Word Processing

This article describes how to use text effects available in MS-Word 2007 and up in order to add more interest to titles and text in documents such as brochures and posters.

Spicing up Titles in MS-Word

A tutorial in the vastly over-priced, over-rated Shelly/Cashman microcomputer applications textbook series instructs students to enter the title of a text in all caps, like this:

All caps  

All caps was the best we could do with typewriters, but in the age of word processing all caps is outdated, unsophisticated, and unsightly. Here are some alternatives.

Text Effects

Small caps are much more stylish than normal big caps. To apply small caps begin by converting the text to Capitalize Each Word case.

  • Select the text
  • In the Font group of the Home tab, click on the case tool (Aa)
  • On the Change Case menu, click on Capitalize Each Word
Now format the title case as small caps.
  • Select the text again
  • Launch the Font dialog (Click on launcher or press Ctrl-D)
  • In the Effects section, place a check next to Small Caps
  • Click OK
Title case
with small caps
Now add italics:
  1. Re-select the text
  2. Click the italics tool in the Font group (or press Ctrl-I)
Italicized title case
with small caps

Add one more text effect, Outline:

  1. Re-select the text
  2. Open the Font dialog box (Ctrl-D)
  3. Place a check next to Outline in the Effects section
  4. Click OK
Small caps
Sans serif
Small caps
Font color

More Text Effects

With the release of MS-Word 2007, Microsoft replaced the old "WordArt" feature with "Text Effects" (as opposed to just "Effects").

This update was a case of "something lost, something gained". While we can no longer rotate and warp text the way we could with WordArt, Text Effects does offer a multitude of choices and combinations of lines, borders, fills, shadows, reflections, glows, and 3-D'ness.

The method works just like applying all other effects: select the text, open the Format Text Effects dialog box, and select the effects you want.

Just be sure not to simply click on the Text Effects tool in the Font group - that only brings up a few boring pre-sets which don't even begin to tap into the many possiblities offered by Text Effects.

Instead, after selecting the text, launch the Font dialog box, and then click on the Text Effects button at the bottom of the dialog - that brings up the Format Text Effects dialog box and unleashes it's full potential.


Bruce Miller, 2002, 2014