This tutorial shows how to create drop caps in Microsoft Word. A drop cap is a large letter at the start of a paragraph. Drop caps are traditionally used as decorative elements at the start of a document or the start of a chapter.
In addition to creating drop caps, we’ll also look at how to add extra customizations such as different font colors, background colors, and drop shadows.
This tutorial is also available as a YouTube video showing all the steps in real time.
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The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. These steps will also work in Word 2019, Word 2016, Word 2013, and Word 2010. However, your interface may look slightly different in those older versions of the software.
How to Create Drop Caps in Microsoft Word
- Place your cursor in the paragraph that you want to format with a drop cap.
- Select the Insert tab in the ribbon.
- Select the Drop Cap button in the Text group.
- Select an option from the drop-down menu:
- Dropped places the drop cap within the paragraph.
- In margin places the drop cap in the margin next to the paragraph.
- Drop Cap Options opens a dialog box with customization options, as explained in step 5, below.
Pro Tip: The None option will remove an existing drop cap.
- (Optional Step) If you chose Drop Cap Options, choose Dropped or In margin from the dialog box, and then choose additional options:
- Font (This will change the font of the drop cap only, not the entire paragraph.)
- Lines to drop
- Distance from text
- Select the OK button.
Your drop cap should appear in your text immediately.
Pro Tip: Place your cursor in the paragraph and reselect Drop Cap Options (see figure 3) if you want to modify your choices in the Drop Cap dialog box.
How to Add Additional Customizations to Drop Caps in Microsoft Word
You can add many of the same customizations to drop caps that you can to normal text. The following steps show how to change the font color, add a background color, and add text effects such as a drop-shadow.
- Select the drop cap.
- Select the Home tab in the ribbon.
- Select the Font Color menu arrow in the Font group, and then choose a new color from the drop-down menu.
Pro Tip: You can select More Colors for additional options such as RGB, HSL, and Hex color codes. Or, choose Gradient to add a gradient to the current font color.
- Select the Text Effects and Typography button in the Font group to choose options such as outlines, shadows, and reflections. Note that not all the effects will work with drop caps, so you may need to experiment to achieve the desired results.
- Select the Shading menu arrow in the Paragraph group, and then choose a background color from the drop-down menu.
Your new font color, text effects, and background color should be applied immediately.