How Do I Align Text in Microsoft Word?

By David Weedmark

Microsoft Word 2013 provides multiple ways to align text inside a document, but these options are not grouped in a single menu or area of the interface. Basic horizontal alignment options, like left, right or centered, are under the Home menu. However, if you want to vertically align text inside a text box or align text around a circle, these options are under the Format menu for the object on which you're working.

Align Text Horizontally

Step 1

Drag the cursor across the words to align and click the "Home" menu. The Paragraph group includes four icons, each graphically representing the different types of text alignment: Align Left, Center, Align Right and Justify. Select one to align the text. Keep in mind that alignment applies to all the text between paragraph breaks, so if you highlight just a single word, the alignment affects the entire paragraph.

Step 2

Click the "Line and Paragraph Spacing" icon in the Paragraph group to specify how much space should appear between paragraphs. In the drop-down menu that opens, "1.0" represents a single line.

Step 3

Click the small "Dialog Box Launcher" icon in the bottom-right corner of the Paragraph group to see more options. In addition to aligning the text, you can set the paragraph indentation size and style. To use hanging paragraphs, for example, select "Hanging" from the Special menu.

Align Pictures and Text Boxes

Step 1

Select a picture or other object, like a shape or text box, in your Word document. Once an object is selected, the Picture Tools menu displays. Click its "Format" menu, then the "Position" icon. Select where you want the picture positioned, using the options that appear in the drop-down menu.

Step 2

Click the "Wrap Text" icon under the Picture Tools Format menu to align the text around the picture. If the picture has a transparent background, you can use the "Tight" option to display the text through the transparent portions of the image. If the picture has a solid background, you can use the "Edit Wrap Points" option to adjust the picture's borders so you can arrange the words tightly around an object in the picture.

Step 3

Align text inside a text box using the options under the Drawing Tools Format menu. First, highlight the text inside the text box to display the Drawing Tools Format menu. To specify the text direction inside the text box, click the "Text Direction" option.

Step 4

Align text horizontally inside a text box just as you would align the text in the document by clicking the "Home" menu and selecting the alignment you want, such as "Align Left" or "Center." To align the text vertically inside a text box, click the "Align Text" option under the Picture Tools Format menu.

Tips & Warnings

  • To select a single word, double-click it. To quickly select a full paragraph, triple-click a word in that paragraph. If you want to align all the text in a document, press "Ctrl-A."