Controlling Text Placement and Formatting with Text Boxes, Shapes, and Frames






Controlling Text Placement and Formatting with Text Boxes, Shapes, and Frames

When you use Word 2007, you might occasionally find that you need to control text layout beyond setting margins, formatting paragraphs, and creating columns. At those times, you might benefit from entering your information into text containers: shapes that can contain text or text boxes. Text containers are free-floating objects (independent of the document’s body text) that you can use to enclose information. You can then format these objects the same way you format drawings.

Generally, you’ll use text boxes and shapes when you want to position several blocks of text on a page or continue the flow of a story from one area in your document to another. For example, you might be creating a newsletter in which a story starts on the cover page but concludes on another page later in the newsletter.

In addition to creating interesting page layouts and continuing a story from one text block to another (also referred to as flowing text in linked text boxes), you might also want to use text boxes to accomplish the following tasks.

  • Format text blocks using drawing tools

  • Rotate or flip text

  • Change text orientation

  • Align or distribute text blocks as a group

This section of the chapter describes how you can manipulate and control text using text containers-standard rectangular text boxes, built-in preformatted text boxes, and shapes formatted as text containers. Keep in mind that when you’re working with text boxes and shapes, you must work in Print Layout view so that the text boxes and shapes appear on the screen as you work. Figure–5 shows a text box, a shape formatted to contain text, and a built-in text box in Print Layout view.

Image from book
Figure–5: Regardless of whether you insert a standard square text box, a text box based on a shape, or a preformatted built-in text box, you can link text and format your text boxes using the Text Box Tools tab, which is displayed automatically when you work with text boxes.

As you can see in Figure–5, the active text box is surrounded by a frame-like border built from dashed lines and sizing handles. This border appears whenever you click a text box, and it serves a number of purposes, including enabling you to move and resize the text box and access text box properties.

Creating Text Boxes

Creating a text box is as easy as drawing a box or shape. You can create a text box by performing any of the following actions.

  • Click the Insert tab, click Text Box in the Text group (or press Alt, N, X), and then click a built-in text box style.

  • Click the Insert tab, click Text Box in the Text group (or press Alt, N, X), click Draw Text Box, and then drag the pointer in your document to draw a text box.

  • Click an existing text box and then click Draw Text Box on the Text Box Tools tab.

  • Click the Insert tab, click Shapes in the Illustrations group, select a shape, and add it to your document. Right-click the shape, and then choose Add Text from the shortcut menu.

Note 

To add existing text to a text box, select the text, click the Insert tab, click Text Box, and click Draw Text Box. The selected text is automatically inserted into a standard text box.

By default, when you draw a text box or shape in Word 2007, a drawing canvas does not automatically open. This differs from previous versions of Word, which automatically placed text boxes on a drawing canvas. If you prefer, you can work with AutoShapes on a drawing canvas by configuring settings in the Word Options dialog box as follows.

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button, Word Options, Advanced.

  2. In the Editing Options section, click the Automatically Create Drawing Canvas When Inserting AutoShapes check box.

  3. Click OK.

After you close the Word Options dialog box, a drawing canvas will automatically be created when you insert a shape in your document.

Regardless of whether you work on or off the drawing canvas, you’ll notice that the Text Box Tools tab opens automatically after you create a text box, as shown previously in Figure–5. This tab becomes available whenever a text box is selected.

As you create text boxes in your document, you can move and resize them in the same manner you move and resize drawing objects-by dragging them by their edges and sizing handles. To move a text box, point to the border to change the insertion point to four arrows, click anywhere on the border other than on a sizing handle, and then drag the text box. To resize a text box, drag the sizing handles (which appear as circles and squares in text box frames) to change the text box’s width and height. Figure–5 shows a selected text box with its border and sizing handles.

Inserting Text into Text Boxes and Shapes

After you create text boxes or format shapes to hold text, you are ready to add text and formatting. You can insert text into containers in a few predictable ways, including the following.

