How to Format Text to Fit a Shape in Microsoft Word

By Edward Mercer

For brochures, posters, student handouts and other text documents that need extra visual appeal, Microsoft word 2013 lets you include shapes in a document and format text to fit inside the shape. Text-filled shapes act much like a text box in Word, allowing you to perform all of the basic formatting functions with the interior text, such as font and size changes, bolding and italicizing. Word also includes a number of formatting features specific to text inside a shape that help you ensure a good fit and a nice look.

Placing Text in a Shape

Step 1

Click on the "Insert" tab at the top of Word and then click on "Shapes" under the Illustrations group.

Step 2

Click on the shape you want, such as a square, circle or star.

Step 3

Click anywhere on the document to place the shape. Drag your mouse away from the point where you clicked and release as soon as you have achieved the desired size. To maintain the proportions of a shape like a circle or square, hold down the shift key as you drag the mouse away from the point.

Step 4

Right-click on the shape and select "Add Text."

Step 5

Type or paste your text into the shape.

Step 6

Click outside the shape to finalize the text.

Formatting Text in a Shape

Step 1

Click on the text inside the shape and highlight it to apply common formatting options like bolding, italicizing, underlining or font and size changes. Once the text is highlighted, select formatting options from the top ribbon.

Step 2

Click on the border of the shape to select all of the text and then select an alignment option, such as centered or left-aligned, to change the horizontal alignment of the text.

Step 3

Right-click on the shape border and select "Format Shape." Click on "Text Options" in the Format Shape pane that appears on the right and click on the text icon marked with a green A. Check the "Wrap Text in Shape" box to apply text wrapping at the borders of the shape. You can also insert numerical values in the following fields to set margins between your text and the border of the shape at the left, right, top and bottom limits.

Step 4

Click on "Resize Shape to Fit Text" in the text options in the Format Shape pane to resize the shape to fit your text as formatted.

Tips & Warnings

  • For extra flare, use the Word Art Styles options under the Format tab to add effects like shadows, colors and arched text inside the shape.