Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. 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: Stopping Text from Jumping Around.

Stop Graphics and Text from Jumping Around

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 13, 2021)

Deborah had some problems with a drawing object (a block arrow) placed behind the text of a table with rows of fixed width. When Deborah would try to nudge the arrow into position, the text would jump around, even after setting the Wrapping Style for the object to Behind Text.

The first thing to check, of course, is that the wrapping style didn't somehow get inadvertently changed. Select the block arrow, display the Shape Format tab of the ribbon, click the down-arrow at the right of the Send Backward tool (in the Arrange group), then choose Send Behind Text. If this is the setting that was already made, then the next thing to check is where the object is anchored. Follow these steps if you are using Word 2010 or a later version:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon, then click Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Select the Object Anchors check box.
  5. Click on OK.
  6. In Print Layout view, select the shape (the block arrow). The object anchor for the shape should appear—it looks like an anchor.
  7. Click on the object anchor—not the actual block arrow—and move the anchor until it is located to the left of a paragraph that will remain constant in the document. A good choice would be to place it to the left of the paragraph just before the table or just after the table, depending on which one will be on the same page as the table.
  8. Right-click the object (the block arrow) and choose More Layout Options from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Layout dialog box.
  9. Make sure the Position tab is selected. (See Figure 2.)
  10. Figure 2. The Position tab of the Layout dialog box.

  11. Make sure the Move Object With Text check box is selected.
  12. Make sure the Lock Anchor check box is selected.
  13. Make sure the Allow Overlap check box is selected.
  14. Click on OK to close the Layout dialog box.

If you are using Word 2007, the steps are slightly different:

  1. Click the Office button and then click Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  2. Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
  3. Figure 3. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Select the Object Anchors check box.
  5. Click on OK.
  6. In Print Layout view, select the shape (the block arrow). The object anchor for the shape should appear—it looks like an anchor.
  7. Click on the object anchor—not the actual block arrow—and move the anchor until it is located to the left of a paragraph that will remain constant in the document. A good choice would be to place it to the left of the paragraph just before the table or just after the table, depending on which one will be on the same page as the table.
  8. Right-click the object (the block arrow) and choose Format AutoShape from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Format AutoShape dialog box.
  9. Make sure the Layout tab is selected. (See Figure 4.)
  10. Figure 4. The Layout tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box.

  11. Click Advanced. Word displays the Advanced Layout dialog box. (See Figure 5.)
  12. Figure 5. The Advanced Layout dialog box.

  13. Make sure the Move Object With Text check box is selected.
  14. Make sure the Lock Anchor check box is selected.
  15. Make sure the Allow Overlap check box is selected.
  16. Click OK to dismiss the Advanced Layout dialog box.
  17. Click on OK to close the Format AutoShape dialog box.

At this point you should still see the object anchor, but a little padlock appears next to it to indicate that it is locked. Now you should be able to adjust the positioning of the block arrow itself without your text jumping around.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10075) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Stopping Text from Jumping Around.

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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