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: Stop Graphics and Text from Jumping Around.

Stopping Text from Jumping Around

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 11, 2018)

Deborah had some problems with an AutoShape (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 AutoShape 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, then choose Format | AutoShape | Layout | Behind Text. If this is the setting that was already made, then the next thing to check is where the AutoShape is anchored. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the View tab is selected.
  3. Select the Object Anchors check box.
  4. Click on OK.
  5. In Print Layout view, select the AutoShape (the block arrow). The object anchor for the AutoShape should appear—it looks like an anchor.
  6. Click on the object anchor—not the actual block arrow—and move the anchor until it is located to the left of a paragraph that will remain constant in the document. A good choice would be to place it to the left of the paragraph just before the table or just after the table, depending on which one will be on the same page as the table.
  7. Choose the AutoShape option from the Format menu. Word displays the Format AutoShape dialog box.
  8. Make sure the Position tab is selected. If there is no Position tab in your version of Word, display the Layout tab, and then click on Advanced. Word displays the Advanced Layout dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  9. Figure 1. The Advanced Layout dialog box.

  10. Make sure the Move Object With Text check box is selected.
  11. Make sure the Lock Anchor check box is selected.
  12. Make sure the Allow Overlap check box is selected.
  13. If you are working in the Advanced Layout dialog box, click on OK to dismiss it.
  14. Click on OK to close the Format AutoShape 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 (1649) 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: Stop Graphics and Text from Jumping Around.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

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. ...

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