Controlling Text Wrap in Word 2010


When you insert a graphics object of any sort into a Word document—pictures, clip art, charts, SmartArt—it is inserted inline with the text on the text layer.  Word treats it as just another character of text.  Big.  Funny looking.  But just another character.  When you drag it to a new location within your text it acts just like a character on that line, within that paragraph.  This is not the behavior that most people are looking for when inserting graphics.  What most folks want is a graphic that the text flows around, book or magazine style, and often then have special needs to display the text in very specific patterns near or around the art work.  That is what text wrap (often called ‘word wrap’) is all about.

Word has both a text layer and a graphics layer.  As indicated above, when a graphic is first inserted into a document it is placed on the text layer as just another character inline with the rest of the characters.  Text cannot wrap around the graphic until it is moved to the graphics layer.  (In fact, there are two graphics layers, one above and one beneath the text, but forget about this complication for now).  Your graphic is moved to the graphics layer when you choose a text wrap option other than inline.  All of the other options make it a ‘floating’ graphic, rather than an inline graphic, which means it can be moved anywhere you wish.

To apply another text wrap option select the graphic, then on the Picture Tools tab select the option you wish from among six presets: Square, Tight, Through, Top and Bottom, Behind Text or In Front of Text.

Text Wrap Menu Options

Selecting Behind Text will place your graphic on the layer behind the document text.  This is not often needed.  Nor is the In Front of Text choice, so let’s forget these for now.

The other four vary a bit, and their names are descriptive of their function.  Square and Tight are the same, except that Square keeps text outside the actual rectangular borders of the graphic.  Tight allows text into any transparent background areas within the graphic’s borders.  (All graphics are rectangular in shape, of course, but the existence of a transparent layer within the graphic’s borders gives the illusion of irregular shapes.

Through is another odd choice, and is little used, and in truth varies little from Tight.  Top and Bottom is simply a variation on Square with one of the More Layout Options… chosen.

So what about those More Layout Options?

Selecting that menu choice brings up the following dialog.

More Layout Options

The Wrap text and Distance from text options will only be available if you have already changed the Wrapping style from Inline to one of the other choices.

I have found the Left only and Right only choices useful when inserting an Excel chart, positioning it slightly to one side of a document, but not all the way to the margin, and flowing text down a single side of it.

I have only rarely used the Distance from text settings, favoring the other option that becomes available when a non-Inline option is chosen:  Edit Wrap Points.  Edit Wrap Points gives ultimate control to text wrap around a graphic.  Click it and a red border appears around your graphic.

Edit Wrap PointsPlace your cursor anywhere on the red border and drag to control text wrap with precision.

Precise Wrap Points

If Wrap Points are drug inside the field of the graphic, text flows there.  If far outside, text stays away.  This is the ultimate in control.  Remember, it is only available once you have chosen one of the non-Inline wrapping options.

These options are also available on the graphic’s context menu too.  Simply right-click the graphic, move your cursor down to Wrap text, and a sub-menu with the same choices will appear.

Contex tMenu

Summary:  To gain control over text wrap in your document, select your graphic and choose a non-Inline layout style to move it to the graphics layer where it can float; drag the graphic approximately where you want it; use the Layout Options to control major text flow control; if you need very fine tuning edit the Wrap Points.  Simple.

How to Create Re-usable Headers & Footers in Word

Custom headers and footers can increase the impact and clarity of your documents.  This article explains how to create fairly sophisticated headers and footers, containing art work, special Word formatting, and dynamic fields, and then to save them as Quick Parts, so that you can re-use them with ease.
Step 1 is to build the header and footers in the first place.  Since we do not want to use one of the pre-existing, pre-formatted Word headers or footers, simply double-click in the header area of your document to place the insertion point there.  You will see a Header identifier label appear along with a dashed blue line defining the Header border.  You will also see the Header & Footer Tools tab appear in the ribbon.

