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: Removing All Text Boxes In a Document.

Removing All Text Boxes In a Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2013)

If you do a lot of work with documents from other people, you may have a need to remove text boxes in those documents. If there are only one or two text boxes in the document, it is not that difficult to select them and delete them. What if there are 30, 40, or more text boxes, though? Deleting them individually can quickly get tedious.

One potential solution is a "brute force" method. Follow these steps:

  1. In your document, press Ctrl+A. The entire document is selected.
  2. Press Ctrl+C. The document is now on the Clipboard.
  3. Open a new, blank document.
  4. Make sure the Home tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  5. Click the down-arrow under the Paste tool (at the left side of the ribbon) and choose Paste Special. Word displays the Paste Special dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Paste Special dialog box.

  7. In the list of formats, choose Unformatted Text.
  8. Click on OK.

The document text, minus the text boxes, is now in the new document. The obvious drawback to this approach is that the other formatting of the original document is also lost, and you must reformat the entire document. (I told you this was a brute force method.)

If you want to get rid of only the text boxes, then the quickest solution is to use a macro. The following macro will quickly remove all text boxes in your document:

Sub RemoveTextBox1()
    Dim shp As Shape
    For Each shp In ActiveDocument.Shapes
        If shp.Type = msoTextBox Then shp.Delete
    Next shp
End Sub

You should realize that this macro removes all of the text boxes and their contents. In other words, if a text box is used for placement of text, then the text in that text box is deleted along with the text box itself.

If you prefer to transfer the text from the text boxes to the document, prior to deleting the text box, then a slight modification on the above macro will work:

Sub RemoveTextBox2()
    Dim shp As Shape
    Dim oRngAnchor As Range
    Dim sString As String

    For Each shp In ActiveDocument.Shapes
        If shp.Type = msoTextBox Then
            ' copy text to string, without last paragraph mark
            sString = Left(shp.TextFrame.TextRange.Text, _
              shp.TextFrame.TextRange.Characters.Count - 1)
            If Len(sString) > 0 Then
                ' set the range to insert the text
                Set oRngAnchor = shp.Anchor.Paragraphs(1).Range
                ' insert the textbox text before the range object
                oRngAnchor.InsertBefore _
                  "Textbox start << " & sString & " >> Textbox end"
            End If
            shp.delete
        End If
    Next shp
End Sub

When this macro is done, you can do a search for "Textbox start" and you will be at the beginning of text that used to be in the text boxes that are now gone from your document. You can then edit the text so that it appears as you want. Understand, as well, that anything "special" in the text—such as tables—is converted to regular text by the macro. This means that the macro may result in a fair amount of work that needs to be done in formatted the transferred text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9169) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Removing All Text Boxes In a Document.

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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