About adding text to a slide

There are four types of text you can add to a slide: placeholder (placeholders: Boxes with dotted or hatch-marked borders that are part of most slide layouts. These boxes hold title and body text or objects such as charts, tables, and pictures.) text; text in an AutoShape (AutoShapes: A group of ready-made shapes that includes basic shapes, such as rectangles and circles, plus a variety of lines and connectors, block arrows, flowchart symbols, stars and banners, and callouts.); text in a text box (text box: A movable, resizable container for text or graphics. Use text boxes to position several blocks of text on a page or to give text a different orientation from other text in the document.); and WordArt (WordArt: Text objects you create with ready-made effects to which you can apply additional formatting options.) text.

Text displayed in a placeholder, text box, AutoShape, and as WordArt

Callout 1 Text in placeholders

Callout 2 Text box used as caption

Callout 3 WordArt text

Callout 4 Text in an arrow AutoShape

The text you type into placeholders, such as titles and bulleted lists, can be edited on the slide or on the Outline tab, and it can be exported from the Outline tab to Microsoft Word. Text in an object (object: A table, chart, graphic, equation, or other form of information. Objects created in one application, for example spreadsheets, and linked or embedded in another application are OLE objects.), such as a text box or AutoShape, and WordArt text do not appear on the Outline tab and must be edited on the slide.


Slide layouts contain text and object placeholders in a variety of combinations. In the text placeholders, type titles, subtitles, and body text onto your slides. You can resize and move placeholders and format them with borders (border: The visible line around the edge of an object. For example, the four lines of a rectangle that comprise its border.) and colors.

ShowText AutoFit

By default, Microsoft PowerPoint resizes text as you type so that it fits into a placeholder. For example, if you type a bulleted list and put in more text than will fit in the placeholder, PowerPoint reduces the font size and line spacing until all the text fits (with 8 points being the minimum font size). For title text, if a few words bump to a second line, the text is reduced by one font size so that it fits on a single line.

Text AutoFit will also reduce text to fit inside a placeholder that you make smaller, and it will enlarge the text again if you then make the placeholder larger.

You can turn text AutoFit on and off. When it is on, you can adjust how it functions within a given placeholder by using the AutoFit Options button Button image, which appears near your text the first time it is resized. The button, when clicked, displays a menu giving you options for dealing with the overspilling text. You can stop resizing text for the current placeholder while still keeping your global AutoFit setting on. You can also display the AutoCorrect dialog box and turn off the AutoFit settings altogether, so no text will resize automatically. For a single-column slide layout, when text spills out of a placeholder, you also get these options: to split the text between two slides, to create a new, blank slide with the same slide title, or to create a two-column layout on the original slide. You get these options whether AutoFit is on or not.

The text AutoFit setting for body text also applies to notes you type into the notes pane (notes pane: The pane in normal view in which you type notes that you want to accompany a slide. You print these notes as notes pages or have them display when you save a presentation as a Web page.).


AutoShapes such as callout balloons and block arrows lend themselves to text messages. When you type text into an AutoShape, the text is attached to the shape and moves or rotates with the shape.

Text boxes

Use text boxes to place text anywhere on a slide, such as outside a text placeholder. For example, you can add a caption to a picture (picture: A file (such as a metafile) that you can ungroup and manipulate as two or more objects, or a file that stays as a single object (such as bitmaps).) by creating a text box and positioning it near the picture. Also, a text box is handy if you want to add text to an AutoShape, but you don't want the text to attach to the shape. A text box can have a border, fill, shadow, or three-dimensional (3-D) effect, and you can change its shape.


Use WordArt for fancy text effects. WordArt can stretch, skew, curve, and rotate your text or make it 3-D or vertical.

Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003