Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He’s currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project. Read more.
Locking text boxes is a great way to protect specific content in your document from changing, either accidentally or intentionally. Here’s how to lock your text boxes in Word.
Locking Text Boxes in Word
Let’s say you’re working on a document that other people on the same network have access to and you want to lock your text boxes, so they don’t get edited by mistake.
To make this work, we’re going to need to use the tools provided in the Developer tab. The developer tab is hidden by default, so go ahead and enable the tab to appear on the Ribbon if you haven’t already.
Once you have the Developer tab enabled, go ahead and open up your document that has the text boxes you want to lock and switch to the “Developer” tab. Here, select “Restrict Editing” in the “Protect” section.
Note: The Restrict Editing option is also available on the Review tab, but only appears if you have enabled Developer tab.
A Restrict Editing pane appears on the right where you can restrict editing permissions for all, or certain parts, of the document. Here, check the box next to “Allow only this type of editing in the document” in the “Editing restrictions” section, then keep “No changes (Read only)” selected in the drop-down menu in the same section.
Next, you need to select all of the content in your document except for the text boxes you want to lock. The easiest way to do this is to hit Ctrl+A to select everything in the document and then hold the Ctrl key while clicking each checkbox, in turn, to remove them from the selection.
Once you’ve selected the content, check the box next to “Everyone” under “Exceptions.” This makes it so that everyone is still able to edit the selected content.
Finally, select “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” at the bottom of the “Restrict Editing” pane.
Once selected, you’ll be prompted to enter a password for additional protection. Type a password and then click “OK.”
You’ll notice all the content except for the text boxes is now highlighted, meaning your text boxes can no longer be edited while the highlighted content can.
To remove the protection restrictions on the document, click “Stop Protection” at the bottom of the “Restrict Editing” pane.
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Marshall Gunnell is a writer with experience in the data storage industry. He worked at Synology, and most recently as CMO and technical staff writer at StorageReview. He’s currently an API/Software Technical Writer at LINE Corporation in Tokyo, Japan, runs ITEnterpriser, a data-storage and cybersecurity-focused online media, and plays with development, with his RAID calculator being his first public project.
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If by “lock” you mean to lock the position so that your text box moves with the text, you do that with the Text Wrapping dialog box.
On the Position tab there are two settings at the bottom: Move object with text and Lock anchor.
With these two options selected, this is what happens with my text box when I add more text to the preceding paragraphs.
In this example, I unselect Move object with text, but leave Lock anchor selected.
See the difference when the paragraph is moved down. The text box remains locked where it was on the page.
If, on the other hand, you want to lock the box and the text inside of it you can use the Restrict Editing feature. On the Review tab click on Restrict Editing.
If the Restrict Editing option does not appear, you may have to enable the display of the Developer tab.
Once you click on Restrict Editing, the Restrict Editing pane will appear.
First, press Ctrl+A to select the entire document, even if there isn’t much text yet. Now while leaving the document selected, Ctrl+click on the text box to unselect it.
Then, check the number 2 box – Editing restrictions and make sure that no changes are enabled.
In the Exceptions section click on Everyone. This will allow everyone to make changes to the area you just selected within the body of the document.
Now click on Yes, Start Enforcing Protection.
You will be prompted for a password, which is optional. (If you assign one, make sure you remember it or you will never to able to edit this textbox again!) Once you click on OK for the password, the Restrict Formatting and Editing pane will show the following options. You can unselect Highlight the regions I can edit so that the yellow markings disappear.
In Microsoft Word, there is a feature you can use to protect parts of a document you wouldn’t want other users to make changes to. This is particularly useful when working on a piece with your colleagues.
This feature has been present in Office Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.
Keep reading to discover how to lock certain parts of a Word document.
How to Protect Specific Content in a Word Document?
When you protect text in a Word document, users view it as read-only. The other parts of the document, however, can be edited freely. You also have the option to allow all or specific users to edit selected parts of the document.
