Making Resize to Fit Text the Default

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 17, 2021)

Steve routinely adds a good number of text boxes to his documents. Every time he does, he needs to display the Format Shape pane and choose the Resize Shape to Fit Text check box. Steve wonders if there is a way to make this setting the default. He can't imagine why anyone would not want to have text boxes automatically resize to fit whatever text they contain.

An easy way to handle this is to change how you actually create your text box. If you create an empty text box, Word automatically clears the Resize Shape to Fit Text check box and you will need to change it. (This is what Steve is seeing.) Instead, follow these simple steps:

  1. Type the text you want in your text box.
  2. Select the text you just typed.
  3. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  4. Click the Text Box tool. Word displays a few options.
  5. Choose the Draw Text Box option.

Since you had text selected (step 2), Word places a text box around the selected text and, in the Format Shape pane, you'll note that the Resize Shape to Fit Text check box is selected. Thus, even if you edit the text in the text box, the text box will resize to fit whatever text it contains.

This presents an interesting variation—if you don't know, immediately, what text you want in the text box, you could (in step 1) type a single word or even a single character. Then, when you decide what you want in the text box, you can edit the contents and, since the Resize Shape to Fit Text check box is selected, the text box resizes to accommodate your text.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13883) 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. ...


Understanding Footnotes and Endnotes

Footnotes and endnotes are often used in scholarly and formal writing as a way to provide additional information about a ...

Discover More

Hanging Indents in Wrapped Text

If you use hanging indents for some of your paragraphs, you may wonder why they don't look right when they wrap on the ...

Discover More

PivotTables for the Faint of Heart

PivotTables are a powerful tool for consolidating huge amounts of data. PivotTables for the Faint of Heart shows ...

Discover More

Create Custom Apps with VBA! Discover how to extend the capabilities of Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access) with VBA programming, using it for writing macros, automating Office applications, and creating custom applications. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2013 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Changing Orientation of a Text Box

Want to change how a text box is oriented on the page? You can't do it, but you can adjust the dimensions of the box ...

Discover More

Columns within Text Boxes

When creating a layout for your document, you might use text boxes to position text in specific places. If you want those ...

Discover More

Adding Sidebars

When designing your document, you may want to use sidebars like you see in magazines and some books. This tip explains ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


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 seven less than 7?

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.


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.