Prevent text boxes from moving (Word 2010)

February 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

Recently, I’ve gotten a couple of inquiries about how to keep text boxes in Word from moving around as surrounding text is added and deleted.

The trick to making text boxes stay where you want them has to do with the text wrapping options. It’s essential to choose the correct option, because some of the choices allow text boxes to move and others anchor them in place.

An easy way to insert a text box is to click the Insert tab, navigate to the Text group (right of center), click the Text Box drop-down, click “Draw Text Box,” position the cursor, then click, drag, and release.  (If the resulting text box isn’t the size you want, you can resize it by clicking the box and dragging any of the borders.)

The Text Box Tools Tab — Position Drop-Down

After you insert a text box, a context-sensitive Text Box Tools tab appears. Navigate to the Arrange group and click the “Position drop-down. You’ll see several built-in choices, one or more of which might work for you.  Each choice consists of a position and a text wrapping option.

First, avoid the “In Line With Text” wrapping option. If you choose that one, the text box will move.

The other selections in the Position gallery all use “Square Text Wrapping.” With Square Text Wrapping, the text box won’t move; any text you add will appear above the box, below it, and/or on either side of the box (assuming the box doesn’t stretch all the way from the left margin to the right margin).

If you don’t want the text to appear at the sides of the box, you’ll need to choose “Top and Bottom” rather than “Square Text Wrapping.”  With the “Top and Bottom” option applied, text will display above and below the box, but not at the sides.  For instructions on how to apply “Top and Bottom” text wrapping, read on.

The existing options will position the text box in fixed areas, such as at the bottom of the page or the vertical center of the page. If one of those options works for you, click to apply it. (Doing so might move the text box to a different page; if that happens, simply move it to the page where you want it and make sure the text wrapping and position options are set the way you like.) That should accomplish what you want.

The Layout Dialog:  The Position Tab

However, if none of the built-in positions is right for you, click the “More Layout Options” command at the bottom of the Position drop-down. When the Layout dialog opens, use the Position tab to set the horizontal and vertical position of the text box. You can choose among various options, including (to mention just a few) a horizontal position on the Left, Right, or Center relative to the page and a vertical position relative to the margin, page, paragraph, or line.

Note, as well, that the Position tab has additional choices at the bottom. The most important is “Lock anchor.” You can enable that option by clicking the checkbox. Be sure that the option above it, “Move object with text,” is not checked.

The Layout Dialog:  The Text Wrapping Tab

While you have the Layout dialog open, click the Text Wrapping tab to view and select a different text wrapping option, such as “Top and Bottom.”  Click the one you want, then be sure to click “OK” to save your settings and close out of the dialog.

Note that “Square,” “Tight,” “Through,” and “Top and Bottom” all leave the text box in place.  As mentioned previously, “In Line with Text” lets the text box move as text is added or deleted, so avoid this option if you want the text box to remain stationary.

The “Behind Text” option puts the text box in a layer underneath the text, so that the text actually overlies any text within the box.  “In Front of Text” does the opposite; the text box overlies and obscures the text in the document.

The Wrap Text Drop-Down

Note that you can apply any of these text wrapping options to an existing text box — and, better yet, see a preview of how each of them would look before making a choice — by clicking the “Wrap Text” drop-down in the Arrange group.  Simply position the mouse pointer over any of the options, without clicking, to get a “Live Preview” of that effect.  (The Position drop-down also provides a Live Preview, at least with respect to some of the position options.)  When you find one that you like, left click it to apply it.

Finally, remember that the Text Box Tools tab is context-sensitive.  That means it appears only when you insert or click a text box.

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Avoid the “Bottom Center” page numbering option in Word Hoping to post soon. Meanwhile,…


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