Header Area

The insertion point is on the document’s left margin.  If you are going to insert art work it can be done at any time, and does not necessarily have to be done as the first chore, even if you want it flush with the left margin.  Any header text is formatted independently from any header art work, which exists on its own layer.
For our example, let’s begin by entering some text, the name of our organization, in our case “Palomar College Academic Technology”.
Let’s say we want to enter today’s date at the far right of the document header.  Don’t just tab over and type the date.  We want it aligned precisely.  Click on the Header & Footer Tools tab, click on Insert Alignment Tab, select Right from the Alignment tab dialogbox, then click OK.  The cursor will jump to the right margin within the header area.

Insert Right Alignment Tab

Now on the Headers & Footers Tools Design tab click the drop-down under Quick Parts, click Field…, select Date as the field, and select the date format you wish to use, then click OK.

Insert Date Field

Today’s date will be inserted in your header.  When you save the document it will retain the date the document was first created unless you click on the date field and choose Update, at a later date.

Update Date

The header should be set apart from the text of your document and not detract from it.  Therefore, I suggest you format the text in your header with a font a couple of sizes smaller than the font size used for the main content in your document, and that you color the font a lighter shade than the color of your main content text.  In this example, I chose a grey 9 point italicized version of my main text font to serve as the header font.  The information is still very legible, but does not dominate the page or pull the eye away from the main text.
If you wish to add a piece of artwork, like a company logo, to your header, do so by activating the header area (double-click in it) and Picture from the Insert tab.  Locate and insert your picture.  Size it so that it will not be too dominant.  You may need to apply colorations or other artistic effects to tone down the dominance of really prominent logos (i.e., select the picture and choose Color Tools > Corrections, or Color Tools > Artistic Effects).
You will notice that when you insert your picture it is inserted in-line with the header text.  Select the picture, click on Picture Tools, click the drop-down under Wrap Text and choose any of the layouts other than In Line with Text.  The picture will then act as if it is free-floating on it’s own layer and you can drag it anywhere you wish.

Text Wrap Setting

If you want your art work to be flush with the left or right margin, don’t just drag it and guess at the alignment.  Use the Align tool on the Picture Tools tab.  Be sure Align to Margin is selected and the click on Align Left, Center, or Right, depending on what you want.

Align To Margin

 Finally, I like to set off headers and footers with a dividing line, so in my example I insert a carriage return after the date field, to add a second line to the header, and with the cursor on the second line I insert a Horizontal Line from the Home tab Paragraph group.

Insert Horizontal Line

To format the line, right-click it and choose Format Horizontal Line…  The resulting dialog box will allow you to control its width, height, color and alignment.

Horizontal Line Properties

Double click in the footer area in order to create a custom footer.  Just as my header contains two significant pieces of information, my organization name and the date, so I want my footer to contain the name of the document and the page number, left and right aligned respectively.  I can take advantage of Quick Part fields to enter both.
Since I like to use Word’s metadata features to tag my documents, I add a document title as one of the document properties, and then use the Quick Part field to add it to my footer.  Here’s how:
Click on the File tab, select Info, and on the far right of your screen you will see the Document Properties panel.  You may have to click Show All Properties to see the Title field.  Fill in the title field with the title you want to give to your document.  (I also use the title as the name of the file when I first save it).

Document Properties

Once you have added the title, go to the footer area, be sure you are left aligned, and click the Quick Parts drop-down, choose Field… and select DocProperty  and Title as the property to use in the footer.  (If you forget to create a title first you will get an error message where the text should be.  To fix it simply add the title and update the field).

