Archive for February, 2012

Prevent text boxes from moving (Word 2010)

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.

February 24, 2012 at 11:41 am

Avoid the “Bottom Center” page numbering option in Word

In both Word 2007 and Word 2010, there is a glitch in the page numbering options. Specifically, the “Bottom of Page” option — one of the available choices from the Page Number drop-down in the Header & Footer Tools tab (and also on the Insert tab) — will wipe out any text you’ve inserted into a footer.  In my tests, that occurs even if you have added text a line or two below the line where you place the page number.

Try it for yourself.  Using a test document, go into the footer (whether by double-clicking in the footer area of any page, right-clicking and then clicking “Edit Footer,” or clicking the Insert tab > Footer > Edit Footer), and type a word or two at the left side. Then navigate to the left end of the Header & Footer Tools tab and click the Page Number drop-down.  When it opens, hover over the Bottom of Page option, then glide the mouse pointer to the right and down to Plain Number 2 (the centered choice). Click it.

Shazam!  The text disappears.

If you like, test it again in a new blank document, but this time press the Enter key a couple of times before typing any text.  Type a word or two on every blank line.  Click somewhere in the first line.  Now click the Page Number drop-down > Bottom of Page > Plain Number 2.

All of the text — not just that on the same line as the page number — vanishes.

You can insert text at the left and/or right side of the footer after inserting a page number in this fashion.   Just double-click where you want to add the text, then proceed to type.   (This workaround is available because of Word’s “Click and Type” feature, which lets you double-click anywhere in the document and start typing, and also because footers in Word come with left, center, and right tabs built in.[1])

However, if your firm uses a document management system to insert a document ID in the footer, the above workaround might not be successful.  And besides, there are a couple of more elegant ways to insert a page number — without deleting any existing text — if the need arises.

One method involves tabbing to the center of the footer, then clicking the Page Number drop-down, hovering over the Current Position option, and clicking Simple Plain Number 1.  Don’t be thrown off by the fact that the preview shows the page number at the left.  The page number code actually will appear at the cursor position.

Another method involves tabbing to the center, then simply using the keyboard shortcut Alt Shift P to insert a page number code.

If you prefer the “Page X of Y” format, just position your cursor, then click the Page Number drop-down, hover over Current Position, and scroll through the page numbering gallery until you see “Page X of Y.”  Click to insert the codes.

For some reason, Microsoft chose to format the page numbers in this option with boldface.  However, it’s a simple matter to turn off the boldface.  Just select (highlight) the entire “Page X of Y” footer and press Ctrl B twice.  (The bolding might go away the first time you press Ctrl B, but depending on the circumstances, the key combination might apply bolding the first time and remove it the second time.)

So to recap:  If you ever have to insert a page number code into a footer that contains text, do not use the Bottom of Page option from the Page Number drop-down.  Instead, before inserting the page number, tab to the center of the footer, then either use the Current Position option in the Page Numbering drop-down or, alternatively, simply press the key combination Alt Shift P.  Either of those latter two methods will preserve any text that previously was inserted into the footer.


[1]  “Click and Type” must be enabled in order for this procedure to work.  If it doesn’t work,  do the following:  In Word 2010, click the File tab > Options, and click the Advanced category (at the left side of the Options screen).  The Click and Type option appears toward the bottom of the Editing options group (the first one in the Advanced Category).  If it’s unchecked, click to check it, then OK out of the Options screen.  In Word 2007, click the Office button > Word Options, and click the Advanced category (left side of the Options screen) .  As in Word 2010, the Click and Type option appears toward the bottom of the Editing options group (the first one in the Advanced Category).  If it’s unchecked, click to check it, then OK out of the Options screen.

February 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

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