Follow these easy steps to restrict editing:
- Open the Word document you want to protect.
- Click on the REVIEW tab and then click on Restrict Editing. This option is in the Protect menu.
- A Restrict Editing pane opens on the right side of the document. Under Editing restrictions, tick the checkbox beside “Allow only this type of editing in the document”.
- Once you’ve ticked the checkbox, the drop-down menu underneath becomes active. See that No changes (Read only) is selected. If you want to allow comments or filling in forms, you can select the appropriate option from the menu. You’ll also notice the “Exceptions (optional)” option displayed below, but we’ll get back to that later.
- Select the parts of the document for which you’d want to allow editing by clicking and dragging the mouse/touchpad cursor across the text. Every other part of the document left unselected will become read-only. You can hold the Ctrl key and scroll up or down to other parts of the document and continue selecting.
- After selecting the text, go back to the Restrict Editing pane. Under Exceptions (optional), there are options you can choose from in the Groups list:
- Tick the “Everyone” check box to allow anyone who opens the document to edit the parts you selected.
- Click “More users” to enter the usernames of the particular individuals allowed to edit the selected parts of the document (note that this requires access to a central, network user directory). Each username should be separated with a semicolon. After entering the usernames, click OK and then tick the checkbox for those allowed editing.
- Under the Start enforcement section, click the Yes, Start Enforcing Protection button.
- A window will be displayed, prompting you to enter a password for document encryption. Without the password, the document is susceptible to malicious users. Enter your password and click OK. If you have allowed editing for specific users, select the User authentication option instead.
- The selected text is now in brackets and highlighted. This indicates the editable sections of the document.
In the right-hand pane, there is an option you can use to move from one editable section to another. Simply click on Find Next Region I Can Edit.
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To deactivate the restriction, click on Stop Protection at the bottom of the Restrict Editing pane.
How Do I Lock Text Boxes in Word?
To lock your text boxes, follow the procedure stipulated below:
- Open the Word document and click on the File tab > Options. In the left pane, click on Customise Ribbon and tick the Developer checkbox to activate the Developer tab. Click Ok.
- Click on the Review tab and follow steps 2, 3, and 4 as explained in the previous section of this article.
- As indicated in step 5 above, select all the text in the document to allow editing for other users. Do not select the text boxes you want to protect. However, if there are text boxes you want to allow editing for, hold the Ctrl key and select them as well.
- Follow steps 6, 7, and 8 from the previous section of this article.
- Click the Developer tab. The Design Mode button is disabled indicating that the text boxes cannot be edited. This shows that you have successfully locked them.
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Deborah had some problems with a drawing object (a block arrow) placed behind the text of a table with rows of fixed width. When Deborah would try to nudge the arrow into position, the text would jump around, even after setting the Wrapping Style for the object to Behind Text.
The first thing to check, of course, is that the wrapping style didn’t somehow get inadvertently changed. Select the block arrow, display the Shape Format tab of the ribbon, click the down-arrow at the right of the Send Backward tool (in the Arrange group), then choose Send Behind Text. If this is the setting that was already made, then the next thing to check is where the object is anchored. Follow these steps if you are using Word 2010 or a later version:
- Display the File tab of the ribbon, then click Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
- Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.
Figure 2. The Position tab of the Layout dialog box.
If you are using Word 2007, the steps are slightly different:
- Click the Office button and then click Word Options. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
- Click Display at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 3.)
Figure 3. The Display options of the Word Options dialog box.
Figure 4. The Layout tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box.
Figure 5. The Advanced Layout dialog box.
At this point you should still see the object anchor, but a little padlock appears next to it to indicate that it is locked. Now you should be able to adjust the positioning of the block arrow itself without your text jumping around.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10075) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Stopping Text from Jumping Around.
With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. Learn more about Allen.