Field DocProperties Title

Now insert an right alignment tab (i.e., with the footer active and the insertion point after the title text, select the Header & Footer Tools tab, Insert Alignment Tab, and choose Right—see above for the illustration).  Now insert a Page number, in the format you want, from the Header & Footer Tools Page Number Command.
Once again, the entire text in the footer can be selected and formatted in a font size and color that will not distract from the main text of the document and matching the header formatting.
Finally, I add an line above the footer and add another horizontal line, formatted as in the header, so that the text of each page is bracketed and clearly divided from the header and footer information.
Now here is the trick that makes all the work worth it.  You can re-use the custom headers and footers you create by selecting them (one at a time, of course) and choosing Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery under the Quick Part drop-down on the Header & Footer Tools tab.

Save Selection As Quick PartThey will be saved, with the names you give them, in what is called the Building Blocks Organizer.  After you have saved your document and are exiting Word, you will be asked if you want to save changes to Building Blocks.dotx.  You should answer Yes.  That will make the headers and footers you have created available to every Word document you create going forward.

Save Building Blocks

Here is the Scribd version of this post:

How to Buy Office 2010 from the FCCC

Palomar College pays for the rights for its faculty to work at home with certain Microsoft products.  This is a benefit that is often under-appreciated.   When I give workshops on Office 2010 products, I mention that faculty members can get it though the FCCC (the Foundation for California Community Colleges) and walk them through the steps.  I often see people make notes, but then we move on to other things.  I’ve got a feeling that those notes get lost in the grand rush of things, because I am often asked by workshop attendees later—often much later—how to obtain Office 2010 for $45, our price for Office 2010 Professional Plus (no less).  It is a great product and this price is unbelievable.  I have purchased it myself and can testify how easy it is to order with credit card online.  Here is how to do it.

Just click the following link to get started:

Then click the “Yes, I qualify” link on the resulting page:

Then the “Go” link imder “Work at home…or anywhere (even though this page does not mention Office 2010, you will still find it with the other FCCC Microsoft offerings):

You will land on a page asking you to either login–if you have purchased from FCCC before and have an existing account–or create a new account.  Remember, you must be a Palomar faculty or staff members to qualify.

After login, you will land on the product page.  Scroll all the way to the bottom and choose “Office Professional Plus 2010”.

You can make a credit card purchase online, and you will receive a UPS tracking number.  When I ordered my copy, I was promised delivery in 3 business days.  There is no shipping charge, but there is CA state tax.

Students cannot get this same great price, but they can get a very good price (89.95 for the same product) from:

Find and Replace with Caret Codes in Word 2010

The find and replace tool in Word 2010 is very powerful, and can do even more than you might imagine.  By using caret codes—the caret character (“^”: shift-6) followed by another character—you can search for Word formatting and special characters and replace them with other formatting or special characters.   That sounds complicated, but its not.  An example will help.

Often when you paste in text from a web site or improperly formatted document you get a series of lines terminated by a paragraph break with a paragraph break on a blank line between the lines of text.  Your goal is to eliminate the blank lines.  To begin, it looks like this:


To remove the blank lines caused by the alternating paragraph breaks, we can use Find and Replace to Find each instance of a double paragraph break and replace it with a single one, like this:


To get rid of the remaining paragraph breaks at the end of each line, we could Find them (Find what: ^p) and replace them with a space (simply type a space in the Replace with field).  [Note: you can Find and replace any ASCII / ANSI character by code by placing a caret before the code and then typing the code’s 3 or 4 digit number afterward.  ASCII AND ANSI codes can be found in Word by using the Insert Symbol dialog box.]

Find what: -c-

Replace with: ^0169

will replace each instance of -c- with the copyright character: ©.

Here is a table of the most useful caret codes.  I have included only those that can be used in both the “Find what” and Replace with” fields.  Some codes can only be used in the “Find what” field, and one code (^c = contents of the clipboard) can only be used in the “Replace with” field.  For a complete list of caret codes–and even more tricks you can perform with Find & Replace—read the Word 2010 help file on this subject (i.e., click the Help button—you know, the little blue question mark in the upper right of Word—and search on “Find and Replace”).  [Note that where letters are used they must be lower case.]

