Software

Show off Word's amazing jumping text

Open the door to design flexibility by showing your students how to link text boxes in a Word document.


Last week, we introduced Word's text boxes—drawing objects that allow you to position text wherever you want on the page. But positioning is only one benefit of text boxes. Word also lets you link text boxes in a document. Then, when your typing exceeds the available space in the first text box, the text will automatically flow into the next linked box—even if the boxes are on different pages. For your students who have to set up newsletters and brochures, this capability will be invaluable. Let's run through a sample newsletter setup to demonstrate how the feature works.
For a look at the fundamentals of creating and formatting text boxes, check out"Desktop publishing in Word: Understanding text boxes ."
The scenario
To show your class how to create linked text boxes, let's assume that you’re setting up a four-page newsletter. Your layout calls for a lead article that begins on page one and jumps to page four.

First, a handy display trick
  1. After you open the document, choose Page Layout from the View menu.
  2. Choose Zoom from the View menu, click the Many Pages button, and specify four pages for the display, as shown in Figure A.

Setting a four-page display will make it easier to create the boxes.

  1. Click OK, and you’ll be able to see the first four pages of your document.

Box construction
  1. To create the text box that will hold the beginning of the article, click on the first page of your document and then click the Text Box button on the Drawing toolbar.
  2. Drag across the page to draw the box. (You can size and position it however you want.)
  3. To create the "jump" box, click on page four of your document and click the Text Box button again and draw another text box there. Figure B shows the two boxes in the newsletter.

We’ll link these text boxes so the article will flow from page one to page four.


Link setup
  1. Click on the first box to select it. When you do, Word should display the Text Box toolbar. (If you don’t see it, someone has manually closed it. Just right-click on any toolbar and choose Text Box to display it.)
  2. Click the Create Text Box Link button on the Text Box toolbar, and Word will change the mouse pointer to an upright pitcher.
  3. Position the upright pitcher pointer over the second text box, and the pointer will become a pouring pitcher.
  4. Click on the text box, and Word will link it to the first box.

Test drive
Now you can show your students that the link really does work. Simply click in the first text box and start typing. (You may want to increase your zoom percentage first.) When the text reaches the bottom of the text box, Word will flow it into your second text box.

Once you link the text boxes, text will automatically flow from one to the next.


Additional tricks
Once you've established a link and flowed some text from one box to the next, you can demo a few related techniques:
  • Click the Previous Text Box and Next Text Box buttons on the Text Box toolbar to navigate from box to box.
  • Click the Break Forward Link button on the Text Box toolbar to unlink a box from the next one.
  • Select a linked text box and delete it; Word will remove the box, flowing its text into the next linked text box. (You can pull down the bottom handle on the remaining text box to show that the text is in there.)
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About

Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.

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