Set text direction and position in a shape or text box in Word

Text boxes and most shapes can include text in them. The text can be positioned horizontally or vertically, and it can appear on one line or wrap to multiple lines.

You can change the direction of the text, and you can also change the margins of text boxes and shapes for optimal spacing, or resize shapes for a better text fit.

Specify text direction in a shape or text box

Text direction samples: horizontal, rotated, and stacked

In a shape or text box, you can change the direction in which text is read. That is, you can pivot text 90 or 270 degrees so that it appears sideways.

  1. Right-click the edge of the shape or text box.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

    Format shape menu item selected

  3. In the Format Shape pane, click Size/Layout & Properties Layout & Properties tab .

  4. Under Text Box, select the option that you want in the Text direction list.

    Text Effects panel with text direction selected

Rotate (mirror) text in a shape or text box

An example of mirrored text: the first is rotated 180 degrees on the x axis, and the second is rotated 180 degrees on the y axis
  1. Right-click the box or shape and select Format Shape.

  2. In the Format Shape pane, select Effects.

    Effects tab in the Format Shape pane
  3. Select 3-D Rotation and in the X Rotation or Y Rotation box, enter 180.

  4. (Optional) If your text box is filled with a color, you can remove the color in the Format Shape pane. Select Fill & Line Fill & Line tab , select Fill, and then select No fill.

  5. (Optional) To remove the text box outline, right-click the text box, select Outline in the mini toolbar that appears, and choose No Outline.

Horizonal text in shapes

  1. Select the paragraph, line of text, shape, or text box that you want to modify.

  2. Go to Home and select the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

Three vertical text-alignment options: top, middle, and bottom

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

    Format shape menu item selected

  3. In the Format Shape pane, select Size/Layout & Properties Layout & Properties tab .

    Format Shape panel with Vertical Alignment selected

  4. Select the option that you want in the Vertical alignment list.

When text wraps, it automatically continues on a new line as it reaches the right border of the shape or text box.

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box that contains the text you want to wrap.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

    Format shape menu item selected

  3. In the Format Shape pane, select Size/Layout & Properties Layout & Properties tab , and then select Wrap text in shape.

    Format shape panel with Wrap Text selected

The margin is the distance between the text and the outer border of the enclosing shape or text box.

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

    Format shape menu item selected

  3. In the Format Shape pane, select Size/Layout & Properties Layout & Properties tab .

    Format shape showing margin settings

  4. Specify a measurement in inches or millimeters (mm) for any of the following margins:

    • Left margin     Distance between the left border of a shape and the leftmost text

    • Right margin     Distance between the right border of a shape and the rightmost text

    • Top margin     Distance between the top border of a shape and the uppermost text

    • Bottom margin     Distance between the bottom border of a shape and the lowest text

You can automatically increase the size of a shape or text box vertically so that the text fits inside it.

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

    Format shape menu item selected

  3. In the Format Shape pane, select Layout & Properties Layout & Properties tab , select Text Box, and then select Resize shape to fit text.

    Format Shape with Resize shape for Text selected

Tip: You can reduce the size of the text to fit it in the shape or text box by selecting Shrink text on overflow.

Specify text direction in a shape or text box

Text direction samples: horizontal and rotated

You can change direction of text in a shape or text box. For example, you can rotate text 90 or 270 degrees so that it appears sideways.

  1. Right-click the edge of the shape or text box that contains the text.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

  3. In the left pane of the dialog box, select Text Box.

    The Format Shape dialog box

  4. Under Text layout, select the option that you want in the Text direction list.

  5. Select Close.

Rotate (mirror) text in a shape or text box

An example of mirrored text: the first is rotated 180 degrees on the x axis, and the second is rotated 180 degrees on the y axis
  1. Insert a text box or shape in your document, and then type and format your text.

  2. Right-click the box or shape and select Format Shape.

  3. In the Format Shape dialog box, select 3-D Rotation on the left.

    The 3D Rotation options in the Format Shape dialog box
  4. In the X box, enter 180.

  5. Select Close.

Horizonal text in shapes
  1. Click or tap in the paragraph, line of text, shape, or text box that you want to modify.

  2. On the Home tab, select the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

Shapes showing vertical alignment of text

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape, and then select Text Box in the left pane.

    The Format Shape dialog box

  3. Under Text layout, select the option that you want in the Vertical alignment list.

  4. Select Close.

You can automatically increase the size of a shape or text box vertically so that the text fits inside it.

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box that you want to resize.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape, and then select Text box in the left pane.

    The Format Shape dialog box

  3. Under Autofit, select Resize shape to fit text.

  4. Select Close.

Tip: You can reduce the size of the text to fit it in the shape or text box by selecting Shrink text on overflow.

The internal margin is the changeable distance between text and the outer border of a shape or text box.

  1. Right-click the border of the shape or text box.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape, and then select Text Box in the left pane.

    The Format Shape dialog box

  3. Under Internal Margin, choose one or more of the following:

    • Left     Specifies the distance between the left border of a shape and the text.

    • Right     Specifies the distance between the right border of a shape and the text.

    • Top     Specifies the distance between the top border of a shape and the text.

    • Bottom     Specifies the distance between the bottom border of a shape and the text.

  4. Select Close.

Specify text direction in a shape or text box

  1. Control + Click the border of the shape or text box that contains the text, and then select Format Shape.

  2. In the Format Shape pane on the right, select Text Options.

  3. Select the third icon, Textbox, and then select the option that you want from the Text direction list.

    Text direction is highlighted in the Format Shape pane.

Position text horizontally in a paragraph, text box or shape

  1. Click or tap in the paragraph, line of text, shape, or text box that you want to modify.

  2. Go to Home, and in the Paragraph group, click the horizontal alignment option that you want.

    Text alignment options

You can automatically increase the size of a text box or shape vertically so that the text fits inside it.

  1. Control + Click the border of the shape or text box that you want to resize, and then select Format Shape.

  2. In the Format Shape pane on the right, select Text Options.

  3. Select Layout & Properties, and then select the check box next to Resize shape to fit text.

    Resize text to shape is highlighted in the Format Shape pane.

By default, the text wraps automatically as you type in a text box or shape. If you don't want the text to wrap, do the following:

  1. Control + Click the shape that contains the text, and then select Format Shape.

  2. In the Format Shape pane on the right, select Text Options.

  3. Select Layout & Properties, and then clear the check box next to Wrap text in shape.

Specify text direction in a shape, text box, or table cell

  1. Enter the text in the shape or text box or table cell, and then select the text.

  2. Ctrl+Click the selected text, and then select Format Shape. On the Text Box tab in the dialog box, choose a direction from the Text Direction box.

Position text horizontally in a shape or text box

  1. Select the text in the shape or text box.

  2. On the Home tab, under Paragraph, select the horizontal alignment button that you want.

    Horizontal Text Alignment buttons

    (Align Left, Centered, Align Right, Justified, or Distribute Text)

  1. Select the text in the shape or text box.

  2. On the Home tab, under Paragraph, select Align Text button , and then select the vertical alignment that you want.

By default, the text wraps automatically as you type in a text box or shape. If you don't want the text to wrap, do the following:

  1. Select the text in the shape or text box.

  2. Go to Format > Shape.

  3. On the left side of the dialog box, select Text Box.

  4. Under Internal Margin, clear the Wrap text in shape check box.

  1. Select the text in the shape or text box.

  2. Go to Format > Shape.

    On the Format menu, select Shape.

  3. On the left side of the dialog box, select Text Box.

  4. Under Autofit, select Resize shape to fit text.

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