How to Use Text Boxes in Microsoft Word

Achieve more control and flexibility with your documents

Word document
Screenshot/Microsoft Word

When you type text in Microsoft Word, you have options for making it look a particular way on the page (such as changing the page margins), but those options are somewhat limited. Text boxes expand your formatting repertoire, offering additional control and flexibility for how your text appears. You can place a text box anywhere within a document and format it with different colors and fonts. This feature is especially helpful for creating a blockquote or a sidebar. Here's everything you need to know about creating and customizing text boxes in Word.

This article applies to Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word for Office 365.

Insert a Text Box in Word

Start by opening the document you want to add a text box to. Then follow the steps below.

  1. On the ribbon, select Insert.

    MS Word with Insert tab displayed
  2. In the Text group, select Text Box. Choose a text box template.

    MS Word with Text Box gallery displayed
  3. The new text box appears in the middle of your text, and the Shape Format tab is automatically selected.

    MS Word document with new text box
  4. Click and drag the box to the position you want. To resize the text box, click and drag the circles around the edge. To resize, click and drag the circular arrow at the top of the box.

    MS Word document with text box
  5. Place your cursor inside the text box and type the information you want to appear there.

    MS Word with text box full of text

Customize a Text Box

Once you've created your text box, you can customize it in a number of ways.

  1. To bring up options, place your cursor inside the box and right-click. Choose an option and follow the screen prompts from there to add a border, change the style, or adjust the way the box interacts with the other text on the page.

    Alternatively, use the controls on the Shape Format tab.

    MS Word with text box formatting menu displayed
  2. To go directly to the Layout Options menu, select the box, then select the Layout Options icon (it looks like a horseshoe) to the right of the box.

    MS Word with Layout Options menu displayed
  3. You can change the text, make more adjustments, or move the box to another location at any time. To delete a text box, select its border, then press Delete on your keyboard.