  • Drag information into a text box

  • Select existing text, click Text Box on the Insert tab, and click Draw Text Box

  • Click a text box and then click the Insert tab, click Object in the Text group, and then click Text From File to insert a file’s contents into the text box

If you’re planning to insert a longer story into a text box or a series of linked text boxes, you should consider typing and editing the story in a standard Word document before importing the information into the text box or text boxes (as described in the last item in the preceding bulleted list). That way, you can conduct most of your editing, formatting, and fine-tuning tasks in a standard document, which generally provides a larger viewing area than a text box or shape.

Troubleshooting
Image from book

I can’t find the Insert, File command.

In Word 2007, the location of the Insert, File command has changed This command enables you to insert the contents of another file into your document In Word 2007, to insert the contents of another document into a document or text box, follow these steps.

  1. Click the Insert tab, click Object in the Text group, and then click Text From File.

  2. In the Insert File dialog box, select the file you want to insert, and then click Insert

Image from book
Note 

You can format text in text boxes in the same way you format document text. First click in the text box and then format the text using keyboard shortcuts, commands on the Ribbon, settings in the Font and Paragraph dialog boxes, styles, and so forth. You can even track changes to the text in a text box.

In addition to inserting text, you can insert graphics, tables, fields, and Content Controls into text boxes. Among the items that you cannot include in text boxes are the following.

  • Citations

  • Columns

  • Comments

  • Drop caps

  • Endnotes

  • Footnotes

  • Index entries

  • Page and column breaks

  • Tables of figures

  • Tables of contents

To include these elements in a text container, you have to convert your text box into a floating frame, as described in the next section.

Note 

A helpful feature of text containers is that when you run the spelling checker and grammar checker, Word also checks the information in text boxes and shapes.

Using Floating Frames for Comments, Footnotes, Tables, and Fields

Generally, your best bet when placing text into text containers is to use text boxes and shapes formatted to contain text because these objects are highly customizable. But if you need to insert text that includes comments, footnotes, endnotes, tables, or certain fields (such as tables of contents and index fields) in a text container, you have to use a floating frame instead of a text box because text boxes don’t properly support these types of elements. A floating frame looks like a text box, it supports Word fields, but you can’t format one as extensively as you can a text box.

You can easily convert an existing text box into a floating frame whenever necessary by following these steps.

  1. If the text box you want to convert is on the drawing canvas, drag the text box off the canvas.

  2. If the content of the text box is linked to another text box or text boxes, you must break the link(s). See “Linking Text Boxes to Flow Text from One Text Box to Another” on page 270 for more information about creating and breaking text box links.

  3. Right-click the edge of the text box you want to convert and then choose Format Text Box from the shortcut menu (or Format AutoShape if the text box is a shape). Then click the Text Box tab in the Format Text Box dialog box or the Format AutoShape dialog box.

  4. Click Convert To Frame. A message box appears, warning that you are about to change the text box to a frame and that some drawing formatting might be lost. Click OK.

After you convert a text box to a frame, the Text Box Tools tab will not be available.

Formatting Text Boxes and AutoShapes

By default, when you create a text box, it appears as a white (not transparent) box surrounded by thin (0.75 point) black lines. Fortunately, text boxes don’t have to be limited to plain white rectangles strategically placed around your document. You can format text boxes and shapes designed to be text containers in the same manner that you format other drawing objects. For example, by using some of the formatting options on the Text Box Tools tab, you can apply fill and line colors by using the Shape Fill and Shape Outline tools, you can apply built-in Text Box Styles, and you can add a shadow and 3-D effects. To format text boxes and shapes using the Text Box Tools tab, select the text box or shape you want to format and then click the appropriate tool.

Note 

To quickly make the Text Box Tools tab the active tab, double-click the edge of a text box or shape.

In addition to the formatting tools on the Text Box Tools tab, you can format text boxes using the Format Text Box (or Format AutoShape) dialog box. Namely, you can control the position of text inside text boxes and shapes, you can change a text box’s shape, and you can have Word automatically resize a text box or a shape to accommodate the complete text of a story.

