Work with text boxes and frames in compatibility mode

In Word 2011, you can convert text boxes into frames in any document that is in compatibility mode. Compatibility mode indicates that the document was created by using an earlier version of Word or was saved in an earlier file format.

Text boxes and frames are both containers for text that can be positioned on a page and sized. Unlike text boxes, frames are only found in documents that are saved in the Word 97-2004 Document (.doc) format. This format is compatible with earlier versions of Word. In frames, you can use comment, comment mark, or note reference mark. Text boxes, on the other hand, provide most of the advantages of frames and have additional advantages, such as the ability to flow text from one text box to another.

Use a text box when you want to do any of the following:

  • Make text flow from one part of a document to another part (which you can do by linking the text boxes).

  • Create a watermark that contains text that appears on the printed pages of a document.

  • Format the text container by using the options on the Drawing toolbar. You can apply different effects. These include shadows, border styles and colors, fills, and backgrounds.

  • Rotate or flip text.

  • Change the orientation of text.

  • Group your text containers and change the alignment or distribution of them as a group.

Use frames when your text or graphics contain the following:

  • comment, as indicated by comment mark.

  • Footnotes or endnotes, as indicated by note reference mark.

Do any of the following:

Convert a text box to a frame

Caution: When you convert a text box to a frame, some formatting that is applied to the text box (such as its size and location) might change.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.

  2. Select the text box.

  3. On the Format menu, click Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

  4. Click Convert to Frame.

Convert a linked text box to a frame

Caution: When you convert a text box to a frame, some formatting that is applied to the text box (such as its size and location) might change.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.

  2. Select the text box that is immediately before the text box that you want to convert to a frame.

  3. On the Format tab, under Text Box, click Break Link.

    Format tab, Text Box group [Compatibility Mode]

    The link between the text boxes breaks and the text flows into the selected text box.

  4. Select the text box that you want to convert to a frame.

  5. On the Format menu, click Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

  6. Click Convert to Frame.

Add a comment to a text box

Before you can add comments to a text box, you must convert it into a frame.

Caution: When you convert a text box to a frame, some formatting that is applied to the text box (such as its size and location) might change.

  1. On the View menu, click Print Layout.

  2. Click the text box that you want to add comments to.

  3. On the Format menu, click Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

  4. Click Convert to Frame.

    If Convert to Frame is unavailable

    If Convert to Frame is unavailable, the text box is linked to other text boxes and is part of a story. You must break the link to other text boxes before you can convert the text box to a frame.

    • Select the text box, and then on the Format tab, under Text Box, click Break Link. Format tab, Text Box group [Compatibility Mode]

  5. To add a comment to the text in the frame, on the Review tab, under Comments, click New, and then type a comment.

    Word Review tab, Comments group

Count words in a frame

  1. In the frame, select all the text that you want to count.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Word Count.

See also

Flow text from one area to another

Create a document for use with earlier versions of Word

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