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Chalkboard effect in Word

How to get a ‘chalkboard’ or ‘Whiteboard’ effect in Microsoft Word.

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by Office for Mere Mortals

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Recently we talked about Text Boxes in Word and how to get various looks for sidebars and columns.

How about copying the ‘chalkboard’ or ‘Whiteboard’ effect for a different style of text box not offered by Microsoft in their text box gallery.

Word - Text Box - Chalkboard image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

Here’s some basic ideas that you can tinker with to your heart’s content …

Make a text box in the usual way.

On the Drawing Tools | Format tab go to the Shape Fill icon – this controls the text box background color.

Word - Text Box fill image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

Change the color to black.

Then change the font color. These days Word should automatically change the font color when it’s the same as the background to prevent ‘black on black’ or ‘white on white’ scenarios – that’s what the ‘Automatic’ font color should do. However we had some troubles during testing for this article so you may need to explicitly force the text color to white.

We’ll look at the font choices below.

Finally make a frame to ‘sell’ the idea that it’s a chalkboard not just a black box. There are many options for doing this, here’s just one.

Go to Drawing Tools | Format | Shape Outline.

Word - Text Box frame setting image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

Then change Outline color and thickness to 6pt.

In practice we speeded this up a bit by using a text box style: Light 1 Outline - this gives rounded corners to the frame.

Word - Text Box - apply Light 1 Outline style image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

Then changed the frame colors to suit.


A whiteboard look is easier with a white background and black text.

Word - Text Box - Whiteboard image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

We’ve chosen an outline shadow effect instead of a frame.

Word - Text Box - shadow effect image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

Plus a faint outline around the text box Shape Outline | Weight

Word - Text Box - faint outline image from Chalkboard effect in Word at

Handwriting fonts

There are a few handwriting fonts supplied with either Windows or Office that you can use on your ‘boards’. Generally speaking you’ll want a simple handwriting look not one of the fancy ones with many serifs and embellishments.

Segoe Script is the one we used in the above examples with Bold set on.

Segoe Print is another possibility when set to Bold text.

Lucida Handwriting has slightly more flowing text, it’s relative Lucida Calligraphy is probably too fancy for this purpose.

Beyond the installed fonts there are plenty of fonts available online.

FontSpace has many ‘chalk’ fonts including ‘Eraser’ and ‘Squeaky Chalk Sound’

Fonts101 has ChalkDust in standard, condensed and expanded versions.

Article posted: Wednesday, 07 September 2011

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