Word XP: Text Boxes

Lesson 17: Text Boxes



By the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

  • Create a text box
  • Move and resize a text box

Creating a text box

Placing text inside of a text box helps focus the reader's eye on the page content. Newsletters, flyers, reports, announcements, school projects, and other types of publications often use Word's text box feature.

Text boxes can be formatted with shadings, color, borders, and graphics, making for an impressive display of your Word skills.

To create a text box:

  • Click Insert on the menu bar.
  • Select Text Box from the menu list.
  • The mouse pointer becomes a crosshair crosshair .
  • Place your insertion point where you want your text box.
  • Left-click and drag the text box until it is the appropriate size. Release the left mouse button when ready.
  • The text box will by default contain a white background color and a thin black border.

Text Box

To insert text into a text box:

  • Click once inside the text box.
  • The box is selected, and a blinking insertion point appears inside the box.
  • Begin typing.
  • Format text—change the font, font size, style, etc.—in the usual manner. Remember to select text first.

Moving and resizing text boxes

To resize a text box:

  • Click once on one of the box's borders. The box is now highlighted.

Highlighted Text Box

  • Sizing handles (small circles) appear. Hover the mouse pointer over any of the sizing handles until it turns into a diagonally pointing arrow.

Text Box Sizing Handles

  • Click and drag the sizing handle until the box is the desired size.

To move a text box:

  • Click once on the text box's border.
  • Hover your mouse pointer over the border until it becomes a crosshair with arrows.
  • Using this crosshair, click and drag the box until it is in the desired location.

Moving a Text Box

The Format Text Box dialog box

As mentioned earlier, the default for the text box in Word is a white background with a thin black border. Using the Format Text Box dialog box, you can choose different fill colors and lines, size, layout, and text box.

Format Text Dialog Box

To use the Format Text Box dialog box:

  • Double-click a text box border. The Format Text Box dialog box appears.


  • Right-click the text box border and select Format Text Box. The Format Text Box dialog box appears.

To access the text box feature from the Drawing toolbar:

  • Click View on the menu bar.
  • Select Toolbar and then Drawing from the cascading menu. The Drawing toolbar appears at the bottom of your document.
  • Click the text box button Text Box Button. Don't confuse this button with the rectangle button. You cannot insert text using the rectangle button.

Drawing Tool Bar

  • The Format Text Box dialog box offers you several tabs to choose from:
    • Color and Lines: To fill a text box with color and define border colors, styles, and weight
    • Size: To define a specific size
    • Layout: To use text wrapping and alignment
    • Text Box: To set internal margins


  • Open a new document in Word.
  • Practice inserting and formatting text boxes.
  • Try to create text boxes that look similar to the ones displayed below; create your own as well.
  • Practice using different font styles and sizes within the text boxes you create.

Examples of Boxes