Microsoft Word: Use Shapes, colors, and text boxes with the drawing toolbar

Page content

Activate the drawing toolbar

You, too, can have cool shapes on your flyers. The first step is to activate the drawing toolbar. Click on the “View” menu. Hover down to where it says “Toolbars,” and pause. A list of the different toolbars will appear on the right. Hover across to this list, and down to where it says “Drawing.” Click when you are over “Drawing.” Your drawing toolbar will appear at the bottom of your Microsoft Word window.

Choose the shape you want

All the shapes are stored in a menu called “Autoshapes.” This menu is the second from the leftmost item on the drawing toolbar. Click on “Autoshapes.” A menu of the different types of shapes will appear above. It includes Lines, Connectors, Basic Shapes, Block Arrows, Flow Chart, Stars and Banners, Callouts, and More Autoshapes. Hover up to each category. As you pause over a category, the shapes in that category appear on another menu, on the right. To choose one of the shapes, hover over to it, pause, and click. The shape is now loaded onto your cursor, ready to be put on your flyer.

Position the shape on your flyer

Hold down the left click button and drag to the right and down. The autoshape that you pre-loaded onto your cursor will appear on your flyer. You can drag it around until it is as big as you want it.

If you let go too early, you can re-size your shape. Click on it. Small circles appear in the corners and at the top and bottom of your shape. Put your cursor over one of these circles until your cursor turns into two arrows. Then, hold down a left click and drag to re-size your shape.

If you started the shape in the wrong place you can move it. Click inside your shape. Your cursor turns into four arrows. Hold down a left click and drag the shape to where you want it on your flyer.

Type inside your shape

Click on the “Insert” menu at the top of your Microsoft Word window, just to the right of the “View” menu. Hover down twelve items or so until your cursor is over “Text Box.” You may need to click on some arrows at the bottom of the menu, if it is short. Click on “Text Box.” Your cursor is now loaded with the text box.

Go to your flyer and hold down the left click button while you drag to form the box. You can re-size or move your text box in the same manner as described above for the shape. Now, click inside the text box, and start typing. All the usual text editing features are available for text in a text box.

Color Your Shapes

You can color your text box, your shape, and the area outside your shape. You can make them all the same color, or all different colors. Click on the area that you wish to color. Now, find the paint bucket in the middle of your drawing toolbar. Click on the arrow to the right of the paint bucket. Colors appear that you can choose from. You can also choose effects. Choose a color by clicking on the little color box. You have loaded your cursor with color! Now, click on the area that you wish to color.

This post is part of the series: Microsoft Word: Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts

Twenty years ago, a Microsoft employee came to my workplace and gave exceptional training in Microsoft Word. I have picked up more since then. Here, at long last I have a place to share what I learned.

  1. Microsoft Word: Using Shapes on Flyers