When you add pictures, shapes, or other objects to your Office documents, they automatically stack in individual layers as you add them. You can move individual shapes or other objects or groups of objects in a stack. For example, you can move objects up or down within a stack one layer at a time, or you can move them to the top or bottom of a stack in one move. You can overlap objects when you draw to create different effects.

objects in stack


Move a picture, shape, text box, or WordArt

  1. Click the border of the WordArt, text box, or shape that you want to move.

    To move multiple text boxes or shapes, press and hold Ctrl while you click the borders.

  2. When the cursor changes to the four headed arrow, drag it to the new location.

    Cursor resting on a text box border changed into a four headed arrow

    To move in small increments, press and hold Ctrl while pressing an arrow key. And to move the object horizontally or vertically only, press and hold Shift while you drag it.

Note: The incremental, or nudge, distance is a 1 pixel increment. What 1 screen pixel represents relative to the document area depends on the zoom percentage. When your document is zoomed in to 400%, 1 screen pixel is a relatively small nudge distance on the document. When your document is zoomed out to 25%, 1 screen pixel is a relatively large nudge distance on the document.

Depending on how far you’re moving the WordArt, shape, or text box, it might be easier to cut and paste it. Right-click the object, and then click Cut (or, press Ctrl+X). Press Ctrl+V to paste it. You can also cut and paste it into a different document, or between programs, such as from a PowerPoint slide to an Excel worksheet.

Move a text box, WordArt, or shape forward or backward in a stack

  1. Click the WordArt, shape, or text box that you want to move up or down in the stack.

  2. On the Drawing Tools Format tab, click either Bring Forward or Send Backward.

    Bring Forward an Send Backward options on the Drawing Tools Tab

    You’ll have the choice of moving the object up one layer (Bring Forward) or to the top of the stack (Bring to Front). Send Backward has similar options: down one layer (Send Backward) or to the bottom of the pile (Send to Back).

    Bring Forward and Bring to Front options on Bring Forward menu


    • In Office 2016 and Office 2013, if you have a lot of WordArt, shapes, text boxes, or other objects, it may be easier to use up and down arrows in the Selection Pane to move objects. The Selection Pane is not available in Project or in Office 2010.

    • The Selection Pane showing all shapes, text boxes, WordArt and other objects in the document.

See also

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