CPS100 • Introduction to Computers

Lakeland College • Japan Campus

Text Boxes, Wrapping, and Word Art

Text Boxes

In Microsoft Word, text is normally typed to fill the page from left to right, and from top to bottom. In advanced layouts, however, you might want a text box which holds a special message. You see these very often in magazines--separate rectangles with text, sometimes with borders or background colors, to show quotes or special text.

This page from a magazine shows three textboxes, indicated by the red arrows.

In order to create one of these yourself, you should go to the Insert tab in the Ribbon, and look in the Text area:

When you click on this button, you get a menu with several choices:

Choose one of them (for example, the first one at top left), and it will appear in the text:

The text that appears in the box is placeholder text in a field; replace the text with what you want in the box.

Notice that the text box covers the typing behind it. In order to avoid this, you must use Text Wrap. This can be found in the special Text Box Tools tab which appears in the Ribbon. On the right side, you will see an area named Arrange. In that area, you will see a button called Text Wrapping. Click on this, and you will see a menu:

For a rectangular shape like one we just created, you should choose Square. The text outside the box will then wrap around the box.


Furthermore, you can style the text box to have background, border, and shadow effects. Quick Styles can also be found in the Text Box Tools tab in the Ribbon:

You can also control each element separately in the same Ribbon tab, using the Shape Fill and Shape Outline button-menus. Additionally, you can change the shape of the text box:


Objects & Text Wrap

MS Word has many similar points to PowerPoint. One of them is how Objects work. In both programs, objects each occupy a layer, and each layer must be above or below others. As in PowerPoint, objects appear in a Placeholder box.

However, Word is a different environment. A document in MS Word is intended to be filled with text. As a result, in MS Word, the idea of Text Wrapping is very important. This allows for the text of a document to flow around the edges of an object, without covering it or being covered by it.

The "Arrange" Area

In the Page Layout Tab of the Ribbon, you will find the Arrange area on the right side. This area allows you to quickly arrange how graphic elements (such as pictures and shapes) appear on your page:

  • Position: Quickly choose a basic location on the page for a graphic. This feature will automatically arrange for Text Wrapping.
  • Bring to Front / Send to Back: Quickly arrange the layers of overlapping graphics.
  • Text Wrapping: when you insert a graphic, usually only one line of text will appear to the left or right, leaving a large empty area on each side of the graphic. Text Wrapping allows text to fill in those empty spaces, and "wrap" around an image. There are various ways you can have the text wrap.

The default setting is "In Line with Text," which means that the object will try to occupy a single line of text without other text wrapping to the left or right. This makes the single line of text with the object as tall as the image--an effect you usually do not want to have. By selecting different wrap styles, you can get a better effect. The three most common are Square (text forms a box around the object), Tight (text wraps closely around the object's borders), and Edit Wrap Points (you control exactly how the text flows).

Here, we have an image which has blank areas. Normally, using Square text wrapping, these areas remain blank, which might look strange in many cases.

If the image is a PNG or GIF that allows for transparencies, then it is possible for MS Word to "see" the transparencies and automatically fill them in. To do this, in Text Wrap, choose Tight wrapping.

With any image, if you select Edit Wrap Points, you may choose exactly how the text will flow by using or creating wrap points (the small black squares along the red lines).

Before you can set an image's wrap to this, you must first select Tight wrapping, and then the Edit Wrap Points will become available.

You may encounter the need for wrapping with normal elements of MS Word, like a text box:

If such a shape changes to a non-rectangular form, you may want to change the Text Wrap to "tight" instead of "square."

Finally, in the Arrange area of the Page Layout tab, you can find the last three buttons:

  • Align: Automatically takes several different graphics and lines them up according to pre-set rules.
  • Group: Same as in PowerPoint--allows multiple graphics to be temporarily joined, so they behave like one object.
  • Rotate: Rotate or flip graphics. You can also rotate using the green "Rotate" handle on the object placeholder, again like in PowerPoint.

Note: The same controls can be found in the special Ribbon tabs Drawing Tools (for shapes) and Picture Tools (for images & clip art). This area is also called "Arrange," but it looks a little different:

Word Art

Through the 2007 version of Word, the Word Art was an old type which was clunky to use. Even when PowerPoint 2007 got new Word Art styles, MS Word lagged behind. However, with Word 2010, Word Art now is the same (or almost the same) as PowerPoint.

As in PowerPoint, go to the Insert tab and click on Word Art, then choose a style. The Word Art will form in a box which wraps above the text:

Type your text in the box:

Then use the "Position" or "Text Wrapping" buttons to clear the text around it:

Symbols & Equations


Two buttons allow you to add special typing to your document:

The Equation tool is an easy way to add mathematical expressions to your document. Click on the Equation button for a few common examples:

You can click on one of the examples to insert it, or just select "Insert New Equation" to get a blank field. You will see a new Equation Tools Ribbon tab, which will give you options to create your own equations from scratch.

Just type whatever elements you want into the formatting frame, using the buttons in the tab to create special forms and stock formulas. Here is a collection of equation elements (a nonsense equation):



The Symbol tool allows you to type characters not usually found via the keyboard. Click the button to see some recently used symbols:

If the symbol you need is not shown here, then just click "More Symbols" and you will get this dialog box:

To insert a symbol, either double-click it, or click it and then click on the "Insert" button.

Note the area to the lower left of that dialog box:

If you select a symbol in the dialog box, the Shortcut Key for that symbol--if one is set--will appear. If there is no shortcut, you can create one with either AutoCorrect or with the Shortcut Key button. For example, if you click the Shortcut Key button, you will see this dialog box:

Here, you can simply type a key combination to use for the symbol. In this case, I used the "Yen" sign and typed the "Alt+Y" keyboard shortcut combination.

MS Word told me that the "Alt+Y" combination was "currently unassigned" to any other command. That means the shortcut is not being used. If it is used by another command, you can still replace the shortcut to the other command with the one you are making now.

All you do is click the Assign button and the keyboard shortcut will be set.

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