Locking text boxes in a Word document lets you prevent others from tampering with or making inadvertent changes to these text-entry controls. By doing so, you promote error-free performance of any Visual Basic for Applications programs that rely on the text boxes. Locking text boxes also prevents changes that could make a document visually unfit for presentation. A simple way of locking text boxes is to use the Restrict Editing command, which allows you to single out text boxes for restricted editing.
Click the “File” tab and then click “Options.” Click “Customize Ribbon” in the left pane, select the “Developer” check box to indicate you want to show the Developer tab and then click “OK.” This tab has a button whose appearance makes it easy to verify the locked state of text boxes.
Open a Word document that has text boxes. Click the “Review” tab, then click the “Restrict Editing” button in the Protect group. Word displays a pane allowing you to manage editing permissions for specific parts of the document, including text boxes.
Under Editing Restrictions, select the “Allow Only This Type of Editing in the Document” check box. This confirms that you want to restrict access to at least some parts of the document. Click the drop-down list under Editing Restrictions to display a list of editing types to restrict and select “No Changes.”
Select all parts of the document except for the text boxes that you want to lock. Select the “Everyone” check box under Editing Restrictions in the Restrict Formatting and Editing pane to indicate that anyone can edit the selected areas.
Select just the text boxes. Select the check boxes under Editing Restrictions for those users whom you do not want to lock out of the text boxes. If you want to lock the text boxes for everyone, leave all user check boxes unchecked.
Click the “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection” button under Start Enforcement. Click the “Password” option in the dialog box that appears to specify a simple password protection scheme for the document. Type a password in the two text boxes provided. Click “OK” to lock the text boxes.
Click the “Developer” tab, then observe the Design Mode button in the Controls group. The button is disabled, indicating you can’t click it to enter design mode, which is the mode for editing text boxes. This indicates you successfully locked the text boxes.
Darrin Koltow wrote about computer software until graphics programs reawakened his lifelong passion of becoming a master designer and draftsman. He has now committed to acquiring the training for a position designing characters, creatures and environments for video games, movies and other entertainment media.
Recently, I’ve gotten a couple of inquiries about how to keep text boxes in Word from moving around as surrounding text is added and deleted.
The trick to making text boxes stay where you want them has to do with the text wrapping options. It’s essential to choose the correct option, because some of the choices allow text boxes to move and others anchor them in place.
An easy way to insert a text box is to click the Insert tab, navigate to the Text group (right of center), click the Text Box drop-down, click “Draw Text Box,” position the cursor, then click, drag, and release. (If the resulting text box isn’t the size you want, you can resize it by clicking the box and dragging any of the borders.)
The Text Box Tools Tab — Position Drop-Down
After you insert a text box, a context-sensitive Text Box Tools tab appears. Navigate to the Arrange group and click the “Position“ drop-down. You’ll see several built-in choices, one or more of which might work for you. Each choice consists of a position and a text wrapping option.
First, avoid the “In Line With Text” wrapping option. If you choose that one, the text box will move.
The other selections in the Position gallery all use “Square Text Wrapping.” With Square Text Wrapping, the text box won’t move; any text you add will appear above the box, below it, and/or on either side of the box (assuming the box doesn’t stretch all the way from the left margin to the right margin).
If you don’t want the text to appear at the sides of the box, you’ll need to choose “Top and Bottom” rather than “Square Text Wrapping.” With the “Top and Bottom” option applied, text will display above and below the box, but not at the sides. For instructions on how to apply “Top and Bottom” text wrapping, read on.
The existing options will position the text box in fixed areas, such as at the bottom of the page or the vertical center of the page. If one of those options works for you, click to apply it. (Doing so might move the text box to a different page; if that happens, simply move it to the page where you want it and make sure the text wrapping and position options are set the way you like.) That should accomplish what you want.
The Layout Dialog: The Position Tab
However, if none of the built-in positions is right for you, click the “More Layout Options” command at the bottom of the Position drop-down. When the Layout dialog opens, use the Position tab to set the horizontal and vertical position of the text box. You can choose among various options, including (to mention just a few) a horizontal position on the Left, Right, or Center relative to the page and a vertical position relative to the margin, page, paragraph, or line.
