Inconsistent Availability of Drag and Drop Editing

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 5, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


5

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 Microsoft 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

Dealing with Run-On Sentences

A common task when editing documents is to break up run-on sentences. You can make this task a little easier by using the ...

Discover More

Merging to Individual Files

The mail-merge feature in Word is a fast, easy way to create form letters addressed to many different people. Sometimes, ...

Discover More

Summing Only the Largest Portion of a Range

Given a range of cells, you may at some time want to calculate the sum of only the largest values in that range. Here is ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Different Layout for a Portion of a Page

Got a document layout that requires a portion of the page to be in one layout and another portion to be in a different ...

Discover More

Pasted Text Looks Like Hollow Squares

When you paste something into your document, you expect it to at least be readable. If, instead of letters, you see small ...

Discover More

How Word Handles Abbreviations

Abbreviations appear all over the place in our society. If you want to understand how Word recognizes them (which it has ...

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}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) 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 five more than 6?

2021-11-01 12:07:57

Jon Mark Jurgensen

I can no longer drag and drop text to another location in Word 2007 on Windows 10. I confirmed that the 'Allow text to be Dragged and Dropped' option is checked. I do not have 'Record Macros' running, and there are no dialog boxes open. I'm starting with a default 'New' layout. When I highlight a sentence and hold down the LMB, I cannot drag it anywhere. I think I changed some setting in 'Options' a couple of weeks ago, but I don't remember what I changed. The dragging problem dates to that day. What setting might keep me from dragging with the LMB? Is there a way to reset all the options to the original default?


2021-02-01 12:56:41

Ati

hi when i drag and drop a text, this text is copy not move


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.

Videos
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.