Project 3: Brochure
Linked Text Boxes

Title: Jan's Illustrated Computer Literacy 101
Did you want: Working with Words: Word 2007,2010,2013,2016 or españolIcon: Change web

You worked a little with text boxes in Project 2, but not with linked text boxes. The special feature of linked text boxes is that when one box gets full of text, the text keeps on flowing automatically into the next text box in the chain. It's like what we expect for pages in a word processor where extra text flows onto a new page. It seems the natural thing! But for text boxes, there is nothing "natural" about it. You must deliberately create the text boxes and deliberately link them together.

Example of linked text boxes

Where you are:
JegsWorks > Lessons > Word97-2003

Before you start...

Project 1: Word BasicsTo subtopics

Project 2: Auto ToolsTo subtopics

Project 3: Brochure
    Linked Text Boxes Subtopics display
    icon-footprintCreate & Link
    BrochureTo subtopics
    ExercisesTo subtopics

Project 4: ReportTo subtopics


In the illustration above, you see a chain of 4 linked text boxes. The chain starts with the purple rectangle. Can you tell the order of the boxes in the chain? Click the image to see the answer.

As the sample obviously shows, a linked text box can use any of the AutoShapes available for a text box.

Warning You can't link to a text box if it already has text in it or if it is already linked to another text box. There can be only one path through the text boxes.

[The following Step-by-Step will not work in Word 95, which does not link its text boxes]
Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Create & Link

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn:

to create a text box
to size a text box
to link text boxes
to break a link
why text can vanish in a text box 
how to tell if a text box is linked 

Start withClass disk Icon- Word with blank document (cannot be Word 95)

You are going to create 4 identical text boxes. You will link them and insert some text to show how the flow of text goes from one box to another.

Create a Text Box

  1. If necessary, show the Drawing toolbar by clicking on Button - Drawing the Drawing button.
  2. If necessary, open a new blank document.
  3. Click on Button- Text Box the text box button on the Drawing toolbar. The pointer changes  to Pointer- Precision shape  the precision tool.
    Message: Create your drawing hereIcon: Word 2002Icon: Word 2003 In Word 2002/2003 you will see the Drawing Canvas toolbar and a drawing canvas box in your blank document. Unexpected!
  4. Text BoxDrag to create a text box in the upper left of the blank document. A text box is always a rectangle to start with. You will change its size shortly.
    Icon: Word 2002Icon: Word 2003 Drag from a position that is NOT in the drawing canvas.  The drawing canvas vanishes.

    The anchor symbol at the left in the illustration shows where the text box is attached to the page.

    A textbox is actually a kind of drawing object and is surrounded by a drawing canvas.  The drawings you create on a drawing canvas are treated as a single group. The drawing canvas will vanish if you create your textbox outside the canvas.

Selecting a Text Box

A text box has two different kinds of selection. You can select the whole text box or you can select it for editing its contents. The border looks different.

Text boxes - not selected, selected for typing, box selected

  1. Click on a blank area of your document to unselect your text box.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the border of the text box. The pointer shape changes to the Move shape: Pointer - shape when over border of text box
  3. Click the border of the text box. You have selected the whole text box. The border is now a wide band of dots.

    WarningIf you drag when you click, you will move the text box. That's why the pointer has the Move shape.
  4. Click out of the box to unselect it.
  5. Click inside the text box. It is now selected for editing. The border is now a wide band of diagonal lines and the cursor is blinking on the text line. Simple ... when you know what is going on.

Size a Text Box

  1. Menu - Format Text BoxRight click the text box border and choose  Format Text Box . The Format Text Box dialog opens.
  2. Dialog- Format Text Box | SizeClick on the Size tab and set the height to 2" and the width to 3". (or use 5 cm by 7.5 cm)  Type the unit of measure along with the number.
  3. Click on the other tabs and look at what else you can format about a text box:
    Color and styles of lines around the text box, its position on the page, how other text wraps around the text box, the internal margins of the text box.

