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Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects.

Don wrote with a problem related to how Word handles text boxes and drawing objects, by default. He wanted the ability to insert a text box or a drawing object in a Word document and always have the default wrapping style set to None. Whenever he currently inserts an object, the default wrapping style is set to Top & Bottom. Subsequently changing the wrapping style is tedious and time consuming. So the question Don posed was how to change the default settings.

Well, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a way to set defaults, at least for AutoShapes (which includes text boxes). All you need to do is set up an AutoShape (text box) the way you want it, and then right-click on it. One of the choices available from the resulting Context menu is Set AutoShape Defaults. Choose this option, and all subsequent AutoShapes you add to the document will share the same defaults.

The bad news is that while you can set defaults for AutoShapes and text boxes, not all the formatting settings are persistent defaults. In other words, they are defaults only for the current document. When you close the document, or start working on another document, the defaults no longer apply. The net result of this is that you may have to set the formatting specs for your AutoShapes once per document.

I say "may have to" because some AutoShape formatting settings seem to be saved from session to session, and are persistent across documents. One of the persistent settings is the Wrapping setting. (This, thankfully, solves Don's problem.) Other settings, such as the distance between text and the edge of a text box or the characteristics of a line used for an AutoShape, are not persistent outside the current document.

A workaround for the spotty persistence is that you could save a document that contains a text box formatted just the way you want it, in a document in which you used the Set AutoShape Defaults option. When you are ready to start a new document whose text boxes you want to share the same characteristics, you could copy the AutoShape from the special document and place it in the new document. The simple cut-and-paste operation saves you from the necessity of formatting even that first text box or AutoShape. Instead, Word takes the cue from the text box or AutoShape that you pasted, and all subsequent text boxes and AutoShapes in the document will be formatted the same way.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1485) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Setting the Wrapping Default for Objects.

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