Note, as well, that the Position tab has additional choices at the bottom. The most important is “Lock anchor.” You can enable that option by clicking the checkbox. Be sure that the option above it, “Move object with text,” is not checked.
The Layout Dialog: The Text Wrapping Tab
While you have the Layout dialog open, click the Text Wrapping tab to view and select a different text wrapping option, such as “Top and Bottom.” Click the one you want, then be sure to click “OK” to save your settings and close out of the dialog.
Note that “Square,” “Tight,” “Through,” and “Top and Bottom” all leave the text box in place. As mentioned previously, “In Line with Text” lets the text box move as text is added or deleted, so avoid this option if you want the text box to remain stationary.
The “Behind Text” option puts the text box in a layer underneath the text, so that the text actually overlies any text within the box. “In Front of Text” does the opposite; the text box overlies and obscures the text in the document.
The Wrap Text Drop-Down
Note that you can apply any of these text wrapping options to an existing text box — and, better yet, see a preview of how each of them would look before making a choice — by clicking the “Wrap Text” drop-down in the Arrange group. Simply position the mouse pointer over any of the options, without clicking, to get a “Live Preview” of that effect. (The Position drop-down also provides a Live Preview, at least with respect to some of the position options.) When you find one that you like, left click it to apply it.
Finally, remember that the Text Box Tools tab is context-sensitive. That means it appears only when you insert or click a text box.
The position of text box in Word can be locked, but it is only relative to the text, that is, the text box does not move with it, but it can be moved with the mouse. The text box can also be rotated, you can choose to rotate 90 degrees, or set any degree of rotation. There are nine ways to wrap text in the text box and eight ways to align.
Multiple text boxes can be selected at once in Word, and there are two selection methods, one is to hold down the Shift key on your keyboard to select, and the other is to hold down the Ctrl key on the keyboard in the Selection Panel to select. But they can only select all text boxes on one page.
I. Adjust and lock Text Box position in Word
(I) Adjust the position of text box
1. Move the mouse to the border of the Text Box you want to select. After the mouse becomes a cross-hair symbol with four arrows, click the Text Box to select it. Word will automatically display the Format tab, click Position in the Arrange group, a drop-down menu will pop up, as shown in Figure 1:
2. The position of the text box is mainly divided into two categories, namely embedded text line and text wrapping. The latter is divided into nine types, namely: Position in Top Left with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Top Center with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Top Right with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Middle Left with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Middle Center with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Middle Right with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Bottom Left with Square Text Wrapping, Position in Bottom Center with Square Text Wrapping, and Position in Bottom Right with Square Text Wrapping. We choose the Position in Top Center with Square Text Wrapping in Figure 1.
