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.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 24, 2017)
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.
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