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Jan's Working with Words

    Brochure: Link Text Boxes

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

In the illustration above, you see a chain of 4 linked text boxes. A text box is just an AutoShape that has text put into it. This chain starts with the purple rectangle. Can you tell the order of the boxes in the chain?

Icon: Mouse click Click the image to see the answer.

Icon: TipAny AutoShape can become a text box, but they are not ready to be linked right away.

WarningEmpty to start with: 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.


Version Differences

Word 2007 and Word 2010/2013 have some annoying differences when it comes to text boxes.

  • What is selected: Word 2007 makes it easy to see which is selected, the whole box or the inside for editing. Word 2010, 2013, and 2016 are similar but not exactly the same in showing when a text box is selected for editing.

  • Ribbon tab: Word 2007 opens the Text Box Tools ribbon tab when a text box is selected.
    Word 2010, 2013, and 2016 both use the Drawing Tools ribbon tab.
  • Link Commands: The context menu and Mini-Toolbar that appear when you right click on the border of a text box (a tricky thing to do!) is different between the versions. Word 2007 puts several commands about linked text boxes on the context menu but Word 2010, 2013, and 2016 do not. Those commands are in the very long list of 'Commands not on the ribbon'. If you find yourself using linked text boxes a lot, you will want to put some of those commands on the Quick Access toolbar or on a custom ribbon tab.


Icon Step-by-Step 

Step-by-Step: Create & Link Text Boxes

 Icon Step-by-Step

What you will learn: to create a new folder from the Save As dialog
to create a text box
to select a text box
to size a text box using the ribbon
to copy a text box
to link text boxes
to break a link
why text can vanish in a text box
to add a custom tab group to the ribbon
how to tell if a text box is linked

Start withIcon: Class storage device Icon- Word with blank document, a blank document open in Word

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 Folder in Save As

Sometimes you start to save your work and realize that you need to create a new folder for it. Not a problem! The Save As dialog will let you create a new folder.

  1. Put in the header on the left your name, the date, and on the right type  Word Project 3 .
  2. Click the Office button or the File tab and select Save As.
  3. Navigate, if necessary, to display the contents of your Class disk in the Save As dialog.
  4. Click the New Folder button to create a new folder.
  5. Name it word project3 .
  6. Open the new folder.

  7. Icon: Class storage device  Save this document to your Class disk in the word project3 folder as  textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx 

    Dialog: Save As - word project3 folder, textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx (Word 2016) 


Create a Text Box

Button: Text Box - gallery open (Word 2010)There are several ways to create a text box from the Insert tab.

  • Text Box button > choose a Built-In style
    The available styles are different in each version.
  • Text Box button > Draw Text Box > drag to create it (Easiest!)
  • Shape button > Text Box shape Text box shape > drag to create it
    (Uses the default fill and border colors for shapes.)
  • Icon: Word 2007 Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2007, 2010, 2016:
    Shape button > choose a shape and drag to create it > Right click on shape > Add Text

The easiest way is with the Shape button by choosing the Text Box shape Text box shape, which is a rectangle with an A and lines, representing paragraphs of text. Using this shape gives you a white background with black text.

If you want to use a standard pull-quote style, the Built-In styles make that easy.

  1. Button: Shapes > Text Box (Word 2010)On the Insert ribbon tab in the Illustrations tab group, click on the Shapes button.
    A gallery of AutoShapes appears.
  2. Click on the Text Box shape in the Basic Shapes section.
    (It may also be in the Recently Used section at the top.)

    The gallery closes and the mouse pointer changes to the Precision shape Pointer- Precision shape.

  3. Text Box being drawn - Precision shape for pointer (Word 2010)Drag in the upper left area of the blank document to create your text box. It should be about 2 inches square.
  4. Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx] 
     

    Text Box showing anchor (Word 2010)The anchor symbol Icon: Anchor Icon: Anchor stands in the margin beside the paragraph to which the text box is attached. You only see the anchor when the text box is selected. You can move the box around on the page without moving the anchor. If you move the anchor, the text box does not usually move. The text box moves when you move the paragraph to which it is anchored and stays in the same position relative to the text box.

    Icon: WarningWarning: Accidentally moving or deleting a text box
    If you select text and include the anchor by mistake, you will be selecting the text box, even if it is out of sight on the page. You can move or delete the text box without knowing that you've done so.


Selecting a Text Box

A text box has two different kinds of selection. Your actions apply to what is selected, of course.

  • Whole text box for formatting or moving
    How to select: Click the border.
    Border: Solid
    Formatting changes apply to the shape or to all text at once.
  • Contents of text box for editing.
    How to select: Click inside the text box or select part of the text.
    Border: Dashed
    Forrmatting changes apply to selected text only. You could select all of the text, of course.

If something did not work as you expected, check to see what was selected.

