How to Use Text Boxes in Microsoft Word

Achieve more control and flexibility with your documents

Screenshot of Microsoft Word menu

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 limited. Text boxes expand your formatting repertoire by 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.

Instructions in this article apply to Word for Microsoft 365, Word 2019, Word 2016, and Word 2013.

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.

    Microsoft Word with the Insert heading highlighted
  2. In the Text group, select Text Box, then choose a text box template.

    Text Boxes in Word
  3. The new text box appears in the middle of the 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 rotate the text box, click and drag the circular arrow at the top of the box.

    Resizing handles on a text box in Word
  5. Place the 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

After you create a text box, you can customize it in a number of ways.

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

    Alternatively, use the controls on the Shape Format tab.

    Text Box in Word with the Shape Format tools highlighted
  2. To go directly to the Layout Options menu, select the text box, then select the Layout Options icon (it looks like a horseshoe and is located to the right of the text box).

    Layout Options icon in Word
  3. 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 the keyboard.

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