    You will use some of these in the next lesson. Keep the defaults for now, except for Size.
  4. Click on OK to close the dialog.

Copy a Text Box

  1. Select the whole text box. Copy it with the key combo CTRL + C.
  2. Text Box copiedClick off the text box in a blank area of the document to unselect the text box. The cursor will remain in the text box.
  3. Paste with the key combo CTRL + V. A duplicate text box appears on top of the original, but it is offset to the right and down.

    TipIf you don't click in a blank area first, your paste will go into the selected text box itself. This is a common error. Just undo, click elsewhere,  and try again.

  4. 4 text boxesDrag the new text box by its border to the right of the first one.
  5. Repeat the paste two more times, arranging the text boxes in two rows of two boxes each. Of course, since these boxes are identical, no one can tell which one you positioned first! It doesn't matter yet which is which but it will once they are linked.

Link Text Boxes

  1. Move the mouse pointer over the border of the first text box. The pointer shape changes to the Move shape: Pointer - shape when over border of text box
  2. While your pointer has the Move shape, right click on the border of the text box and from the popup menu choose  Create Text Box Link .  If your click misses the border, the command won't appear on the menu. Keep trying. The border really is there!

    The pointer changes toPointer shape - ready to link the pitcher shape.  The pitcher represents excess text that you want to "pour" from one box to the next.
    Tip Alternate method:  Click in the text box and from the Linking toolbar click Button - Create Link the Create Link button. 
  3. Move the pointer to Text Box 2 at the right. The pointer changes to Pointer shape - linking the pouring shape when your pointer is over a text box that is available for linking. You cannot link to a text box that already has text in it or that is already in the chain. You cannot link backwards, only forwards.
  4. Linking text boxesClick on Text Box 2 to link Text Boxes 1 and 2. Text that is entered into the first box will flow into the second, when there is no more room in the first. 

    Keyboard tip  Suppose you start to create a link but change your mind. How do you get your pointer back?? Press the ESC key.
  5. Right click on the border of Text Box 2, choose  Create Text Box Link  again. Click in Text Box 3, which is directly underneath Text Box 1.
  6. Repeat to link Text Box 3 to Text Box 4, which is directly under Text Box 2. Hmmm. The text boxes don't appear to have changed any at all. How can you tell if they are linked? The next section has some clues.

Problem: Is it linked?

Word has not yet made it easy to see whether or not a text box is linked, and if it is, to what. There are three ways to see if a text box is linked. None of these will tell you which text box is linked to which. <sigh>

Ways to see if a text box is linked:
  • The right click menu has different items for linked textboxes.
  • The Linking toolbar has different buttons grayed out depending on the linking status.
  • The pointer shape changes to Pointer shape - linking the pouring shape if the text box it is over can be linked. It won't if the box is already linked to this chain (or has text in it).
  1. Menu- popup for first text box in a chainFirst text box in a chain:
    Right click
    on the border of Text Box 1. A menu and a toolbar appear. Look at the linking choices on the popup menu. Clearly this box is already linked. Only a Next link is mentioned, so this box must be first in the chain. Logical thinking!

    TipIf you don't see any links choices in the popup menu and the Linking menu is not visible, your click missed! It is very easy to miss the border. If you click inside the box, the Linking toolbar will still pop up but the popup menu has text editing choices only. 
  2. Keyboard tip Press the ESC key to get out of the menu.
  3. Toolbar - LinkingLook at the new toolbar. 
    Icon: Word 97 Icon: Word 2000   Linking toolbar
    Icon: Word 2002Icon: Word 2003 Textbox toolbar.
    TipIf you do not see the toolbar, right click on another toolbar. The list of available toolbars appears. Click on Linking or Textbox.
    Icons are grayed out for actions that can not be done to this text box. If a Previous or Next box are colored, then the text box is linked. Logic again!
  4. Menu - popup for a text box in the middle of a chainMiddle text box in a chain:
    Right click on the border of Text Box 2. The popup menu is somewhat different. It lists a Next and a Previous Text Box. So, this one must be somewhere in the middle of the chain. The same choices are enabled on the Linking toolbar.

