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I am using ArcMap 10.5 with an Advanced level license.

I am wanting a portion of my text box to be bold. I clicked Insert --> Text. When I type <bol> it literally shows up on my text box as <bol>. I have searched everywhere for recommendations, tried adding quotation marks and nothing works.

enter image description here

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    Normally this happens when your text box also has a special character in it that requires a special code to use, like an ampersand, but I don't see anything like that here. It looks like it should work. Try just using the <BOL> tags and a single piece of text in between, no colons, periods, extra lines, etc. and if that works, add pieces one by one until it breaks.
    – Dan C
    Mar 17 at 21:23
  • @Dan C Great idea! I deleted everything and when I add an ampersand, the formatting suddenly stops working. (I deleted the text in the screenshot that shows the ampersand because of confidentiality.) Any ideas why a random ampersand would mess up the formatting?
    – Shantel
    Mar 17 at 21:28
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    The ampersand and a few other characters are special in ArcGIS text boxes, because they are used for text formatting. If you want to add an ampersand to a text box, you have to use the code &amp; instead: How to Use Label Expression with Text Formatting Tags
    – Dan C
    Mar 17 at 21:45
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I tried what you describe in your question using ArcMap 10.8 and I see the expected bolding in my text element.

enter image description here

I would not expect this behaviour to have changed since ArcMap 10.5.

I suspect there is more in your text box than we can see, and that the comment from @DanC may provide the explanation:

The ampersand and a few other characters are special in ArcGIS text boxes, because they are used for text formatting. If you want to add an ampersand to a text box, you have to use the code &amp; instead: How to Use Label Expression with Text Formatting Tags

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