Text & Proofing

This chapter will show you how to use special tools and effects related to text in MS Word, and how to use the proofing tools to help shape a well-written document.

Text Boxes

In Microsoft Word, text is normally typed to fill the page from left to right, and from top to bottom. In advanced layouts, however, you might want a text box which holds a special message. You see these very often in magazines--separate rectangles with text, sometimes with borders or background colors, to show quotes or special text.

This page from a magazine shows three textboxes,
indicated by the red arrows.

In order to create one of these yourself, you should go to the Insert tab in the Ribbon, and look in the Text area:

When you click on the Text Box button, you get a menu with several choices:

Choose one of them (for example, the first one at top left), and it will appear in the text:

The text that appears in the box is placeholder text in a field; replace the text with what you want in the box.

If you select the box by clicking on one of its edges, you will note that a small box pops out to the right:

If you click on that box, you get a pop-up menu with Layout Options.

This box allows you to control the text wrapping.

Furthermore, you can style the text box to have background, border, and shadow effects. You should use the Shape Styles in the Ribbon. If you wish, you can use the Shape Fill, Shape Outline, and Shape Effects to create any style you wish. If you want to do things quickly, however, then click on the "More" button at the bottom right of the preset styles box, as shown by the red arrow below:

You will get a menu full option present shape styles.

You can even change the shape of the text box. Again, make sure you selected the text box by clicking the edge, then at the far left of the "Drawing Tools: Format" tab, you can see an "Edit Shape" button. Click on that, and on "Change Shape," and you get a menu of shapes you can use to replace the original box.

Objects & Text Wrap

MS Word has many similar points to PowerPoint. One of them is how Objects work. In both programs, objects each occupy a layer, and each layer must be above or below others. As in PowerPoint, objects appear in a Placeholder box. You insert them in the same way as PowerPoint.

However, Word is a different environment. A document in MS Word is intended to be filled with text. As a result, in MS Word, the idea of Text Wrapping is very important. This allows for the text of a document to flow around the edges of an object, without covering it or being covered by it.

In the images above, you will notice that the text does not wrap the way you usually want it.

For the shape, the object floats above the text; the picture, however, is inline with the text, expanding the line of text significantly.

You can fix the text wrap by clicking on the text wrap buttons which appears when you select the object. Usually, a square wrap is good for square objects, like the image:

However, if you have an irregular shape, the tight wrapping option might be better, depending on the shape.

Word Art

As in PowerPoint, go to the Insert tab and click on Word Art, then choose a style. The Word Art will form in a box which wraps above the text:

Type your text in the box:

Then use the Text Wrapping button to clear the text around it:

Equations & Symbols


Two buttons allow you to add special typing to your document:

The Equation tool is an easy way to add mathematical expressions to your document. Click on the top half of the Equation button, and you will get a filed in the typing area which is ready to fill with equations.

You will see a new Equation Tools Ribbon tab, which will give you options to create your own equations from scratch.

On the left side of the Equation Tools tab, you'll find a number of symbols commonly used in math:

To the right of that are several structure types. Click on a structure to see a menu of options.

Choose the structure that best serves your purpose.

You can put structures within structures, or else just type in the text, operators, or numbers that you need. Whatever you want, just select a dotted-line container, and then insert it.


The Symbol tool allows you to type characters not usually found via the keyboard. Click the button to see some recently used symbols:

If the symbol you need is not shown here, then just click "More Symbols" and you will get this dialog box:

To insert a symbol, either double-click it, or click it and then click on the "Insert" button.

Note the area to the lower left of that dialog box:

If you select a symbol in the dialog box, the Shortcut Key for that symbol--if one is set--will appear. If there is no shortcut, you can create one with either AutoCorrect or with the Shortcut Key button. For example, if you click the Shortcut Key button, you will see this dialog box:

Here, you can simply type a key combination to use for the symbol. In this case, I used the "Yen" sign and typed the "Alt+Y" keyboard shortcut combination.

MS Word told me that the "Alt+Y" combination was "currently unassigned" to any other command. That means the shortcut is not being used. If it is used by another command, you can still replace the shortcut to the other command with the one you are making now.

All you do is click the Assign button and the keyboard shortcut will be set.


In the Proofing area, you can access Spell check, Dictionaries, Thesauruses, Encyclopedias, Multilingual dictionaries/translations, and Word Count.

The Spell Check nd the word count are self-explanatory, and are duplicated in the status bar.

Clicking on the Thesaurus or Insight buttons will generate some interesting information. The Thesaurus is great for finding alternate words—either synonyms (so as to avoid repeating the same words) or slightly differen words with different nuances. The Insights will do a quick web search and show the results within the application.

Word 2016 has a dictionary, but strangely, there is no direct access. There used to be a "Research" button; now, in order to get to that location, you have to select a word, click on the translate button, and then select "Translate Selected Text.".

When you do so, you will see the Research pane. Where it says "Translation," you can click on the small arrow menu button on the right, and see the full list of Research resources, which include the Dictionary, Thesaurus (again), and translation services.

When used, the services provide a great deal of useful information.


You can create and review comments for people who view this document at a different time and place. The idea is similar to PowerPoint, but different in how it is displayed. The buttons look similar:

However, if you select some text and make a comment, it looks like this:

As you can see, the selected text is highlighted, and the comment is displayed in an extra margin on the right; the two are connected by a line.

If you print the page while the comments are visible in this way, the comments will appear in the print, and the taxt will shrink to allow for the extra content. It is possible to make the coments disappear; in the Tracking group, where you may see the words "Simple Markup," you can click on that menu and then select "No Markup."

Do this, and the comments will not print.

However, you may still want to see the comments; you can see them separately in a pane, one that can appear at the bottom or the left side of the application window. If you click on the button marked Reviewing Pane, they will appear. You can change the position by clicking on the menu arrow on the right of the Reviewing Pane button:

Note that clicking on the comment in the pane will highlight the location on the page.

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