Icon: Word 2007 Word 2007 Text Box with solid border (Word 2007) Text Box with dashed border for editing (Word 2007) Text Box with text selected (Word 2007)
Icon: Word 2010 Word 2010 Text Box with solid border - whole box is selected (Word 2010) Text Box with dashed border for editing text (Word 2010) Text Box with some text inside selected (Word 2010)
Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016Word 2013. 2016 Text Box with solid border - whole box is selected (Word 2013) Text Box with dashed border for editing text (Word 2010) Text Box with some text inside selected (Word 2013)
Solid border =
Format whole box,
all text inside at once,
no cursor showing
Dashed border =
Enter text or edit;
cursor shows
Highlight text to edit just part

Icon: Word 2010 Word 2010 shows the dashes or the solid line only on the left and top borders. Harder to see!
Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2013 and 2016 show the dark solid line only at the left and top but show faint dashes all the way around. Really hard to see!

  1. Click on a blank area of your document to deselect 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.
    You have selected the whole text box. The border is now a solid line with handles.

    WarningDragging moves the text box. That's why the pointer has the Move shape. Click carefully!

  4. Click out of the box to unselect it.
  5. Move the mouse pointer over the inside of the text box.
    The pointer changes to the I-beam shape Pointer: I-beam , which is for editing text.
  6. Click inside the text box.

    The border now has dashes and the cursor is blinking on the text line. Simple ... when you know what is going on.

  7. Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx]

Size a Text Box

You can drag the handles, of course, to change the size of a text box or shape. But sometimes you want exact sizes. You can use the Size boxes on the ribbon.

  1. With the text box selected, if necessary, switch to:
    Icon: Word 2007 Word 2007: Text Box Tools: Format tab
    Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2010, 2013, 2016: Drawing Tools: Format tab
  2. Button: Size = 1 x 1 (Word 2010)Exact Size: At the far right end of the ribbon, set the height to 1" and the width to 1".
  3. Icon: Experiment Experiment: Format Text Box
    Add
    some text to the box. Try out various tools on the ribbon. Which apply to the box as a whole? Which affect just the text inside the box? Does it make a difference which kind of selection you have - dashed line or solid line?

    When you are ready to continue, undo all of your changes, especially including removing the text that you added.

  4.  Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx]

Copy a Text Box

  1. Text Box copied (Word 2010)Select the whole text box.
    Be sure you see a solid border.
  2. Copy it with the key combo CTRL + C.
  3. Click off the text box in a blank area of the document to unselect the text box.
  4. Paste with the key combo CTRL + V.
    A duplicate text box appears on top of the original and shows handles. It is offset a bit from the original, right and down usually.

    Text Box copied inside original text box (Word 2010)Icon: Trouble Text box pasted inside the original
    If the text box is selected for editing, your paste will go into the selected text box itself. This is a common mistake.
    Solution:
    Just undo, click elsewhere, and paste again.

    Icon: Trouble Text box pasted to middle of page
    You first pasted inside the text box and then your next attempt to paste a copy to the page shows up in the middle of the page.
    Solution: Drag the copy to the correct position. If you need more copies, select and copy again before pasting.

  5. 4 Text Boxes in 2 rows of 2 (Word 2010)Drag the new text box by its border to the right of the first one.
  6. Repeat the paste two more times and arrange 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 at this time which is which, but it will once they are linked.

    Important - The numbering of the text boxes in the illustration is just in the illustration. We cannot type these numbers into the text boxes and then link them! Only an empty text box can receive a link.

  7. Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx]

Link Text Boxes

You cannot link to a text box that already has text in it or that is already in a chain of linked text boxes. You cannot link backwards, only forwards in the chain. Be sure you removed any text that you put in while experimenting.

  1. Select Text Box #1, at the upper left.
  2.  In the Icon: Word 2007 Text Box Tools: Format tab or Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Drawing Tools: Format tab in the Text tab group, click the button Create Link Button: Create Link (Word 2010)
    The mouse pointer changes to one of two pitcher shapes:  a pouring pitcher Pointer: Create a link here (Word 2010) if you can link at this location; a standing pitcher Pointer: Ready to create a link but not here (Word 2010) if  you cannot link at this spot.  The pitcher represents excess text that you want to "pour" from one box to the next.
  3. Move the pointer to Text Box 2 at the right. 
    The pointer changes to Pointer shape - linking the pouring shape since this text box is available for linking.
  4. Linking to box #2 (Word 2010)Click 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. 

    TipKeyboard tip  Get out of linking mode: ESC key
    Suppose you start to create a link but change your mind or find that you don't have a text box available yet. How do you get your pointer back? Press the ESC key.

  5. Click on the border of Text Box 2, click the button Create Link Button: Create Link (Word 2010) again.
  6. Click in Text Box 3, which is directly underneath Text Box 1.
  7. Repeat to link Text Box 3 to Text Box 4, which is directly under Text Box 2.