Controlling Text in Text Boxes and Shapes

You can change a text box’s internal margin settings to control the distance between the text it contains and the text box or AutoShape’s borders. Here are the steps you follow:

  1. Click a text box or shape, rest the pointer on the frame until the insertion point appears as four arrows, right-click the frame, and then choose Format Text Box or Format AutoShape from the shortcut menu. The Format Text Box or Format AutoShape dialog box appears, depending on the type of text container you’re formatting.

  2. Click the Text Box tab, shown in Figure–6. The Text Box tab is the same in both the Format Text Box and Format AutoShape dialog boxes.

    Image from book
    Figure–6: You can control the spacing around text in text boxes and AutoShapes by configuring the internal margin settings in the Text Box tab.

  3. In the Internal Margin section, increase or decrease the left, right, top, and bottom margin measurements to control the distance between the text and the selected object’s edges. Click OK to apply the settings.

Image from book In addition to controlling internal margins, you can change the orientation of text inside text boxes. To do so, select the text box and then click Text Direction in the Text group on the Text Box Tools tab. Continue to click the button to cycle through the available text direction options.

Note 

When you change the text orientation in a linked text box, you change it in all linked text boxes in the story. In other words, you can’t change the text direction in a single text box if it’s part of a linked series of text boxes. For more information about linked text boxes, see “Linking Text Boxes to Flow Text from One Text Box to Another,” on the next page.

Changing Text Box Shapes

The beauty of using AutoShapes is that you can change your mind about which shape you want to use at any time, even if the AutoShape is formatted as a text box. Changing the shape of a text box is similar to changing shapes that don’t contain text. To do so, ensure that you’re working in Print Layout view and then follow these steps.

  1. Click the shape you want to modify. To select multiple shapes, press and hold Shift while clicking each.

  2. On the Text Box Tools tab, in the Text Box Styles group, click Change Shape and then choose the shape you want from the gallery.

All the shapes you’ve selected take on the new shape, but they retain format settings such as color, internal margins, and so forth.

Resizing Text Boxes or AutoShapes Automatically to Show All Content

You can automatically resize a text box or a shape that contains text, graphics, and objects so that its dimensions change as necessary to display the content it contains. You can use this option only with nonlinked (stand-alone) text containers because linked text containers are designed to flow text to the next linked container if the content exceeds the current container’s boundaries. To set up a stand-alone text container to resize automatically, follow these steps.

  1. Right-click a text container’s frame, choose Format Text Box or Format AutoShape, and then click the Text Box tab in the Format Text Box or Format AutoShape dialog box.

    Note 

    After selecting a text container, you can also open the Format AutoShape or Format Text Box dialog box by using the Dialog Box Launcher in the Text Box Styles or Size groups on the Text Box Tools tab.

  2. Select the Resize AutoShape To Fit Text check box and then click OK.

The text container will automatically stretch or shrink to accommodate text and other content.

Linking Text Boxes to Flow Text from One Text Box to Another

If you’ve ever created a newsletter or a brochure, you know how tricky it can be to fill text areas and properly manage jumps from one page to another. In Word 2007, you can simplify these kinds of tasks by linking text boxes. When you link text boxes, any text that you insert into one text box will automatically flow into the next text box when the first text box cannot accommodate all the text. After you insert text into linked text boxes, you can edit the text to make your story longer or shorter, and Word will automatically reflow the text throughout the series of linked text boxes.

Note 

The maximum number of links you can have in one document is 31, which means that you can have up to 32 linked text containers in one document.

When you want to link text boxes or shapes, you need to keep the following limitations in mind.

  • Linked text boxes and AutoShapes must be contained in a single document (note that they cannot be in different subdocuments of a master document).

  • No text box or AutoShape can already be linked to another series or story.

Before you flow text into a series of linked text boxes, you should be sure that you’ve made most of your changes to your text. Then draw the text boxes you want to link and into which you’ll import your story. When your text is ready and your text boxes are drawn, follow these steps to link the text boxes and insert the text.

