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Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Word

Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Word

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use Word 2016 with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to change text alignment in your documents. Quickly center text, align it on the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

How alignment is described in Word 2016 documents can vary depending on the screen reader. You may need to adjust the verbosity settings of your screen reader. For example, to hear a description of your text’s alignment in JAWS, press Insert+F. In Narrator, press Caps Lock+0. For more information, refer to your screen reader’s documentation.

Notes: 

In this topic

Left-align text

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+L. Or, press Alt+H, and then press A, L.

Right-align text

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+R. Or, press Alt+H, and then press A, R.

Center text

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+ E. Or, press Alt+H, and then press A, C.

Justify text

Caution: Justified text can be very difficult for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia to read. To make your document as accessible as possible, chose a different alignment style.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+ J.

Customize paragraph alignment

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page.

Indent from the left margin

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph you want to indent.

  2. Press Alt+P, and then press I, L.

  3. In the Indent area, in the Left box, type a number in inches or use the arrow keys to select in increments of 1/10 inch.

    Note: To specify units other than inches, type a number followed by the units of measure, such as 12 pt for 12 points, 1 cm for 1 centimeter, or 15 px for 15 pixels.

  4. To apply your changes, press Enter.

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page.

Indent from the right margin

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph you want to indent.

  2. Press Alt+P, and then press I, R.

  3. In the Indent area, in the Right box, type a number in inches or use the arrow keys to select in increments of 1/10 inch.

    Note: To specify units other than inches, type a number followed by the units of measure, such as 12 pt for 12 points, 1 cm for 1 centimeter, or 15 px for 15 pixels.

  4. To apply your changes, press Enter.

Align text using Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or want to know about more options, try using the Tell me what you want to do box.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. To move to the Tell me what you want to do box, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type a keyword or phrase related to your task, and then press the Down Arrow key to choose from the search results. For example, type align text for related actions such as the Align Right button. Some results may be submenus with more choices.

  4. To choose an option, press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Word on Windows

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Word using accessible features

Use Word for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in Mac OS screen reader, to change text alignment. Word for Mac typically aligns text horizontally on the left margin and leaves the right margin ragged. You can center text, align it to the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

Notes: 

In this topic

Align text left or right, center text, or justify text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text. You can quickly format the paragraphs in your document to the alignment you want.

  1. In your document, select the paragraphs you want to align.

    Tip: To select a piece of text, hold down Shift and move the cursor using the arrow keys.

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog opens, with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  3. To navigate to the Alignment menu, press Control+Option+Right arrow key. To expand the menu, press Control+Option+Shift+M. To browse to an option in the Alignment menu, press Control+Option+Up or Down arrow keys. The options are announced as you move.

    The following table summarizes the options you can use to format the paragraph alignment.

    To do this

    Select

    Align the text to the left

    Left

    Align the text to the right

    Right

    Center the text

    Centered

    Justify the text

    Justified

    To select an option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Caution: Justified text can be very difficult to read for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  4. To return to your document, press Enter.

Customize paragraph indentation

To indent your text by a specific number, you can add indentation from the left or right margins of the page.

  1. In your document, select the paragraphs you want to indent.

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog opens.

  3. Use the options in Indentation group to do one of the following:

    • To add indent to the left, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "Before text."

    • To add indent to the right, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear: "After text."

    To set the indentation size, type a number in inches or use the Up or Down arrow keys to adjust indentation in increments of 1/10 inch. The indentation size is announced.

  4. To apply your changes and return to your document, press Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word for Mac

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Word using accessible features

Use Word for iOS with your keyboard and TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to change text alignment. Word for iOS typically aligns text horizontally on the left margin and leaves the right margin ragged. You can center text, align it to the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For touch capabilities in Word for iOS, go to Word for iPhone touch guide

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • This topic assumes that you are using an iPhone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an iPad.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in Print Layout View. VoiceOver may not work reliably in other view modes.

In this topic

Align text left or right, center text, or justify text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text. You can quickly format the paragraphs in your document to use the alignment you want.

  1. While editing your document, drag your finger around the writing area until VoiceOver reads a line of the paragraph where you want to change the alignment. Double-tap the screen to move the cursor there.

  2. If needed, to close the keyboard and go to the ribbon, swipe left until you hear "Show ribbon, button," and then double-tap the screen. The Home tab opens, and you hear: "Home tab."

  3. In the Home tab, do one of the following:

    • To align the text to the left, swipe right until you hear “Align left, button,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To align the text to the right, swipe right until you hear “Align right, button” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To center the text, swipe right until you hear “Center text, button,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To justify the text, swipe right until you hear “Justify text, button,” and then double-tap the screen.

      Note: The currently selected alignment is announced as "Selected <alignment>, button."

      Note: Justified text can be very difficult to read for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  4. To close the ribbon and switch to the keyboard, swipe left until you hear "Hide ribbon, button," and double-tap the screen.

Customize paragraph indentation

You can add indentation from the left or right margins of the page.

