The Changing Relationship of WordArt and Text Boxes

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 11, 2020)

Word has been providing the capabilities to use both text boxes and WordArt for quite some time. At first blush, it may seem that these two features are not really related to each other. Historically, that is the case, primarily because of the way that WordArt was handled. In older, menu versions of Word (up through Word 2003), WordArt was handled as a graphic object, external to Word itself, that could be easily inserted in the document.

Beginning in Word 2007, though, WordArt became more integrated into Word; it was no longer an external graphic object. Instead, it became an object similar to other objects (such as a text box) that was handled internally by Word. You could see this most clearly by looking at the formatting options available for a WordArt object and a text box. Both objects, when selected, displayed a Format tab on the ribbon. If you examined these tabs closely (which might necessitate screen captures so you could see them side-by-side), you'd see that they have the same formatting options. The difference is that WordArt objects started with different formatting defaults than did text boxes.

In Word 2010 and later versions the two objects actually share the same Shape Format tab. You can see this easily if you insert a WordArt object and a text box close to each other in your document. Click one of the objects and make sure the Shape Format tab of the ribbon is displayed. As you click the other object, you should see virtually no difference in the Format tab; they are the same. The only thing different is formatting settings such as size and color.

The benefit of this "merging" of how WordArt and text boxes are formatted within Word is that the two objects are almost interchangeable. You can easily add text within a text box and then format that text using WordArt styles. If you wish to insert a WordArt object that has simple text formatting requirements, you can do it using a text box, then applying the desired additional minor WordArt formatting options, rather than starting with the fancier text options provided by WordArt. This also means that you can apply WordArt text effects (use the Text Effects tool and then choose Transform) to modify the shape of the text in your text boxes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13090) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365.

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

Formatting an ASCII Table with Spaces

When you get a text file from a program other than Word, tabular information may be formatted with nothing but spaces in ...

Discover More

Understanding Underlines

Part of the formatting you can add to your text is underlining. That simple word (underlining) represents quite a few ...

Discover More

Getting a File Count

Want to know how many files you've got stored in Drive or in a folder or two? There is no built-in tool to get the info, ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects

Want to have objects such as text boxes and shapes always appear using some formatting you like? Here are some ideas on ...

Discover More

Default Picture Location

When you insert pictures into a document, the first folder that Word opens up is normally the My Pictures folder. You can ...

Discover More

Inserting Multiple Graphics in a Document

Word allows you to easily place graphics in a document. Placing one or two graphics is easy, but placing many graphics in ...

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 6Mpixels. 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 nine minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


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.