Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 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: Selecting Text in Linked Text Boxes.

Selecting Text in Linked Text Boxes

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 5, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Carolyn has a newsletter, created in Word, that uses some linked text boxes in the layout. Text flows successfully from one link text box to the others, just like it should. When she tries to edit the text in the text boxes, Carolyn cannot select text that begins in one text box and ends in a subsequent text box. Carolyn wonders if this is normal and if there is a way around this apparent limitation.

It appears that selecting text that flows through linked text boxes doesn't follow all the normal rules of selecting text in the body of your document. For instance, you can't place the insertion point within the text and then hold down the Shift key as you press the arrow keys to make your selection. (Well, you can do this if the entire selection is within the current text box, but not if you want to extend the selection into another text box.)

There are other ways to select the text, however. You can use Ctrl+A to select all of the text in the linked text boxes. You could then copy this text elsewhere in your document, make your edits, and then replace all the text in the linked text boxes with the edited text.

Another way to make your selection is to place your insertion point at the beginning of your desired selection, display the text box where the end of the selection is located, and then click the mouse at that point as you hold down the Shift key.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13194) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Selecting Text in Linked 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. ...

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