Dog in Word can teach new tricks in graphics

Ask Jim

Plugged In

January 25, 2007|By Jim Coates | Jim Coates,Chicago Tribune

I am having trouble with the Word Art tool in Microsoft Word that lets one create sophisticated lettering. When I create one of these elegant text graphics designs, there is a problem moving them. They get attached to the text surrounding them, and when you move the Word Art, all of that text follows with it.

I have been using word processing and layout software functions for a dozen-plus years and have never once wanted an inserted graphic element tied to the text. This is more than annoying.

- Judi Elliott

Helping you solve this problem delights me, because it also lets me tell other readers about the sweet things one can do with this Word Art tool that Microsoft has so successfully hidden inside Word.

With Word Art, even a klutz like me can create headlines and other special text that comes in zillions of colored fonts and can be made to swirl into a circle or wave like a flag or drop down the page instead of roll across. These elements can be tweaked in other ways, such as clicking a corner and stretching the text long and narrow or short and fat. This great but hidden tool lets those who find it turn out blow-your-socks-off text tricks.

To find Word Art, open Word and click on View and select Toolbars. There, you will find a long list of hidden features, including Word Art and my favorite, Word Count, that creates a little box at the top of the display that I can click to instantly get the current count and keep peace with editors.

As to your problem, start by creating a Word Art item and giving it a right-click. That brings up a set of options, including Format Word Art. Clicking that brings up a box that has tabs for several items, including one called Layout. Open Layout, and you get choices about what to do with the text when the graphic is moved, such as wrapping the text or putting the image to the left, right, etc. Select the icon with a dog pictured on a field of text that most closely matches your work. Now click on the Advanced button just below the list of dog icons. In the display this summons you will find a Picture Position tab. Open that tab and you'll find a check box to stop or start moving the text when the picture or Word Art is dragged by the mouse.

Jim Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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