  1. While editing your document, drag your finger around the writing area until VoiceOver reads a line of the paragraph where you want to change the alignment. Double-tap the screen to move the cursor there.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To add indent to the left, swipe right until you hear "Decrease indent position, button," and double-tap the screen.

    • To add indent to the right, swipe right until you hear "Increase indent position, button," and double-tap the screen.

  3. After you select an option, the indent is added to the paragraph.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Word using accessible features

Use Word for Android with your keyboard and TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to change text alignment. Word for Android typically aligns text horizontally on the left margin and leaves the right margin ragged. You can center text, align it to the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For touch capabilities in Word for Android, go to Word for Android touch guide

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with an Android phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for an Android tablet.

In this topic

Align text left or right, center text, or justify text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text. You can quickly format the paragraphs in your document to use the alignment you want.

  1. While editing your document, drag your finger around the writing area until TalkBack reads a line of the paragraph where you want to change the alignment. Double-tap the screen to move the cursor there.

  2. If needed, to close the keyboard and go to the Home tab, swipe right until you hear "Not checked, More options, switch," and then double-tap the screen. The Home tab opens, and you hear: "Tab menu, Home selected."

  3. In the Home tab, do one of the following:

    • To align the text to the left, swipe right until you hear “Align left, switch,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To align the text to the right, swipe right until you hear “Align right, switch,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To center the text, swipe right until you hear “Center, switch,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To justify the text, swipe right until you hear “Justify, switch,” and then double-tap the screen.

    Note: The currently selected alignment is announced as "Checked <alignment>, switch."

    Note: Justified text can be very difficult to read for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  4. To close the ribbon and switch to the keyboard, swipe right until you hear "Checked, More options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

Customize paragraph indentation

You can add indentation from the left or right margins of the page.

  1. While editing your document, drag your finger around the writing area until TalkBack reads a line of the paragraph where you want to change the indentation. Double-tap the screen to move the cursor there.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To add indent to the left, swipe right until you hear "Decrease indent, button," and double-tap the screen.

    • To add indent to the right, swipe right until you hear "Increase indent, button," and double-tap the screen.

  3. After you select an option, the indent is added to the paragraph.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Learn how to navigate in Word using accessible features

Use Word Mobile with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to change text alignment in your documents. Center text or align it on the right or left margin, or justify text to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

Notes: 

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Get started with Narrator.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a Windows phone. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a tablet or PC.

In this topic

Change text alignment

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Swipe up or down with one finger until you hear: “Items.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear "More options, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To align the text left, swipe right until you hear “Off, Align left button,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To align the text right, swipe right until you hear “Off, Align right button,” and then double-tap the screen.

    • To center the text, swipe right until you hear “Off, Center button,” and then double-tap the screen.

Justify text

Note: Justified text can be very difficult to read for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, chose a different alignment style.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Swipe up or down with one finger until you hear: “Items.”

  3. Swipe right until you hear "More options, button," and then double-tap the screen.

  4. Swipe right until you hear “Off, Justify, button,” and then double-tap the screen to align the paragraph.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Use Word Online with your keyboard and Narrator, the built-in Windows screen reader, to change text alignment in your documents. Quickly center text, align it on the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so the left and right edges are even.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office Online. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Office 365 features are released gradually to Office 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you could get new features faster, visit When do I get the newest features in Office 2016 for Office 365?.

  • For keyboard shortcuts, go to Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Windows screen reader, Narrator. To learn more about using Narrator, go to Get started with Narrator.

  • This topic assumes you are using this app with a PC. Some navigation and gestures might be different for a Windows phone or tablet.

  • When you use Word Online, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word Online runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Word Online.

In this topic

Change text alignment

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To align the text left, press Ctrl+L.

    • To align the text right, press Ctrl+R.

    • To center the text, press Ctrl+E.

Justify text

Note: Justified text can be very difficult to read for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to justify.

  2. Press Ctrl+J to justify the text so that the left and right edges are even.

Customize paragraph alignment

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page.

Indent from the left margin

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to indent.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press P, I, L. The focus changes to the Left box of the Indent area.

  3. Type a number in inches and press Enter, or use the Up and Down arrow keys to change the indentation in increments of 1/10 inch.

    Note: To specify the indentation in centimeters , type a number followed by “cm”.

Indent from the right margin

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to indent.

  2. Press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press P, I, R. The focus changes to the Right box of the Indent area.

  3. Type a number in inches and press Enter, or use the Up and Down arrow keys to change the indentation in increments of 1/10 inch.

    Note: To specify the indentation in centimeters , type a number followed by “cm”.

Align text using Tell Me

When you don’t know the keyboard shortcut or want to know about more options, try using the Tell me what you want to do box.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to align.

  2. To move to the Tell me what you want to do box, press Alt+Windows logo key, and then press Q.

  3. Type a keyword or phrase related to your task, and then press the Down arrow key to browse the search results. For example, type "align text" for related actions such as the Align Right button. Some results may be submenus with more choices.

  4. Select between the search results with the Up and Down arrow keys and choose an option by pressing Enter.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word Online

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Learn how to navigate Word using accessible features

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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