Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects.

Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 7, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, and 2013


Don wrote with a problem related to how Word handles text boxes and drawing objects, by default. He wanted the ability to insert a text box or a drawing object in a Word document and always have the default wrapping style set to None. Whenever he currently inserts an object, the default wrapping style is set to Top & Bottom. Subsequently changing the wrapping style is tedious and time consuming. So the question Don posed was how to change the default settings.

Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a way to set defaults for text boxes and other shapes. All you need to do is set up a text box or shape the way you want it, and then right-click on it. One of the choices available from the resulting Context menu is Set as Default Text Box (or Set as Default Shape). Choose this option, and all subsequent text boxes or shapes you add to the document will share the same defaults.

The bad news is that while you can set defaults for text boxes and other shapes, not all the formatting settings are persistent defaults. In other words, they are defaults only for the current document. When you close the document, or start working on another document, the defaults no longer apply. The net result of this is that you may have to set the formatting specs for other shapes once per document.

I say "may have to" because some shape formatting settings seem to be saved from session to session and are persistent across documents. One of the persistent settings is the Wrapping setting. (This, thankfully, solves Don's problem.) Other settings, such as the distance between text and the edge of a text box or the characteristics of a line used for a Shape, are not persistent outside the current document.

A workaround for the spotty persistence is that you could save a document that contains a text box or other shape formatted just the way you want it. When you are ready to start a new document whose text boxes or other shapes you want to share the same characteristics, you could copy the shape from the special document and place it in the new document. The simple cut-and-paste operation saves you from the necessity of formatting even that first text box or shape. Instead, Word takes the cue from the text box or shape that you pasted, and all subsequent text boxes and shapes in the document will be formatted the same way.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8837) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is four minus 4?

2017-12-06 02:17:26

Stan Gooch

I have a Word 2016 macro to insert a text box with a single text element. I can get the text box to appear with no border and no background however what I haven't been able to find is the code to set the wrapping to "Behind Text". Is this possible? How?

2017-04-10 11:08:52

Mark Mahoney

I have Word 2016. This tip does not work for me.

The approach to text boxes in Word is a prime example of the maddening childishness of this program -- why does every instance of inserting a text box have to tout this as a way to "grab your reader's attention"? Why do I need to have a whole panel of different text box types to chose from every time I want to insert a text box as if I have never created a text box before. Can't it just insert my default text box without having to choose "simple text box" and make several adjustments then to what it leaves on the page? Can I change the normal template somehow?

Anyway, I see your instructions and the MS instructions but I still find no way to get the formatting or layout in later boxes to actually conform to this "default" text wrapping to follow what I have created in what I have designated a by default. Nor do the subsequent boxes mirror the "default", either in dimension or position of the later boxes. Font and border seem to be the only formatting that goes into the default. And actually at the context menu level of text wrapping, the choices for "Wrap text" have "Set as default layout" greyed out, though it suggests that "Default test box" and "Default layout" are separate things.

By the way, the "default" wrapping for me has always been "none," the opposite as for Don.

So the result is that what it takes one click in WordPerfect takes four clicks in Word, Just to get an empty text box on the screen with the correct wrapping I have used in every other text box. Then it takes mouse work to drag it to the dimensions and location that I want typically.


2017-03-24 08:26:23

Thomas W Martin

Is there a way to set the default for a new drawing canvass?

2016-01-21 06:45:31

Ken Endacott


This works if the coupon is required at the bottom of the first page of the document.

1. Double click in the footer of the first page. In the Design banner tick Different first page

2. Insert in the footer a textbox containing the coupon.

3. Set the textbox wrapping style to top and bottom

4. In More Layout Options, set the vertical position to absolute below page

5. Drag the textbox up into the main text page so that it is just inside the margin.

2016-01-20 13:40:08


Working in Word 10.This is an invoice form involving a table, a footer (or text box), and merge fields. As the table expands with invoice info, it then continues to the next page(s). That's all good. Directly after the tale are more merge fields indicating notes about the invoice information. This info will contain a little or a lot of info, depending on the invoice info in the table. In the footer is a coupon that the customer cuts off and returns. In the footer is the coupon the customer returns with payment.

The problem is that the next section page excludes the footer because only one coupon is needed. The problem is that when I delete the footer in the next section, if there is more than one page of tables with inv. info, it continues printing the coupon until the next section.

I also tried fix positioning a text box at the bottom of page 1. As inv. info is merged into the table and it expands, it works fine as long as it doesn't push to another page, at which point the text box then moves.

Is there any way around either of these two methods? Can you suggest anything to try? I hope this hasn't been confusing. Thanks.

2013-12-03 10:17:46

Charles Johnson

Is there a way perhaps to accomplish this with building blocks? We have 4 or 5 different types of graphic containers and it wrap methods used over and over and are desperate for a way to automate. It seems they have done this for text boxes and tables with the ability to create styles and text boxes. But what about graphics holders and combined text / graphics features we do so much?

2013-12-01 20:42:16


Thank you for the information about setting defaults for text wrapping. It was very helpful.

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