Make Decorative Text: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

You're about to start your first novel -- "Once upon a time..."

Those beginning words just beg to have fancy lettering to evoke the feeling of your story don't they? Word has two features that let you create interesting lettering that goes beyond just changing the font and size. Those features are WordArt and Drop Caps.

WordArt is an element of Word that allows you to define the shape, fill and text of decorative text -- everything from rainbow-colored and shaped words to the gleam of chrome on 3-D block letters. Many predefined effects are available for you to choose from, but you can customize them any way you like.

Decorative text can be just for fun or functional. Whether beginning the great American novel or paragraphs in a club newsletter, use drop caps to make the initial letter contract with the rest of the text.

The shape and color of the letters are a big part of the message, and with the words they can communicate celebration, a hopeful look ahead, or just whimsy!

Applying WordArt

WordArt is available from the Drawing toolbar or by choosing Insert | Picture | WordArt. From the Drawing toolbar:

  1. Click the Insert WordArt button to see the WordArt Gallery. This is a selection of predefined WordArt for you to choose from.
  2. Click the choice that most nearly matches your preference and click OK. You can change the shape, color and other properties later on.
  3. In the Edit WordArt Text dialog box that appears, type your text (to replace Your Text Here) and click OK.

You can change the WordArt using these techniques:

  1. Drag the yellow adjustment handle to exaggerate or minimize the shape effect of the WordArt.
  2. Size and position the WordArt as you do with floating pictures.
  3. Use buttons on the Drawing toolbar to change the shadow, fill, line, and 3-D effect, just as you do with any drawing object.

Applying Drop Caps

Applying Drop Caps is just as easy. To do so:

  1. Click in the paragraph where you want to apply the drop cap, and then choose Format | Drop Cap.
  2. When the dialog box appears, choose whether you want the letter dropped in the margin or inside the paragraph with the text wrapped around it.
  3. Choose a font and size to make a nice contrast with the rest of the text.

The first letter of the paragraph is formatted larger and placed within the text or within the margin. To remove the drop cap effect, choose Format | Drop Cap and choose None.

Now you have the tools you need to grab your readers' attention. Get started on that novel!

Visit Carol's web site to learn more tips like this one!

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