When working with designs or documents in Microsoft Word, sometimes the default settings don’t quite fit your needs. Although as Virtual Assistants we are not all graphic designers, there will be times when we need to know the basics about editing images, text boxes and shapes in order to get the most professional finish.

So how do we alter the shape of our text boxes to fit around other elements on the page?

It’s all to do with ‘editing points’. This technique will work if you want to edit the shape of an autoshape, SmartArt or text boxes (as text boxes are basically just a type of shape). So You can edit the points of most shapes this way.

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Firstly, click on the text box or shape that you want to edit

You’ll then see the ‘Format drawing tools’ tab appear in the toolbar (if this tab isn’t visible, check that you have selected a text box or shape by left clicking on it)

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Select ‘Format‘ tab >Shapes group, click Edit Shape > Edit Points button

You’ll then see your shape highlighted with a red border and you will see various black points appear around the edge. If you hover over any of these points, you see a small cross hair (called a ‘vertex’) appear. These black points indicate where a curve ends, or where two lines join together.

If you left click and drag the points, you can move the borders of your shape to change its shape (have a go yourself and see!)

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And voila! Your shape has changed. If you fancy something move complex, you can experiment by moving your connectors in various directions to create lots of weird and wonderful shapes! Don’t forget that the undo button is your friend, and if you don’t like the shape you have created, you can always reset it back to normal by pressing CTRL+Z or clicking ‘Undo’

Next time we’ll look at getting more technical by creating your own shapes, curves and scribbles.

 

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If you prefer to use the keyboard rather than your mouse, below are a few handy Keyboard Shortuts for editing shapes (taken from Microsoft.com)

Editing shapes shortcuts

  • To open Edit Points mode, select the shape and then press ALT + J, E, E.
  • To add a point, click the shape outline while pressing CTRL.
  • To delete a point, click the point while pressing CTRL.
  • To have the point treated as a smooth point, press SHIFT while dragging either of the handles attached to the point. Once you stop dragging, the point will be changed to a smooth point. A smooth point joins two line segments of equal length.
  • To have the point treated as a straight point, press CTRL while dragging either of the handles attached to the point. Once you stop dragging the point will be changed to a straight point. A straight point joins two line segments of different lengths.
  • To have the point treated as a corner point, press ALT while dragging either of the handles attached to the point. Once you stop dragging the point will be changed to a corner point. A corner point joins two line segments with one segment going off in a different direction.
  • To cancel the change to the point and line segments, press ESC before releasing the mouse button.

 

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