3. If the above nine positions cannot meet the requirements, click More Layout Options to open the Layout window. Here you can set the position of the Text Box arbitrarily, for example, select Absolute position for Horizontal and Relative position for Vertical, and enter values ??respectively, as shown in Figure 2:
(II) Lock Text Box position in Word
To lock the Text Box is to specify that the Text Box does not move with the text in Word, that is, when you press Enter on your keyboard to move the text down, it is fixed at the original position; if you use the mouse, you can still move it. The method of locking the Text Box position is as follows:
Method 1: Move the mouse to the border of the Text Box you want to select. After the mouse becomes a cross-hair symbol with four arrows, click the Text Box to select it. At this time, there is a Layout Options icon in the upper right corner of the text box, click it, Select Fix position on page in the pop-up panel, position the cursor in front of the text on the left of Text Box, and press Enter repeatedly, the text moves down, and the Text Box does not move, indicating that it has been fixed. As shown in Figure 3:
Method 2: Move the mouse to any border of the Text Box, after the mouse becomes a cross-hair symbol with four arrows, click the Text Box to select it, select the Format tab, click Position in the Arrange group, and select More Layout Options from the pop-up menu, open the Layout window, click Move object with text to uncheck it, then click OK; position the cursor in front of the text on the left of Text Box, and press Enter repeatedly, the text moves down, but the Text Box does not move, indicating that it has been fixed. The demonstration is shown in Figure 4:
II. Wrap Text in Text Box in Word
1. Select the Text Box, click Wrap Text, the pop-up drop-down list box is shown in Figure 5:
2. It can be seen from the figure that there are eight kinds of Wrap Text. In fact, there are several kinds of similar effects, such as In Line with Text, Square, Tight and Through. The Through is chosen in the above figure. The effect of Behind Text and In front of Text is shown in Figure 6:
3. If the above Wrapping Text does not meet the requirements, click More Layout Options to open the Layout window, select the Text Wrapping tab. There is not only a wrapping method, but also you can set the wrapping text on that side and the precise distance from top, bottom, left, and right. For example, set the Top and Bottom under Distance from text to 0.1 inch, and Left and Right 0.2 inch. After clicking OK, the effect is shown in Figure 7:
4. It is worth noting that the left and right distance cannot be set too large, otherwise the Text Box will go to the next page.
III. How do I rotate a Text Box in Word
1. Select the Text Box you want to rotate select Format tab, click Rotate in the Arrange group. There are four rotation methods, namely: Rotate Right 90 degrees, Rotate Left 90 degrees, Flip Vertically and Flip Horizontally, select Rotate Right 90 degrees. The effect is shown in Figure 8:
2. If the above four rotation methods cannot meet the needs, click More Rotation Options, open the Layout window, and select the Size tab. Here you can set the Height, Width, Rotation and Scale of the Text Box. For example, set the rotation angle to 30 degrees. Because the width of the box is too large and the position is too left, move the position to the left, width and height set both to small. Otherwise, after the rotation, the angle is too large and it will go to the next page. The setting value and effect is shown in Figure 9:
IV. How to align Text Boxes in Word
1. Select the Text Box you want to align, click Align in the Arrange group, select Align Center in the pop-up menu. The demonstration is shown in Figure 10:
2. It can be seen from the figure that there are eight alignment methods, namely: Align Left, Align Center, Align Right, Align Top, Align Middle, Align Bottom, Distribute Horizontally and Distribute Vertically. There are sample small icons before each alignment, which can be used as reference.
3. There are two types of alignment: page alignment and margin alignment. Generally, you can keep the default.
V. Selection of multiple Text Boxes
If there are multiple Text Boxes on a page that need to be selected at the same time under certain circumstances, how should they be selected? It's actually very simple, just hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and click the Text Box one by one to select multiple. You can also select the Home tab, click Select in the upper right corner of the screen, select Selection Pane from the pop-up menu, open the Select panel, hold down Ctrl key on your keyboard, and click the Text Boxes to be selected one by one.
From the Ribbon, under the tab Insert, within the group Text, click the Text Box icon. You can view a gallery of built-in text boxes in a drop-down list. From the ribbon under the tab insert within the group text click the text box icon you can view a gallery of built in text boxes in a drop-down list
- Click to insert one of these into your document. Depending on the Text Wrapping property of the selected text box, it may sit on top of text, behind the text, in line with text, surrounded by text, etc.
- Now, to reveal the text wrapping property of the inserted text box, click the text box on the borders. Text Box Tools tab appears on the Ribbon.
- Click the Format tab under this. Under the Format tab, within the group Arrange, click the Text Wrapping icon. From the drop-down menu, you can view various text-wrapping styles and the one highlighted is the default style. You can change this property as required.
You can also create a new empty text box from the gallery drop-down. Click Draw Text Box from the bottom of the drop-down. The mouse pointer changes to a plus symbol and you can draw a text box.
