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Tech Tip #6: The (Horrid Annoying) Publisher Drawing Canvas

Posted by on February 28, 2012

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each Tuesday, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy!

When I try to insert a text box or object into Word 2003, a drawing canvas appears around it. It gets in the way–everything has to wrap around it and it leaves too much white space, even when I resize it.

My solution: Get rid of it. It’s huge and designed to allow you to place multiple shapes that are moved and resized as one. Most of us are only interested in inserting one text box, so it is cumbersome, annoying and useless. To turn the drawing canvas off:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the General tab.
  2. Clear the Automatically create drawing canvas when inserting AutoShapes check box.

Note: This feature was turned off for Word 2007.

Questions you want answered? Leave a comment here and I’ll answer it within the next thirty days.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and author of two technology training books for middle school. She wrote Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller for her agent that should be out this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office, WordDreams, or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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