Useful Caret Codes


Perhaps an even more common instance of where these caret codes can come in handy is when we need to reformat a “table” that someone has sent us that was initially formatted with spaces.  Because fonts are variable width, spaces cannot be used to align things in a table, but many people do not know that or don’t care.  To accurately align such a “table” you can use Find and Replace to find each instance of white space (^w) and replace it with a tab character (^t),and then format the tab character as a decimal tab and paint that formatting on each row of the table.  Since this is a little complicated,I have made a video to illustrate the procedure.

Find/Replace Formatting in Word 2010

I sometimes wonder how people learn Word?  I suppose it is like all tech skills–a slow accretion process.  A couple of weeks ago I conducted a Word workshop and was surprised that no one there (it was called Word 1, so not that surprising) knew how to Find and Replace with Word.  I didn’t intend to show simple find and replace, but wanted to show something a little cooler.  That is, find words and replace formatting; or just find formatting.  You can do both in Word 2010.  I have created this video to show how.  (Hint: using the 720pHD setting and going full screen gives the best picture):

Theme Characteristics in PowerPoint 2010

Have you ever noticed that with a few of the built-in themes in PowerPoint 2010, and even more of the themes available at, some of the so-called color-coordinated colors don’t work very well, especially when placing a URL–and most especially with a visited URL–on a slide?  Here are a couple of examples with built-in themes:

Visited URL with TREK theme:

URL using Paper theme:

URL with Apothecary theme:

Other built-in themes such as “Concourse,” “Metro,” and “Perspective” have this same problem.  Sure, you can see the URL text (and what you see in my samples will depend an awful lot on a complex cascade of color variables that I don’t even want to mention at this point), but in some cases, you can just barely see it.  And since we are talking PowerPoint, can you see it in a darkened room at fifty feet?

The good news is it is easy to fix.  Just customize the theme’s relevant colors, then save the customized theme so that you can re-use it.

Quick review of themes:  All PowerPoint (and Word and Excel for that matter) documents are based on a theme.  (The default theme is “Office”).  A theme is a set of slide layouts with coordinated colors, matching background art,font sets and effects (i.e.,shadows, glow, reflections, 3D-edge effects, etc.).  Change your presentation’s theme and all of these elements change automatically.  The difference between the same presentation displayed using differing themes can be spectacular: tables, charts, SmartArt, shapes, and certain formatted objects all change like magic.  In PowerPoint, to apply different themes, just click on the Design tab and hover over the themes in the theme gallery.  You will see a live preview of the effect on the active slide.  Here is a small part of my theme gallery:

Note also that when you initially hover over one of the themes it’s name appears.  The name of the current theme will also appear in the lower left of your status bar.

To apply a different them, simply click it in the theme gallery and your entire presentation instantly changes.

Getting back to my basic problem, however, if one of the color-coordinated colors in the theme just doesn’t look good–or cannot even be seen in a large room–here is how to change it.

Click the drop-down on the Colors command next to the theme gallery.  (You will find this in different parts of the ribbon and the context tabs in Word and Excel).  Scroll down if necessary until you see the colors for the theme you are using (the active color set will be outlined in orange–also hard to see).  Now, at the bottom of the drop-down click “Create New Theme Colors…”

Click the drop-down next to the color you want to edit, select a new color, give the customized color set a memorable name, and click Save.

Now each time you start PowerPoint you modified color set will be available as one of the customizations on the Colors command drop-down.

But you probably will make more than a single, simple color change.  Once you start modifying things to taste, you usually make several modifications.  You can save one or many modifications into a new, custom theme that you can use on any future presentation.  To do so, simply click the “Save Current Theme…” choice (after you make your modifications, of course) at the bottom of the theme gallery.  Give the new theme a memorable name.  As long as you save it in the default themes folder–the one that will appear by default–it will appear in the Custom section of the theme gallery each time you start PowerPoint.

You will also find the theme available to you in Word and Excel on the Page Layout tab.