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: Automatically Adjusting Height for Text Boxes.

Automatically Adjusting Height for Text Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 9, 2016)

2

If you use text boxes as a design element in your documents, you may want a way to create a text box that is a particular width but has no set height. This would allow the height of the text box to expand, based on the amount of text you place in it, without adjusting the width and messing up your page layout.

There are a couple of things you can try. First, you should try formatting the text box so it can expand. Follow these general steps.

  1. Place the text box in your document.
  2. Adjust the width of your text box to reflect what you need.
  3. Right-click the text box and choose Format Text Box (Word 2007) or Format Shape (Word 2010 and later versions) from the resulting Context menu. Word displays the Format Text Box dialog box (Word 2007), the Format Shape dialog box (Word 2010), or the Format Shape pane (Word 2013 and later versions).
  4. Make sure the Text Box tab is displayed. (In Format Shape pane in Word 2013 and Word 2016, click Shape Options, click the Layout & Properties icon, and then expand the Text Box category.) (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Text Box options of the Format Shape pane.

  6. Make sure the Resize AutoShape to Fit Text check box (Word 2007) or the Resize Shape to Fit Text check box (Word 2010 and later versions) is selected.
  7. Click OK.

When performing these steps, make sure you set the width of the text box (step 2) separate from specifying the "resize" setting (step 5). You'll note that the Size tab of the Format Text Box dialog box allows you to set the width of the text box. If you set the width and the check box at the same time, then some versions of Word take that as an indication that it is OK to resize the width of the text box as necessary. (Go figure—sounds goofy, but it seems to work.)

If you prefer, you can also convert the text box to a frame, since Word permits a frame to be formatted so the height is automatically adjusted. (How you convert text boxes to frames has been covered in other issues of WordTips.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12075) 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: Automatically Adjusting Height for Text Boxes.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Calculating Average Word Length

Word keeps track of many statistics about your documents. The problem, it seems, is getting exactly the statistics you need ...

Discover More

Calculating the Day of the Year

Need to know what day of the year a certain date is? You can figure it out easily using the formulas in this tip.

Discover More

What's with the Names?

Confused by names such as Docs, Sheets, Drive, and others? The confusion is understandable, and Google hasn't done a lot to ...

Discover More

Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Wrapping Text around a Graphic in a Text Box

Word allows you to wrap text around a graphic or around a text box, but it won't allow you to wrap text in a text box around ...

Discover More

Rounded Corners for a Text Box

Text boxes are great for positioning information the way you want it to appear in your page layout. Fortunately you aren't ...

Discover More

Finding an Invisible Text Box

Text boxes can be a great aid in designing the layout of your document. What do you do when you can't find a text box that ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 0 + 7?

2016-10-04 09:29:16

Jay

In Word 2010 when I move the text box after I've selected the "Resize shape to fit text" box, Word clears the selection and the text box no longer resizes.

Any solution?


2016-03-21 17:17:15

LH

In "Automatically Adjusting Height for Text Boxes" you state:
"How you convert text boxes to frames has been covered in other issues of WordTips."
I have been unable to locate this Tip.

Apart from that, my problem is that I have created an expandable box, per your instruction, but I'm also creating a fill-in form, and when I put a Content Control Rich Text in this box, I can't enter text in it. I have triple checked all obvious settings for restricting text. I can enter text when I "preview" (i.e. de-select Design Mode), but when I "start enforcement", and test the form as a normal user, this field can't be edited.


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.