Inconsistent Availability of Drag and Drop Editing

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 9, 2019)

3

As a freelance academic editor, Norman works with documents from many (usually unknown) earlier versions of Word. In some it is not possible to drag and drop text; he has to, instead, use Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V to move it. Norman would be interested to know what underlying property in the document causes this inconsistent behavior.

The first thing to do is to check to see if drag-and-drop capability is turned on in the document. You can do that by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the dialog box click Advanced. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Advanced options of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Make sure the check box beside the Allow Text to Be Dragged and Dropped option is selected. (The option is in the Editing section.)
  5. Click OK to close the dialog box.

The reason to check this out is that it is unclear from Microsoft's documentation whether this drag-and-drop setting is stored with the document or with the system on which the document is opened. If it is the former, then it would explain Norman's experience.

If drag-and-drop editing is turned on and the problem persists, it could actually be by design. You see, the ability to drag and drop text is dependent on the state in which Word is working at the time. Specifically, it won't work if there are dialog boxes open on the screen. For instance, if you have the Find and Replace dialog box open or the Cross-Reference dialog box open, then you cannot drag and drop. You also cannot use drag-and-drop editing while the macro recorder is running.

The solution in this case is to simply turn off the macro recorder and make sure that any open dialog boxes are closed before you try to drag and drop.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13618) 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

Reducing File Size

As you work with a workbook (particularly one that contains macros) you may notice that the workbook size can become ...

Discover More

Importing Multiple Files to a Single Workbook

If you use Excel to work with data exported from another program, you might be interested in a way to import a large ...

Discover More

Using the Control Panel to Remove Programs

Removing programs that you no longer need can help to free up system resources and keep your system clean and running ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Single-Character Fractions

Some fractions Word automatically converts to single characters, some it doesn't. Here's why that happens and what you ...

Discover More

An Easy Way to Count Items

Need to quickly count a group of items in a document? Here's a drop-dead easy way to get that count.

Discover More

Adding Hyphens to Phrases

Editing text to turn regular words into hyphenated phrases can be a real bother. The chore can become a breeze if you ...

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 seven minus 4?

2021-01-14 21:04:42

Rob

Thank you. I closed the Cross Reference dialogue, I was then able to select, drag and drop text.


2021-01-11 09:51:13

Andrew

>You also cannot use drag-and-drop editing while the macro recorder is running.

in my case (Word 365) drag and drop works fine while the macro recorder is running, but the action (neither the selection nor the drag and drop) is goes silently unrecorded.

Andy.


2021-01-08 09:00:17

Carina Anderson

Thank you!!! I couldn't figure out why my drag and drop quit working. I had the find and replace box open.


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.