Controlling How Text Fits in Text Frames and Text Boxes
When text does not fit in a text placeholder frame or text box, PowerPoint takes measures to make it fit. In a text frame, PowerPoint shrinks the amount of space between lines and then it shrinks the text itself. When text does not fit in a text box, PowerPoint enlarges the text box to fit more text. PowerPoint handles overflow text as part of its AutoFit mechanism.
How AutoFit works is up to you. If, like me, you do not care for how PowerPoint enlarges text boxes when you enter the text, you can tell PowerPoint not to "AutoFit" text, but instead to make text boxes large from the get-go. And if you do not care for how PowerPoint shrinks text in placeholder text frames, you can tell PowerPoint not to shrink text. These pages explain how to choose AutoFit options for overflow text in your text frames and text boxes.
Choosing how PowerPoint "AutoFits" text in text frames
When text does not fit in a text placeholder frame and PowerPoint has to "AutoFit" the text, you see the AutoFit Options button. Click this button to open a drop-down list with options for handling overflow text, as shown in Figure. The AutoFit options - along with a couple of other techniques, as we explain shortly - represent the "one at a time" way of handling overflow text. You can also change the default AutoFit options for handling overflow text, as we also explain if you will bear with me a while longer and quit your yawning.
"AutoFitting" the text one frame at a time
When text does not fit in a text placeholder frame, especially a title frame, the first question to ask is, "Do I want to fool with the integrity of the slide design?" Making the text fit usually means shrinking the text, enlarging the text frame, or compromising the slide design in some way, but audiences notice design inconsistencies. Slides are shown on large screens where design flaws are easy to see.
Making text fit in a text frame usually means making a compromise. Here are different ways to handle the problem of text not fitting in a text frame. Be prepared to click the Undo button when you experiment with these techniques:
Edit the text:
Usually when text does not fit in a frame, the text needs editing. It needs to be made shorter. A slide is not a place for a treatise. Editing the text is the only way to make it fit in the frame without compromising the design.
Enlarge the frame:
Click the AutoFit Options button and choose Stop Fitting Text to This Placeholder on the shortcut menu. Then select the frame and drag the bottom or top selection handle to enlarge it.
Decrease the font size:
Select the text, go to the Home tab, and choose a smaller Font Size measurement. You can also click the Decrease Font Size button to decrease the font size.
Decrease the amount of spacing between lines:
Click the Paragraph group button on the Home tab to open the Paragraph dialog box and decrease the After measurement under Spacing.
Change the frame's internal margins:
Similar to a page, text frames have internal margins to keep text from getting too close to a frame border. By shrinking these margins, you can make more room for text. Right-click the text frame and choose Format Shape. Then, in the Text Box category of the Format Shape dialog box, enter smaller measurements for the Internal Margin boxes.
Create a new slide for the text:
If you are dealing with a list or paragraph text in a body text frame, the AutoFit Options drop-down list offers two ways to create a new slide. Choose Continue on a New Slide to run the text onto another slide, choose Split Text between Two Slides to divide the text evenly between two slides. We do not recommend either option, though. If you need to make a new slide, do it on your own and then rethink how to present the material. Inserting a new slide to accommodate a long list throws a presentation off-track.
The laundry list of AutoFit options.
Choosing default AutoFit options for text frames
Unless you change the default AutoFit options, PowerPoint shrinks the amount of space between lines and then shrinks the text itself to make text fit in text placeholder frames. Follow these steps if you want to decide for yourself whether PowerPoint "AutoFits" text in text frames:
- Open the AutoFormat As You Type tab in the AutoCorrect dialog box. Here are the two ways to get there:
- Click the AutoFit Options button and choose Control AutoCorrect Options on the drop-down list.
- Click the Office button and choose PowerPoint Options to open the PowerPoint Options dialog box. In the Proofing category, click the AutoCorrect Options button.
- Deselect the AutoFit Title Text to Placeholder check box to prevent AutoFitting in title text placeholder frames.
- Deselect the AutoFit Body Text to Placeholder check box to prevent Autofitting in text placeholder frames apart from title frames and click OK.
Choosing how PowerPoint "AutoFits" text in text boxes
PowerPoint offers three options for handling overflow text in text boxes:
Do Not AutoFit:
Does not fit text in the text box but lets text spill out.
Shrink Text on Overflow:
Shrinks the text to make it fit in the text box.
Resize Shape to Fit Text:
Enlarges the text box to make the text fit inside it.
Follow these steps to tell PowerPoint how or whether to fit text in text boxes:
- Select the text box and Right-click the text box and choose Format Shape. You see the Format Shape dialog box.
- Click the Text Box category.
- Choose an AutoFit option: Do Not AutoFit, Shrink Text on Overflow, or Resize Shape to Fit Text and then click the Close button.
Some people find it easier to dispense with "AutoFitting." If you are one of those people, go to the Text Box category of the Format Shape dialog box, and under AutoFit, choose the Do Not AutoFit option or the Shrink Text on Overflow option. To make your AutoFit setting applicable to all the text boxes you create in your presentation, right-click the text box and choose Set As Default Text Box on the shortcut menu.