How to insert and use a text box?

First time I try this, so please forgive me if I’m overlooking the obvious.

I want to insert a box of text that would be of fixed width and height and would treat the text as standard paragraph, that is wrapping the words at the end of the line, nothing too fancy. I probably want a “text box”.

I place the cursor at the top-left position of my desired box. I go Insert → Text Box. The cell where my cursor is now highlighted. I can drag the bottom-right corner to expand the box to the desired area (in 2 steps, height then width or vice versa). Now if I try to type inside the box it just disappears. The cursor remains in the shape of a box, but any text I type is just like regular text inside a cell.

So what am I missing?

I can View → Toolbars → Drawing and click on the capital T symbol: same result.

I’m on version on MacOS Sierra, if that matters.


P.S. Oh and the website is buggy: took repeated attempts to get the “calc” and “box” tags. Had to type slowly and immediately click on desired tag before it would disappear and be replaced by a non-expandable list of irrelevant tags. Anyway being a computer genius I managed.

Insert → Text Box works fine for me, on Windows. Perhaps a bug with your particular version. I don’t have access to MacOS, so no way to be sure.

Thanks Jim K, yes I can’t think of what I could be doing wrong. I’ll try a few more things with the mouse and drag and shifts and whatnot. Thanks.

@jimk, would you mind upvoting Ratslinger for me as I do not have the reps. Only if it doesn’t break etiquette. Thanks!


Reading your question a few times leaves me wondering just what you are looking for. Is it to place text in a cell which automatically wraps around like a document? Or is it a separate area to place some information within?

Your fixed width/height may be just resizing the column/row dimensions. Your word wrap may be simply the formatting of the cell.

Here is a sample screenshot of just mentioned items:

image description

Cell A1 simply contains text. Cell A17 has the row height modified and the cell format was changed to wrap the text. The grey box is created from Insert->Text Box. Once menu item is selected, the cursor changes to a cross hair where you freeform draw the text box on the sheet - Left mouse hold down & drag mouse to draw wanted size text box. Then release mouse button.

You mention dragging the bottom right corner (see cell A1). Once for width & again for Height. This is actually the `Fill Tool’ (found on page 29 of Calc Getting started guide).

You may want to view the LO documentation for the basics - click here.

Thanks ratslinger, yes I was looking for the gray box, not for cell A17. I am doing Insert → Text Box, and definitely not using the ‘fill tool’. I am getting a box, but if I place the cursor inside the box, it vanishes. I can’t find a way to write into it. Thanks for your suggestion!

I made a screen movie of what’s going on. At one point I accidentally managed to make a text box. Sadly I have not immortalized the moment. Something to do with clicking and/or releasing the trackpad pressure in the right way. Unfortunately I have not been able to reproduce. At this point I suspect it is very simple and I’m a complete idiot. Here is my movie:

I’ve been having the same problem with the text box disappearing when I click inside the blue box to add text, incredibly frustrating. I see that there’s a cursor but I’m trying to paste text in the box, which requires a right click.


Please read comments in the other answer. Basically, before clicking in the box, just enter a single character. Then paste your stuff and delete the character. Or right click the frame and set to a drawn line.

For me, on Windows, this is what happens. Insert text Box brings the cross hair cursor up with a small letter I at the bottom right, indicating it is insert mode - holding the left mouse button drag a box on the screen, which has a blue border . When the left button is released the cross hair cursor changes to a cross with arrows if it is inside the box area and changes to a pointer outside the box area. The text cursor is in the top left of the Text Box and you can now type text into the Box. If you click inside the Box before you start typing the Text Box will disappear.

Watching your video I see the cross hair cursor with the letter I but as soon as you start moving it the I disappears and you end up just selecting various cells in the sheet. The blue bordered box does not come up. Check the sequence of the operations you are using.

Thanks Peter, you nailed it. The technique is: 1. Insert Box. 2. left-click + drag to delimit box outline. 3. Start typing where the cursor is. Clicking into the box at any time during steps 2 or 3 makes the box vanish. Wow. Who would know it could take me so long to figure out! Thanks a lot. Now I will accept your answer, but unfortunately I don’t have enough reps to upvote. Ratslinger deserves an upvote too. Thanks both of you!

@PatrickT I found this by chance a while ago. It is intuitive to click in the Text box, not noticing the text cursor at the top left in the box. Also to try to resize before typing. Once you have a character in the box you can move or resize it.