Frequently Asked Questions about Word

Documents and templates

Headers and footers and page numbers


A few words about Word's draw layer

Working with graphics


Customizing Word

Unexpected behavior

Miscellaneous How-To . . .

How Word Differs from WordPerfect

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Word’s draw layer

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The draw layer: a metaphysical place


Inline versus floating


The draw layer: a metaphysical space. <Top of Page>

Word's draw layer is a metaphysical space where floating objects reside. It really isn't a layer, since floating objects can be sent behind the text layer or brought out in front of it. Either way, they continue to reside in the draw layer.

The relationship between the draw layer and the text layer is a bit unusual, to say the least. As noted, the draw layer is both behind and in front of the text layer. Any floating object can be right-clicked to bring up a menu that includes an "Order" command that lets you send the object behind or bring it out in front of the surrounding text (as well as behind or in front of any other floating objects).

Wrapping <Top of Page>

Wrapping is an attribute of a floating object that dictates how the object affects the text layer. To control this attribute bring up the Format Object (or Format Picture) dialog box and click the Wrapping tab at the top of the dialog box.

When wrapping is set to NONE, the floating object has no effect on the text layer and as a result text flows on the page as though the object weren't there. When wrapping is set to any other value, the text reacts to the presence of the object, flowing around it according to the setting chosen. NOTE: In order to flow to the left or right of an object, the text needs to see a one-inch-wide area between the object and the page margin. If the available space is less than one inch, the text won't flow there but skip down below the object instead.

Inline versus floating <Top of Page>

Graphics can be inserted into a document "inline" rather than floating in the draw layer. When a graphic is inserted this way, it behaves in almost all respects like a text character. That is, it flows on the page the same way text flows. It honors the paragraph alignment and line spacing attributes of the containing paragraph and so on. It can be cut or copied to the clipboard and pasted elsewhere (or dragged and dropped) like a piece of text, either by itself or with the text that it is inline with.

A graphic can be switched between floating and inline states simply by right-clicking and choosing Format Picture, then checking or unchecking the Float Over Text checkbox.

Anchors <Top of Page>

When a graphic or draw object floats, it remains anchored to a particular paragraph. If that paragraph is cut and pasted or simply displaced to a new location by text entered somewhere upstream, the anchor also moves to the new location and in general so does the floating object. That is, if a paragraph lands on a new page, the floating object anchored to it will land on the new page as well. On the other hand, if a paragraph moves up or down without changing pages, the floating object may or may not move, depending on whether it has been positioned relative to the paragraph or the page. This setting can be controlled from the Format Picture or Format Object dialog box, under the Position Tab.

To view an anchor, choose Options on the Tools menu, then click the View tab and place a checkmark next to Object Anchors. NOTE: Even with this option turned on, an object must be selected in order for its anchor to be visible.