Microsoft Word and graphic design

Is there a way, in a Microsoft Word table, to link two cells of the table such that text overflowing from one cell will end up in the other?

I have a table that is just two cells big, running the length of the page. I have a long piece of text that I want to only run down the right hand side of each page, in the right hand cell. Apparently, I could link text boxes so that I could control exactly how the text ran from one to the other, but text boxes don’t have the kind of graphical control that I need.

I think I need to start by preventing the table from becoming larger to accommodate more text, but I can’t find that option (Word 2003 version)

Is there a way to link the text? Or, if I use proper columns instead, is there a way to force the text to the top of the right hand column without inserting a bunch of blank lines on the left?

I really wish my boss would let me use the proper program for this crap.

:confused: I’m confused. Why do you want to overflow text out of a cell, when the purpose of a cell is to be used as a container? I guess I don’t really understand what you’re trying to do.

Bassicly you want the text to “wrap” around a photo? And you are using tables to try and arrange it?

Sorry, it’s hard to describe.

What we are doing is creating a teacher’s instruction manual. The body of the document is divided into two halves, the left side with instructions for the teacher, and the right side with what the student sees. I already have the student’s part written, and I want to make it flow down only the right hand side of the page. Then, I want to be able to go back on the Instructor side of the page and insert what we want to tell the instructors, without screwing up the formatting on the student instruction side.

I’ve been using a table with two cells that divide the body of the document into columns because I found that the columns setting in word wouldn’t let me flow text down just one side of a page from page to page. It wanted to make all the text proceed from the left hand column to the right hand column all the time. By using a table, at least I can go back to the instructor side of the page on the left and add text without all the stuff on the student side shifting around.

Does that make sense?

That makes sense. The part in the OP about overflowing the cell doesn’t. I don’t understand what’s overflowing if the teacher text would always be separate from the student text.

Would it help to add more rows so that each piece of teacher commentary would start with each section of the student text? Or would that break up the student text oddly?

Alternatively, what about comment boxes? Keep all the student text in one column and just create a box for each piece of teacher text to comment on it. Those can be anchored and attached at any point.

Look up columns in help… you can format a page into multiple columns and IIRC easily split your documen that way so everything wraps but only on one side.

I can’t do as you suggest, Drachillix. The help function of word is telling me that, if I want two separate versions of a text flowing side by side, I need to use text boxes and link the text box on one side of the page with the matching box on the next page.

This would work fine, except I also need a vertical line between the two halves of the document. If I use the Columns function or the Table function, I can get a vertical line between the to halves of my document. From what I can tell, I can either have a border completely around my text box, or no border at all.

So, do you mean, I create one column that contains all my student info, and this column is only 3 inches wide and justified to the right, leaving me extra space on the left to insert text boxes with the teacher info? If so, Word won’t let me modify the width of a column if there is only one in the document.

I can play with the sliders in the ruler, making the body of the document only 3 inches wide, but then Word won’t let me type anything outside the defined page area.

I still don’t understand what’s overflowing.

Try Insert > Break > column break. It’s fussy and will mess up your columns until you figure it out, but that might be what you’re looking for. Do it right and it will force all the text into a single right hand column and allow you to drop in text next to it. I’d start with small chunks of text first to see how it works.

If this were my task I’d create a style that uses frames. Here’s a way to do it.

Thanks, Expano Mapcase, that might be my only option. The reason I haven’t yet used it was that all the text will still want to flow from the left column to the right, and any changes that we make to the teacher side could significantly screw up the student side. So I could column break all the student stuff so it’s aligned on the right, but if some of my teacher stuff runs a little long, the student stuff will be shoved into left hand column on the next page instead of being left alone.

The overflow I was trying to describe is when all the text won’t fit cleanly into the defined area of the document. In normal columns, if you cut and paste in a bunch of pre-written text, the text fills up the column and all the left over goes to the next column, snaking from left to right across all the pages. If you try this in a table, the cell of the table will simply expand to accommodate all the text, even if the cell ends up larger than the page itself. I don’t want either of those to happen. I want my defined areas to stay as big as I set them, and I want all the text to flow on one half of the page or the other, depending on my say so. And I need a vertical line between the two that isn’t just some random line I put in with the drawing tool. I could do that, but then exactly where the line is will depend on my dexterity and eyesight, and that’s not what I got the computer for.

Sorry, I didn’t see this while I was off playing with Word.

No, I meant create a one column table and set it to three inches wide. Because it’s a table you can make the left hand border the only one visible giving you your line.

Then open the Drawing toolbar and select Text Box. You can drop and drop a text box anywhere and size it to your text. Just type into it or cut and paste from another document. You can also use the line function on the Drawing toolbar to create a line in between the table and the text box if that’s what you rather have visible. Then you could remove all borders from the table.

On Preview, that article about frames is interesting. I’ll have to study it because I’m not familiar with that use. However, just above it is an section on “Large amounts of parallel text” which uses the multi-row suggestion I made earlier. This seems by far the easiest to me, and I’m not understanding why you can’t use it.

Simulpost again. Why can’t you fix the width of a table column?

Thanks E. Thorps, frames might do the trick. For many of these sections, the teacher instructions are minimal.

Another complication: The best technique would be one that translates well from computer to computer. The intention is to share this document internationally. Word is famous for screwing up the formatting when a file is viewed on another computer than the creation computer. That’s why I was hoping to somehow link frames of a table the way you might link text boxes. Tables are more stable and have more options than text boxes.

To add an extra layer of crappiness, my boss is off in another country right now field testing the thing. She wants me to hammer out these formatting details while she is away, but since we have a couple of ways of achieving the same end, exactly which style we chose will depend on the final text of the document. Add some more teacher notes, and the tables with lots of rows might be better. Minimal teaching notes, and frames are the path, or maybe columns with column breaks.

At least I know I have some choices, sort of.

I can fix the width, but not the length. When the text in a table is too long, it lengthens onto a new page. I don’t want that to happen, as it screws with my other formatting.

Good point. In my experience, it is possible to mitigate this problem somewhat (all text formatted using styles; no styles based on Normal; little to no direct formatting), but not completely. When I’m sharing something internationally with people who will not be expected to alter it, I send PDF.

Oh, sweet, sweet PDF. How I wish we could use you. But no, not only will this file be shared internationally, but it has to be editable on the other side. That’s why we aren’t using a proper program or someone with actual skills. Word is the only text program that damned near anyone with a computer has.

I would love more details on the tricks you have to mitigate the problem of swimming text. Got a good site you could point me at for more details on direct formatting? Or is that what I’ve been doing? I have exactly enough knowledge about Word to be dangerous.

Almost everything I know about Word I learned from the Word MVP site and Charles Kenyon’s Microsoft Word FAQ. Not sure if it’s all still up to date, but these sites were a great orientation to how Word is meant to work.

In Word 2007, there is a ‘sidebar’ which can be positioned beside your text and contain information from another document. Does that exist in Word 2003? If so, maybe you can use that. In Word2007, you have a high degree of control over what it looks like, including separate shading, shadows, and borders. You could make it look exactly like what you want, then link it to an external document containing the teacher’s notes.

So what do you want to happen when the text in a table is too long?