Everything you need to know about text boxes in Publisher, Part 1: Using Drawing Tools

By February 22, 2016 October 16th, 2018 Business Productivity, Tech Tip

In this series of tips for Publisher, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about text boxes in Publisher! Text boxes are used to lay out all text on pages in Publisher, so if you’re putting together a document, you’ll be using them.

In this first installment, we’ll cover how to add a text box and modify it using the Drawing Tools on the Ribbon. (The Ribbon is the context-sensitive toolbar at the top of all Microsoft Office applications.)

First, let’s add a textbox!

  1. On the Home tab on the Ribbon, go to the Objects group, and click the Draw Text Box button.
  2. Click and drag your cursor on the Publisher page, and then release, to create a text box.
  3. Type something in your text box.

Now you can see your textbox and it’s time to change it!

Make sure your textbox is selected: you should see the selection lines around it, and on the Ribbon, you should have two context-sensitive tabs: Drawing Tools and Text Box Tools.

Text boxes in Publisher: Text Box Tools

Let’s go through the Drawing Tools

With your text box selected, click on Drawing Tools on the Ribbon.

With these tools, you can change the appearance of the “box” of your text box.

  • Change the text box background color: Under Shape Styles, select Shape Fill and select a color.
  • Add an outline color: Next to Shape Fill, select Shape Outline and select a color. Using the drop-down arrow next to Shape Outline, you can also adjust the thickness (“Weight”) of the outline or make it a dashed line (“Dashes”).
  • Apply a visual effect, like a shadow: Also under Shape Styles, click Shape Effects. The options under “Shadow” are commonly used to add a drop-shadow effect to make boxes “pop” off the page.
  • Change the shape of the text box: Want your text box to be something other than a “box”? Under the Insert Shapes group, click Change Shape and select the shape type you want. A circle, a diamond, a heart – whatever you need!

Here’s our text box with just these four changes made: a diamond text box with fill and outline colors and a drop shadow!

Text boxes in Publisher: Modifying a text box

If you have text on your Publisher page, and you want your text box to “interrupt” the rest of the text on the page, you can use other Drawing Tools to create a more complex layout.

Let’s start with this. We have two paragraphs of text we’ve added, but they are on top of our text box. We want the text box “on top” with the rest of the text flowing around it.

Text boxes in Publisher: Wrapping text around a text box

  • Send objects “backward” or “forward” to layer them properly: Select the text box that contains the paragraphs, then under the Arrange group on the Ribbon, click Send Backward.Text boxes in Publisher: Drawing Tools and aligning

    Looking better! Now we’ve got some text flow.

  • Change the flow of text around the text box: Click on the text box to select it, then go to the Wrap Text button on the Ribbon. You can select one of the options. The screenshot shows a “Square” text wrap, with the text box moved to the side.Text boxes in Publisher: Wrap Text

    If you are using the Square wrap, and you want to add more “padding” around the textbox, you can customize the text wrap distance. Go to Text Wrap and select More Layout Options…

    Text boxes in Publisher: More Layout Options


    A dialog box will pop up. At the bottom, under Distance from text, deselect “Automatic” and increase the padding on all sides, or just the sides you want. Click OK.

    Text boxes in Publisher: Distance from text

  • Change the size of the text box: And finally, under Drawing Tools, one of the most helpful but underused tool groups is Measurement, which lets you enter precise height and width dimensions to resize your text box. If you need to be accurate – you can enter your sizes in manually!

Using Drawing Tools, you can make dramatic, quick changes to your text box’s appearance, including color, shape, size, and text wrapping.

In our next installment of everything you need to know about text boxes in Publisher, we’ll be covering Text Box Options on the Ribbon!

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