Software

Office challenge: How would you provide reusable content for Outlook messages?

This week, learn the solution to last week's Word challenge and test your Outlook skills on this week's new challenge.

Most email messages are unique, but sometimes you need to repeat all or some part of a message in several messages or all messages. If your users needed to reuse content in E-mail messages, what would you do? There are many methods for satisfying this need and it's Okay to offer a technique in Outlook 2007 or 2010 that earlier versions don't support.

Last week we asked…

How would you position text on top of a picture in Word? Dlarowe was the first to respond and suggested using a text box and Joaquim Amado Lopes chimed in next with some specific instructions. Jimking mentioned WordArt, or SmartArt in Word 2007 and 2010. Several of you offered additional tips, which is terrific!

Some of you wondered what I meant by on top of. I meant layered, where the text resides as a layer on top of the image, as shown below. Understandably, some of you interpreted on top of to mean caption form, where the text resides next to a border. Regardless of how you interpreted the question, all responses are helpful and valid.

The easiest way to create the layered image is to position a text box on top of the image, as follows:

  1. To insert the clip art, choose Picture from the Insert menu and then select Clip Art. In Word 2007 and 2010, choose Picture or Clip Art from the Illustrations group on the Insert tab.
  2. Use the Clip Art task pane to locate the right file. I entered smiley face in the Search For control and clicked Go.
  3. When you find the right image, double-click it.
  4. Next, position a text box on top of the picture. Open the Drawing toolbar if necessary. Click Text Box and then click the clip art image to insert a text box. In Word 2007 and 2010, click Text Box in the Text group on the Insert tab. Click Simple Text Box or some other item from the gallery.
  5. Enter the message.
  6. Format the text by changing the font, font color, and font size.
  7. Resize the text box and position it.
  8. Now you're ready to format the text box itself. Right-click the text box (not the clip art image) and choose Format Text Box from the resulting context menu.
  9. Click the Colors and Lines tab (if necessary).
  10. From the Color dropdown in the Fill section, choose No Fill.
  11. From the Color dropdown in the Line section, choose No Fill.
  12. Click OK.

The resulting text box is transparent, allowing the picture underneath to show through.

About Susan Harkins

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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