How to Insert and Format a Text Box in Microsoft Word


If you want to get creative with your text or simply have more flexibility, consider adding a customizing a text box in Word.

If you want more flexibility with certain text in your Word document, why not use a text box? Since a text box is considered an object, you can move it wherever you like in your document. This is handy for placing text in areas you normally wouldn’t.

You can use a text box to call attention to something in your document, rotate snippets of text, or create a unique appearance. Microsoft Word also provides formatting options for text boxes that give them their own nifty style or useful function.

Here, we’ll show you how to add or draw a text box and then format it to your liking in Microsoft Word.

Insert or Draw a Text Box in Word

With Word on Windows, you can either insert a preformatted text box or draw one of your own. Either way, you can customize it afterward, so choose the best option for you.

Go to the spot in your document where you want the text box and select the Insert tab. Click the Text Box drop-down arrow and pick a Built-In style or Draw a Text Box.

Insert a text box in Word on Windows

If you’re using Word on Mac, go to the Insert tab, click the Text drop-down arrow, and then the Text Box arrow. You can then choose to draw a simple text box or one where the text inside is vertical.

Insert a text box in Word on Mac


To draw your text box on either platform, drag the crosshairs to create the size you want. You can resize the text box any time after you draw it too.

Draw a text box

When your text box appears, click inside to add your own words.

Format and Customize a Text Box in Word

Once you insert or draw your text box, select it and go to the Shape Format tab to view all of your formatting options. You’ll find the following features in Word on Windows, which may differ slightly in Word on Mac.

Shape Format tab in Word

Shape Styles

Choose a theme or preset style for your text box. These options include filling colors and various effects.

Themes and Presets

Or you can use the Shape Fill, Outline, and Effects options to create your own distinctive style. From gradients and patterns to dashed lines and scribbles, you have many terrific options for customizing the appearance of your text box.

Shape Effects

Note: Some options in the Shape Styles section may not be available if you select a preset text box.

WordArt Styles

Along with making the text box itself look snazzy, you can do the same with the text inside of it. Check out the Quick Styles in the WordArt Styles for premade options.

WordArt Quick Styles

Or use the Text Fill, Outline, and Effects to make the text really pop. You can do things like add a shadow and glow or warp the text, so it’s curvy and cool.

WordArt Effects

Text, Accessibility, Arrange, and Size

The remaining sections of the ribbon allow you to change the direction of the text inside the box, use text wrapping with other elements in your document, rotate the text box, and adjust its exact size. You can also use the Alt Text Accessibility option to describe the text box.

Shape Format tab text options

Edit Your Text Box

After you customize your text box, you can still edit it anytime. Just note that when you select the text box to make changes, it may appear without some of the elements or effects you’ve applied. This is to make text editing simpler.

Once you complete your edits and deselect the text box, it will return to normal with your customizations.

Edit a text box in Word

Add Text Anywhere, Any Way in Word

Text boxes in Microsoft Word let you place text anywhere in your document without worries of margins or other normal text limitations. And because you can completely format the text box almost any way you want, it can be both a fun and useful addition to your document.

If you use Google Docs and Microsoft Word, take a look at how to work with text boxes in Docs too!

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