    Did you see any changes?
    The only change is that the paragraph marks have vanished from boxes 2, 3, and 4. That's because they are linked to box 1 but there is not any text to flow into those boxes yet.

  8. Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx]

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 some ways to see if a text box is linked, depending on the version of Word. Nothing will tell you which text box is linked to which. <sigh> Desktop publishing programs like Microsoft Publisher show you clearly whether or not a text box is linked. But even in Publisher it can be hard to know which text boxes are linked to which.

Ways to see if a text box is linked:

  • Ribbon: The Break Link button Button: Break Link is active only when you have selected a text box which is linked but which is not the last link in the chain. You can only break a forward link.
    The button is on the ribbon tab Icon: Word 2007 Text Box Tools: Format or Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Drawing Tools: Format in the Text tab group.
  • Pointer Shape:  When you click the Create Link button, the pointer shape changes to the pitcher shape Pointer: Linking. When you hover over a text box that you can link to, it changes to the pouring shape Pointer shape - linking.  It won't change to this shape if the box is already linked or if it already has text in it.
  • Icon: Word 2007 Word 2007: Right Click Menu:  When you right click on the border of a text box, the context menu shows one or more commands:
    Create Text Box , Break Forward Link, Previous Text Box, Next Text Box. Which ones are showing depends on where the text box is in a chain of linked text boxes.
  • Commands Next Link and Previous Link: Next Link or Next Text Box changes the selection to the next text box in the chain. Previous Link or Previous Text Box changes the selection to the previous text box in the chain. These commands can be added to the Quick Access toolbar from the list of commands not found on the ribbon.

    In Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2010, 2013, and 2016, the commands can also be added to a custom tab group. When the selected text box is linked, one or both of these buttons will be active (not gray).

Icon: Experiment Experiment: Is it linked?

  1. Ribbon: Select each text box in turn and observe changes on the ribbon -
    Icon: Word 2007 Text Box Tools: Format tab or Icon: Word 2010 Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Drawing Tools: Format tab in the Text tab group

  2. Icon: Word 2007 Word 2007: Right Click Menu - Right click on the border of each text box and observe the difference in the commands that show. You might need to select the box first and then carefully right click on the border. If your right click is on the inside of the box, you get a different set of menu items.
  3. Quick Access Toolbar or Custom Tab Group:
    Add the commands Previous Text Box Button: Previous Text Box and Next Text Box Button: Next Text Box to the Quick Access toolbar.
    These commands are in the list 'Commands not on the ribbon'.

    Click on each text box in turn and observe which commands become active.

    When you are ready to continue, you can remove the commands from the Quick Access toolbar and/or the custom tab group, if you wish.

    Warning Breaking links:

    • No text in text boxes: Break Link command on any text box in the chain except the last one. The only visible change after breaking a link for an empty text is that a paragraph mark shows up again in the box.
    • With text in text boxes: Break links in reverse order. Text that does not fit is hidden but is not deleted.

Vanishing Text in Text Boxes

  1. Click in Text Box 1.
  2. If necessary, set the font size to 11 and the font to Calibri.
  3. Set the Space After to 6 pt.
  4. Four linked text boxes with too much text to fitType the number  1  and press the ENTER key to start a new paragraph. Continue typing numbers in order up in separate paragraphs, up to  15 . Watch how the text flows through the linked text boxes.

    Surprise! 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.

    Icon: Word 2013 Icon: Word 2016 Word 2013, 2016: Odd Cursor Behavior
    When you have a text box with text hidden at the bottom, if you use the down arrow key to move the cursor to the first hidden line, the cursor seems to hang up at the box border. But, if you press the down arrow key to move the cursor down another line, the cursor vanishes! Once you click out of the text boxes, the cursor no longer shows in the text box, of course.

    Publishing programs like MS Publisher put a symbol at the bottom of a text box when there is overflow text hiding there.

  5. Text Box 4 enlarged to show all textEnlarge Text Box 4 to 2.2" in height.
    All of the numbers show now.

    WarningHidden text:  Always check carefully that ALL the text is showing and is not hiding out of view below the bottom of the last text box. There is no automatic way to do this! You must know what you put into the text box(es).

  6. Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx]

Break Forward Link

  1. Three text boxes linked and enlarged to show all text.Only 3 text boxes links. Text hidden at bottom of Text Box 3.Select Text Box 3.
  2. Click the Break Link button on the ribbon.

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

  3. Drag the bottom handle of Text Box 3 downward to verify that more numbers are hiding down there.
  4.  Icon: Class storage device  Save.
      [textboxes-Lastname-Firstname.docx]

In the next lesson you will play around with formatting these boring rectangle text boxes.