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: Selecting Text in Linked Text Boxes.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 5, 2020)
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 Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Selecting Text in Linked Text Boxes.
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!
Text boxes can be a great design element when laying out your documents. If you want those text boxes to have no borders ...Discover More
When creating a layout for your document, you might use text boxes to position text in specific places. If you want those ...Discover More
Need to search for various text boxes in your document? It's easy to do with the handy macro provided in this tip.Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
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.
Visit the WordTips channel on YouTube