  1. Image from book In Print Layout view, click the first text box or shape you want to insert text into and then click Create Link in the Text group on the Text Box Tools tab (or right-click the text box border and choose Create Text Box Link). The pointer changes to an upright pitcher.

  2. Move the pointer to the text box you want to link to the first text box. When you move the upright pitcher pointer over the next text box, the pitcher tilts and turns into a pouring pitcher. Click the second text box to link it to the first text box.

  3. To link a third text box to the others, click the text box you just linked to the first text box, click Create Link, and then click the third text box. You can create a chain of linked text boxes using this method.

    Note 

    If you click Create Link and then decide that you don’t want to link to another box, press Esc to cancel the linking process.

  4. Once you have linked your text boxes, click in the first text box and insert text by typing, pasting, or inserting a file. Generally, the last approach is recommended because it enables you to insert prepared and edited text into your linked text boxes. For the steps you follow to insert text from a file, see “I can’t find the Insert, File command” on page 265.

Note 

If you have a complete story that’s ready to flow into text boxes, you can insert the story into the text boxes while you link them. To do this, insert your story into the first text box and then link to the next text box as described in steps 1 and 2. When you use this approach, the text flows into the text boxes while you link them.

Inside Out-Obtaining Word Count Statistics for Text Box Content 

In Word 2007, you can include the text contained in text boxes in your document’s word count statistic-this ability was not available in earlier versions of Word. Now text inside text boxes is included in word count statistics by default. To control whether to include text inside text boxes in the word count statistics, double-click Words on the status bar along the bottom of the Word 2007 window. The Word Count dialog box opens. Select or clear the Include Textboxes, Footnotes And Endnotes check box to count or exclude text inside of text boxes in your word count statistics.

Moving Between Linked Text Boxes

Image from book Image from book After you link text boxes, you can easily jump from one text box to another. To do so, select a text box that’s part of a linked series of text boxes. Right-click the text box’s edge and then click Next Text Box to move to the next linked text box, or click Previous Text Box to move to the previous text box. You can also move to the next text box by positioning your insertion point at the end of the text in a filled text box and then pressing the Right Arrow key, or you can jump to the preceding text box by positioning your insertion point at the beginning of the text in a text box and then pressing the Left Arrow key.

Note 

If you often need to move forward and back between linked text boxes, you might want to add the Next Text Box and Previous Text Box buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar. To learn how to customize the Quick Access Toolbar, see Chapter 2, “The 2007 Office System User Interface: What’s Changed, What’s the Same.”

Copying or Moving Linked Text Boxes

You can copy or move a story (including text boxes and their contents) to another document or another location in the same document. If your story consists of multiple linked text boxes that aren’t contained on a single drawing canvas, you will have to select all the linked text boxes in the story before you can copy the story and text boxes. If the story’s linked text boxes are on a single drawing canvas, you can select and copy any text box in the series of linked text boxes to copy the entire story and the selected text box to another location. Or, you can select all the text boxes on the drawing canvas to copy the story and all the associated text boxes.

When you copy a text box (or a few linked text boxes but not an entire story) that’s not on a drawing canvas, you copy only the selected text box or boxes, without the text box content. When you copy a single text box that is part of a complete story contained in text boxes on a single drawing canvas, you copy the entire story along with the selected text box. This means that when you paste the text box, you will probably need to resize it to see the entire story, or you will need to add text boxes and link them to the newly inserted text box.

If you want to copy a complete story along with all the text boxes containing the story, you can do so by selecting all the text boxes before copying them, as described here.

  1. In Print Layout view, select a text box in the story by clicking the text box’s frame.

    Note 

    You must select a text box by its frame if you want to copy the text box. If you click inside the text box and then press Ctrl+C, Word won’t copy anything. If you want to copy multiple text boxes, press Shift as you click each frame to select the text boxes.

