Text Boxes in Microsoft Word: A Beginner’s Guide

You can place text boxes anywhere in a Microsoft Word document to make certain information more clear or emphasize it. You can also link text boxes to indicate relationships (ex. cause-and-effect) between pieces of data.

Here are the Word text box basics all beginners need to know.

Changing Borders

To change or add a text box border or borders, click on the text box, then go to the Drawing toolbar and click on Linebutton. Choose a color from the chart. If your preferred color isn’t there, go to More Line Colors for additional options. Press the Patterned Lines button to change the border style.

Change Background Color

To alter the background color and transparency, right-click on the text box. This will make the Colors and Lines tab appear. You can specify the border color, style, and weight here as well.

If you’re using one of the most recent Word versions, text box borders are added and colors changed by selecting the box and clicking on Format. This will bring up some controls on the left-hand side. You can use them to apply effects and adjust the transparency of the text box too.

Inserting a Text Box

Click on Insert, then Shapes, and drag the cursor to create the desired text box size and shape. There are all kinds of shapes – rectangles, circles, squares, triangles, arrows, ellipses, and more. Click and drag the box to where you want it to be.

Rotating a Text Box

To rotate the text, click the rotate icon at the top. Text is entered by right-clicking inside the box and starting to type right away. With older Office versions, the option “Add Text” will appear upon right-clicking, which you press and then start typing.

Text box contents can be formatted like any other text in Word. You can use styles, change fonts, apply paragraph formatting, and more.

To alter the text wrapping, change the text wrapping drawing canvas options by right-clicking on the canvas border and selecting Format Drawing Canvas. There are various options on the Layout tab to change text box layout. For instance, you can insert the box in line with the text or have the text wrap around the box.


Some types of formatting such as drop caps, page breaks, and columns cannot be used in text boxes. In addition, text boxes can’t contain footnotes, comments, or tables of content.