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If you want to highlight portions of text in your document, you can insert text boxes. But what you might not know is that you can link these boxes in Microsoft Word and have the text within them flow continuously.

Maybe you have a brochure that uses text boxes to call out features of a product or service. Or maybe you have a document and use text boxes for helpful tips or pull quotes. By linking the text boxes together, you can type in one text box and have the overflow of text move to the next one.

RELATED: How to Add Sideheads and Pull Quotes to Microsoft Word Documents

Link Text Boxes in Microsoft Word

You can use a preformatted text box or draw and format your own. Head to the Insert tab, click the Text Box drop-down arrow, and choose or draw your first text box. You can start typing your text in the first box or wait until you add and link the second one.

Insert or draw a text box in Word

Follow the same steps to insert your second text box. If you choose a preformatted text box, you’ll need to remove the sample text inside. A requirement for linking one text box to another is that the second text box must be empty. Just select all of the text in the preformatted box and press Delete.

Select text in a reformatted text box and delete it

Click to select your first text box. Then go to the Shape Format tab and click “Create Link” in the text section of the ribbon.

On the Shape Format tab, click Create Link

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You’ll see your cursor change to a pitcher. Move your pitcher to the second text box and click inside of it. This creates the link between the two.

Click inside the second text box

Now when you type within the first text box and reach the bottom of the shape, the text will continue inside the second text box automatically.

Linked text boxes in Word

You can continue to add text boxes and link those as well. So, if you want to add a third, select the second text box and create a link the same way to the third text box.

Link a third text box

You can move text boxes to different pages or rotate the boxes without it affecting the linked ones.

RELATED: How to Make Diagonal Text in Word

Resize and Format Linked Text Boxes

If you resize a text box by dragging a corner or edge, the text inside adjusts between the linked boxes. As you can see in the screenshot below, we made the first text box smaller, so the overflow of text automatically moved to the second text box.

Resize linked text boxes

If you format the font inside of a text box, it does not affect the text in the linked text box. This allows you to use italics, bold, or a different font color in the various boxes.

Format the font in a text box

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Keep in mind, however: if the size of a text box changes and the text flows into the linked box, it will bring with it the formatting you applied as shown below.

Formatted overflow of text

Break a Text Box Link

If you decide later you want to unlink the text boxes, this is easy to do. Select the first text box, go to the Shape Format tab, and click “Break Link” in the Text section of the ribbon. Follow the same process to unlink your remaining text boxes if necessary.

On the Shape Format tab, click Break Link

When you break the link, all of the text in the second text box appears in the first. You may need to resize the first text box to see it all.

Resize a text box to view all text

Linking text boxes in Microsoft Word is a good way to display a continuous short story, list of tips, set of instructions, or something similar without affecting the main part of your content. And to keep those boxes safe from editing, you can lock text boxes in Word as well.

Profile Photo for Sandy Writtenhouse Sandy Writtenhouse
With her B.S. in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She learned how technology can enrich both professional and personal lives by using the right tools. And, she has shared those suggestions and how-tos on many websites over time. With thousands of articles under her belt, Sandy strives to help others use technology to their advantage.
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