    Notice that you can only break the Forward link, not the one to the Previous text box.
  5. Menu - popup for last text box in a chainLast text box in a chain:
    Right click on the border of Text Box 4. Different again! Since there is no Next Text Box but there is a Previous one, this text box must be last in the chain. Another clue is that you can create a new text box link. The same choices show on the Linking toolbar.
  6. Unlinked text box: Draw a new text box (Text Box 5) somewhere on the page. While your new text box is selected, click Button - Create Link the Create Text Box Link button. Move your pointer over each of the other boxes. DO NOT CLICK YET. Can you tell whether you can link to any of them? Which ones? The pointer shape must change to Pointer shape - linking the pouring shape for you to link.
  7. Click in Text Box 3. No visible changes, but in the next section you will see that  something did change. A link was broken!

    Warning Breaking links: Until you put text into your text boxes, you can change the linking by just clicking again. The old link is broken without a warning, but nothing looks different! Once you have text in the text boxes, it's not so easy to break the chain accidentally.  

Problem: What is linked to what?

The easy way to tell which box is linked to which is to run the chain with the Next and Previous commands.

  1. Select Text Box 1.
  2. Click Button - Next Text Box the Next Text Box button on the Linking/Textbox toolbar. The next text box in the chain (Text Box 2) is selected. Cool!
  3. Repeat. Which Text Box is selected now? Did you expect box 3 or 4 to be selected? When you linked Text Box 5 to Text Box 3 in the previous section, you broke the link from Text Box 3 to Text Box 2. So what about Text Box 4?
  4. Select Text Box 3. The Linking toolbar shows both a Previous and a Next Text Box button! Click the Previous Text Box button. The selection moves to Text Box 5. Click the Next Text Box button. Back to box 3. Click it again. Your selection is now Box 4!

    WarningRemember what you link to what!

Join Two Chains

  1. Select Text Box 5 and delete it by pressing the DELETE key.
  2. Select Text Box 2 and link it to Text Box 3. The chains are joined.
  3. Check to see that you can go through the boxes in order with the Next Text Box button : 1 -2 -3 -4.
  4. Go back through the chain with the Previous Text Box command.

Vanishing Text in Text Boxes

  1. Click in Text Box 1.
  2. If necessary, on the toolbar, set the font size to 12 and the font to Times New Roman.
  3. 4 linked text boxes with overflowType the numbers  1  to  40 . one per line. Watch how the text flows through the linked text boxes.

    If you set your box heights correctly and the font size to 12, the last several numbers don't show anywhere. There is no warning in Word that there is not enough room for all of the text in the final text box. These lines still exist but are hidden below the visible lines in Text Box 4. If you enlarged the text box, they would display.

    Publishing programs like MS Publisher do have a symbol at the bottom of a text box that shows that there is overflow text hiding there.

    Warning Always check carefully that ALL the text did display and is not hiding out of view below the bottom of the last text box.

Break Forward Link

  1. 4 text boxes - Forward link broken to #4Right click on the border of Text Box 3 and choose  Break Forward Link  from the popup menu.

    The numbered lines disappears from Text Box 4 and overflow out the bottom of Text Box 3.

  2. Drag the bottom handle of Text Box 3 downward to verify that more numbers are hiding down there.

Create Folder in Save As

  1. Put in the header on the left your name, the date, and on the right type  Word Project 3 .
  2. Dialog- Save AsOn the menu select  File  |  Save As .
  3. Display the contents of your my docs folder on your Class disk.
  4. Create a new folder named word project3 using Button- New folder the New Folder button.
  5. Class disk  Save this document to your Class disk in the  word project3  folder as  textboxes.doc 
    Full disk How to handle a full disk
  6. Print icon Print.