Note: Text wrapping styles are: In Line with Text, Square, Tight, Behind Text, In Front of Text, Top and Bottom, and Through. All these style are self-explanatory.
Difference between Square and Tight
You may wonder about the difference between Square and Tight styles, as in both case text surrounds the box. Difference lies in the manner that text surrounds. With Square, text takes the shape of a square around the box (irrespective box shape). With Tight, surrounding text takes the shape of the box (e.g. star shaped box, trapezoid, hexagon, etc.)
- From the Ribbon, under the tab Insert, within the group Illustrations, click Shapes. From the gallery of Shapes, under Basic Shapes, click the Rectangle shape.
- The mouse pointer changes to a plus symbol and you can draw a rectangular shape in your document. What you can draw is a basic rectangular shape and you cannot enter text readily.
- Right-click the shape and from the right-click menu, select Add Text. The shape transforms to a text box and you can enter text.
- Change the text-wrapping property of the text boxes as explained above.
How to fix text boxes in one line
If you select the text wrapping style of a text box to In Line with Text, the text box gets fixed to that line. So, the text box will move only with the line.
Formatting text boxes
You can design a text box with fill color, gradient color, border color, shadow, 3D effects, and many more.
- Right-click on the borders of the text box and from the right-click menu, select Format Text Box. Format Text Box dialog box appears.
- From the Colors and Lines tab, apply fill color, change transparency of color, add border line color, change border line pattern, etc.
- From the Size tab, select height and width of the text box, lock aspect ratio,
- In the Layout tab, you can select the text wrapping type as discussed above. You can also specify height and width of the text box relative to the page, page margin, etc.
- In the Text Box tab, set the left, right, bottom, and top margins the text inside the text box. Also, set the vertical alignments: Top, Center, or Bottom.
Use built in text box styles
You can select the built in text box styles from the Text Box Styles group under Text Box Tools tab >> Format tab >> Tex Box Styles
Change direction of text inside text box
If you want the text inside text box to appear vertically (from top or bottom), under the Format tab, within group Text, click Text Direction.
Flow text from one box to another
Select a text box and from the Format tab, within group Text, click Create Link. A coffee cup icon appears. Then click the next text box (should be a empty text box) to which you want the text to flow from the first text box. Done. It links the first text box to the second. Want to break the link, right-click on the first text box, then from the right click menu, select Break Forward Link.
Cut, Copy, and Paste text boxes
Click on the borders of text box and then right-click. From the right-click menu, select Copy to copy text box, select Cut to delete text box, and select Paste to paste the check box at the point of insertion.
Changing the text box shape
Under Text Box Tools tab >> Format tab >> Tex Box Styles, click Change Shape. From the drop-down, select any of the shapes. Text box takes the selected shape.
Grouping text boxes
If you are using multiple text boxes in one place to create a design, flow chart, etc., you can group all to manage them easily, move them all together. To group, press CTRL and click on the borderlines of all text boxes one by one. Release the CTRL button and right-click on the selected text boxes. From the right-click menu, select Group under Grouping.
After creating a fillable form in Microsoft Word, you may want to lock it down to prevent users from accidentally editing content outside the fillable areas. Microsoft Word provides a function called Restrict Editing that lets you either lock down the form in its entirety or allow users to access only the fillable areas within the form.
Lock Down Form
Open the form that you need to lock down, and press “Ctrl-A” to select all content within the form. Click the “Developer” tab, and then click “Restrict Editing” on the Protect group; if you cannot see the “Developer” tab, click “File | Options | Customize Ribbon | Developer | OK.”
On the Restrict Editing pane that shows up, check “Allow Only This Type of Editing,” then click the pull-down menu under Editing Restrictions. Select “Filling in Forms” to prevent users from editing the content outside the fillable areas, or select “No changes (Read Only)” to lock down the entire form, including the ability to fill in anything. Click “Yes, Start Enforcing Protection,” then enter a password into both the “New Password” and “Reenter Password” boxes. Click “OK.”
Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.