is selected so you can delete it or type over it.

If you select the Simple Text Box building block, Word inserts a box in the middle of the page, in front of the document’s text. If you select any other building block, it is inserted as shown in the Text Box menu; the document’s text wraps around the block according to that block’s default text wrapping setting.


3.
Press Del to delete the sample text from the box. A blinking insertion point appears in its place.

4.
Type your text into the text box.

5.
Click outside the text box to deselect it.

If you want to see more building blocks, click More Text Boxes From Office.com on the Text Box menu. A submenu pops out, showing a selection of text boxes available from the Office.com website. Click any building block to add it to the document.

Drawing a Text Box

You can draw a text box with your pointer, but you’ll have to do all the formatting when you’re done. Here’s how to draw a text box:

1.
On the Insert tab, click Text Box.

2.
Click Draw Text Box. The pointer changes to a crosshair.

3.
Drag the pointer to draw a box, as shown in Figure 3. When you release the mouse button, the insertion point appears inside the finished text box.

Figure 3. Drawing a text box.


4.
Type your text into the text box.

5.
Click outside the text box to deselect it.

When you draw a text box, Word inserts the box wherever you draw it and places the box in front of the document’s text.

 
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