I have been writing an “Issues and Discussion Paper” at work, for the last week. This has meant I have spent a lot of time working in Word, mainly the outline view.
In drafting the paper I needed to inject some text from some preceding document into the report. To achieve a “neat” presentation for the quoted text, I decided to use the Text Box object. Well, this is where the “fun” (fun only if you are a masochist) started.
Why I use the Outline View
The outline feature of Word is something which I find invaluable. The outline feature of work is invaluable for structuring reports (in my opinion). The ability to start out with a broad outline, refine it by adding new elements, within the document’s hierarchy is invaluable. The other part of the outline which I use frequently is the ability to shuffle part of the document, picking up the heading, and all of the body text below it.
Sometime soon I post on this blog how to get the outline hierarchical numbering working as well. This is not simple to get working, but if you know how does a very good job of showing the structure of the document.
The following is the Word ribbon with the Insert tab selected. The Text Box is then last option shown in the image, there are other things after it, so don’t think it is the last thing on the list.
“Fun” With the Text Box
- The text box does not show up in the outline view. Not a big problem, but indicative of the fact that these are “graphical” objects which are being “massaged” into the text of a Word document.
- These are graphical object. This means that they come with an anchor symbol (see the graphic). You may need to set the Word Options to see all of the characters (which will then show the anchor, and the paragraph mark)
I had the text boxes in my document “dancing” all over the place. In the print layout view, they could turn up on one page, or all on another page, or disappear altogether. This “behaviour” was exacerbated when I put more text into the document, above where the text boxes where (or should have been) located.
The way I managed to get the text boxes staying where I wanted them, rather than were they wander to wander to, was to insert page breaks into the document. This effectively “nailed” each text box, and the associated text onto the one page. This stopped the text boxes wandering off.
The “Page Break” is located on the Insert tab of the Word ribbon.
Text boxes in Word are useful. Having developed this “trick” for keeping them “tied down” to a page, I think that I will use them more often in the “stuff” I write.
I hope this saves someone else, the “aggravation” of having these little things going for a wander in your Word document.