Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Adding Sidebars.

Adding Sidebars

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 31, 2015)

4

In publishing, sidebars are used extensively in some page designs. You often see them in magazines and sometimes in books. A sidebar is generally a short, concise treatment of a subject related to the main text, but which is called out in a boxed format to the side of the main text. Sidebars are generally digressions from the main topic of the text, and if they were included in the main text they would distract from the information being conveyed.

In Word, the usual way of creating sidebars is to use a text box. To create a sidebar, follow these general steps:

  1. Switch to Print Layout view, if you are not already in that viewing mode.
  2. Display the page on which you want to place the sidebar.
  3. Decide whether you want the sidebar on the left or right side of the page.
  4. Add a text box that will contain the sidebar text.

Your sidebar has been placed, and you can type text in the box that defines the sidebar. You can also position and format the text box, using tips provided in other issues of WordTips, to appear exactly as you desire.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10668) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Adding Sidebars.

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 3 + 5?

2015-12-10 05:47:15

Ken Endacott

I disagree with Rich Adin's comments that text boxes are evil, many of his statements are just plain wrong or misleading.

Textboxes and tables are different animals. Sure they can do similar things but there are many differences.

In the case of sidebars, text boxes are the preferred option.

Holly, you can place textboxes in headers and footers and they will repeat on every page. You can even anchor the text box to a header or footer then offset it so that it is outside the header/footer but repeats on every page. Think watermarks or disclaimer notices.


2015-12-09 10:53:54

Holly

Can you use this text box like a header and footer are used?

I want this sidebar to be part of letterhead that I use often for letters. I don't want to have to print the letterhead and then print my letters on it - I'd like to do it all in one step.


2015-11-02 08:52:14

Steve Duham

Rich Adin, on his American Editor blog, wrote that text boxes are evil; use tables instead, he wrote (https://americaneditor.wordpress.com/2013/03/). I agree.


2015-10-31 12:27:23

JeanE Logan

Is there a way to use this sidebar tip or text boxes in order to create section/chapter tabs in a book that will: bleed (extend beyond the paper size) off the right side of the page; change background colour to black, font colour to white; change orientation to vertical; grow or shrink depending upon the length of the text; and also advance lower with each new section/chapter when printed?

I'm going to guess that Headers might be involved to set the location of each new tab.

If so, how does one go about creating a new Paper Size in order to select it again in the future when using the PC (not Mac) version of Word?


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