  2. Press Shift and then click the text boxes you want to copy or move-if all the text boxes appear either on or off a single drawing canvas, you’ll copy the text boxes’ contents as well as the text box containers.

  3. Click Copy or Cut in the Clipboard group on the Home tab (or press Ctrl+C or Ctrl+X, or right-click a selected text box border and then choose Copy or Cut from the shortcut menu).

  4. Click where you want to reposition the text boxes and then click Paste in the Clipboard group on the Home tab (or press Ctrl+V, or right-click and then click Paste).

To copy or move content that appears within a text box without copying or moving the text box, select just the text or content in the same way that you select standard text and content and then copy or move it in the same way you normally copy or move content in Word documents. To select and copy all the text in a linked story, click in the story, press Ctrl+A, and either copy and paste or drag the text to the new location. You can select all the text in a story by using Ctrl+A regardless of whether the story’s text boxes are on a drawing canvas.

Breaking Text Box Links

You can break links between text boxes just as easily as you create them. When you break a link, you remove only the link between the selected text box and the text box that follows it in the series-you don’t remove all the links in a linked series. Essentially, when you break a link, you divide a story into two series of linked text boxes, or segments. By default, the first series of linked text boxes contains the story, and linked text boxes in the second series are empty.

To break a link between text boxes, follow these steps.

  1. In Print Layout view, click the border of the text box from which you want the text to stop flowing.

  2. Image from book On the Text Box Tools tab, click Break Link (or right-click the text box border and then choose Break Forward Link).

At this point, text will stop flowing from the text box you selected. Text boxes that were included later in the linked series will be empty. If the text doesn’t fit in the first series of linked text boxes after you break a link, you can create and link additional text boxes or enlarge existing text boxes to provide enough room to display the text.

Note 

You can remove a text box from a linked series of text boxes without deleting any parts of your story. To do so, simply right-click the text box’s border and then choose Cut from the shortcut menu. When you cut a linked text box, Word 2007 adjusts the story and flows the text into the next text box.

Deleting Linked Text Boxes Without Losing Text

To delete a text box, you simply select a text box and press Delete, or right-click the text box border and choose Cut. Performing this action on a nonlinked text box deletes both the text box and its contents. In contrast, when you delete a text box that’s part of a linked series of text boxes, the text from the deleted text box automatically flows into the remaining linked text boxes. If the remaining text boxes aren’t large enough to display a story in its entirety, you can resize the text boxes, create additional text boxes, or edit your story to fit. Keep in mind that Word doesn’t notify you when text overflows the final text box’s boundaries, so you should always be extra diligent about checking the flow of stories and making sure that no text is hidden.

Note 

To avoid deleting an entire story when you delete a stand-alone, nonlinked text box, click in the text box, press Ctrl+A to select the story, and then either drag or copy the selected story into your document before you delete the text box.

Switching Between Text Boxes and Frames

The overall premise of both text boxes and frames is the same-to contain and offset information. The seemingly minor differences between text boxes and frames, however, can be significant in some cases. Text boxes, for example, provide greater formatting opportunities and text box linking capabilities. Frames, on the other hand, enable you to include endnotes, cross-references, comments, index markers, citations, and other fields-but you cannot link frames. Therefore, depending on your content needs, you might find that you need to change a text box into a frame or vice versa.

Troubleshooting.
Image from book

I want to link text boxes, but the Text Box Tools tab is missing.

In Word, you can link text boxes but not frames. After you convert a text box to a frame, you will no longer have access to the Text Box Tools tab when you click in the frame. To quickly tell if a container you are working with is a text box or frame, click the element’s border. If the element is a text box, the selected border looks like this:

Image from book

If you click the border of a frame, the selection looks like this:

Image from book

You can convert text boxes to frames and frames to text boxes as described in “Using Floating Frames for Comments, Footnotes, Tables, and Fields” on page 266. Keep in mind that whenever you make the switch, you must review your changes carefully to avoid inadvertently hiding text or removing design elements.

Image from book


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