Word survival tricks: Wrapping text around a table

Your students will get a little extra mileage from your training if you throw in one or two power tips—like this Word 97 text-wrapping technique.

Typical Word training—even at an advanced level—can't begin to cover all the specialized techniques and features your students will need in the trenches. But if you can teach them even one or two practical, less-intuitive tricks, they'll be ahead of the game.

These lessons don't have to be overly sophisticated or time consuming. They just need to be “real world.” For example, let's say your Word 97 students have to create a quarterly report that includes a number of Word tables. To enhance the layout and conserve space, it would be handy to wrap the report text around the tables (a feature that's built into Word 2000). But since tables don't behave like graphics, the trick for wrapping text around them isn't immediately apparent. Here's a quick-look at a workaround for this Word 97 limitation.

The technique
To demo this trick, you need to start with a page of text that includes a sample table, such as the one in Figure A.

Figure A
We'll use a trick to force the text in this document to wrap around this table.

  1. Click in the table and choose Select Table from the Table menu.
  2. Click the Cut button on the Standard toolbar to place the table on the Clipboard.
  3. Choose Text Box from the Insert menu. Word will change the pointer to cross-hairs. Simply drag on the page to create a box that’s roughly the size of your table.
  4. Click inside the text box and click the Paste button.
  5. You can drag a handle on the text box if you need to fine-tune its size to accommodate your table.
  6. To create the wrap, select the text box, choose Text Box from the Format menu, and click the Wrapping tab. Under Wrapping Style, select the Tight option, as shown in Figure B, and then click OK.
  7. Once you’ve set the text box for wrapping, you can click on the box and drag it to a spot that looks good on the page, as we've done in Figure C.

Figure B
To apply wrapping, select the Tight option in the Wrapping tab.

Figure C
After you paste the table into your text box and turn on the wrapping feature, you can position it wherever you want.

Do you have some high-octane techniques that give your classes a little added value? Share your thoughts with other trainers by posting a comment below or send us an e-mail message .

About Jody Gilbert

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 features editor for Tech Pro Research.

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