Set text direction and position in a shape or text box

Text boxes and most shapes can include text that attaches to 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.

Lines and connectors are shapes that can't have text in them.

Specify text direction in a shape or text box

Text direction samples: horizontal, rotated, and stacked

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.

  2. On the shortcut menu, select Format Shape.

    Format Shape on the shortcut menu

  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.

    Selecting text direction in the Format Shape pane

The Stacked option is available in PowerPoint and Excel, but not Word.

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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 pane, select Effects.

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

  5. (Optional) If your text box becomes filled with a color, you can remove the color in the Format Shape pane. Under Shape Options, click the Fill & Line tab Fill & Line tab , expand Fill, and select No fill.

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

More positioning options

Select a heading below to open it and see the detailed instructions.

Horizonal text in shapes

To change the horizontal alignment of a single paragraph or line:

  1. Click in the paragraph or line of text that you want to modify.

  2. On the Home tab (or the Message tab in Outlook), click the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

To change the horizontal alignment of all text in a shape or text box:

  1. Click the border of the shape or text box to select it.

  2. On the Home tab, (or the Message tab in Outlook), click the horizontal alignment option you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

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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, click Format Shape.

    Format Shape on the shortcut menu

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

    Text box options in the Format Shape pane

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

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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 on the shortcut menu

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

    Wrap text in shape checkbox

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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 on the shortcut menu

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

    Text box options in the Format Shape pane

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

    Margin

    Description

    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

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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, click Format Shape.

    Format Shape on the shortcut menu

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

    Selecting Resize shape to fit text in the Format Shape pane

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

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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.

    Notes: 

    • For additional information about the options in the Text Box pane of the Format Shape dialog box, click Help Help button image at the top of the dialog box.

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.

More positioning options

Select a heading below to open it and see the detailed instructions.

Horizonal text in shapes

To change the horizontal alignment of a single paragraph or line:

  1. Click in the paragraph or line of text that you want to modify.

  2. On the Home tab (or the Message tab in Outlook), click the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

To change the horizontal alignment of all text in a shape or text box:

  1. Click the border of the shape or text box to select it.

  2. On the Home tab, (or the Message tab in Outlook), click the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

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Shapes showing vertical alignment of text

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, click Format Shape, and then click 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.

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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, click Format Shape, and then click Text box in the left pane.

    The Format Shape dialog box

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

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

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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, click Format Shape, and then click Text Box in the left pane.

    The Format Shape dialog box

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

    • To specify the distance between the left border of a shape and the text, enter the new margin number in the Left box.

    • To specify the distance between the right border of a shape and the text, enter the new margin number in the Right box.

    • To specify the distance between the top border of a shape and the text, enter the new margin number in the Top box.

    • To specify the distance between the bottom border of a shape and the text, enter the new margin number in the Bottom box.

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Specify text direction in a shape or text box

Text direction samples: horizontal and rotated

You can change the direction of text in a shape or a text box between horizontal (left to right) and vertical (from the top to the bottom or from the bottom to the top).

Word and Outlook

  1. Double-click the shape or text box to select it and open the Format tab.

  2. On the Format tab, in the Text group, click Text Direction Text Direction . You can click Text Direction multiple times to cycle through the three options (Rotated 90 degrees, Rotated 270 degrees, Horizontal).

PowerPoint

  1. With the text box selected, on the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, click Text Direction Text Direction and select the option you want.

  2. Resize the text box as needed to make the text fit properly in it.

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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

In Office 2007, you can rotate text in Excel or PowerPoint, but not in Word.

  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.

More positioning options

Select a heading below to open it and see the detailed instructions.

Horizonal text in shapes

To change the horizontal alignment of a single paragraph or line:

  1. Click in the paragraph or line of text that you want to modify.

  2. On the Home tab (or the Message tab in Outlook), click the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

To change the horizontal alignment of all text in a shape or text box:

  1. Click the border of the shape or text box to select it.

  2. On the Home tab, (or the Message tab in Outlook), click the horizontal alignment option that you want.

The Paragraph group on the Home tab

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Shapes showing vertical alignment of text

Word and Outlook

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

  2. For a shape, on the shortcut menu, click Format AutoShape, and then click the Text Box tab.

    For a text box, on the shortcut menu, click Format Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

    The Format Shape dialog box

  3. Under Vertical alignment, click the option that you want.

PowerPoint

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, click Format Shape, and then click the Text Box tab.

    The Format Shape dialog box

  3. Under Vertical alignment, click the option that you want.

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When you wrap text, the text automatically starts a new line as you reach the right border of the shape or text box.

Word and Outlook

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, do one of the following:

    • For a shape, click Format AutoShape, and then click the Text Box tab.

      Note: The Text Box tab is unavailable in a shape unless the shape contains text.

    • For a text box, click Format Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

  3. Under Options, select the Word wrap text in AutoShape check box.

PowerPoint

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, click Format Shape, and then click the Text Box tab.

  3. Select the Wrap text in shape check box.

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

Word and Outlook

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, do one of the following:

    • For a shape, click Format AutoShape, and then click the Text Box tab.

      Note: The Text Box tab is unavailable in a shape unless the shape contains text.

    • For a text box, click Format Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

  3. Under Internal margin, enter new margin numbers in the Left, Right, Top, and Bottom boxes to specify the distance between the borders of the shape and the text.

PowerPoint

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, click Format Shape, and then click the Text Box tab.

  3. Under Internal margin, enter new margin numbers in the Left, Right, Top, and Bottom boxes to specify the distance between the borders of the shape and the text.

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

Word and Outlook

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, do one of the following:

    • For a shape, click Format AutoShape, and then click the Text Box tab.

      Note: The Text Box tab is unavailable in a shape unless the shape contains text.

    • For a text box, click Format Text Box, and then click the Text Box tab.

  3. Under Options, select the Resize AutoShape to fit text check box.

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

PowerPoint

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

  2. On the shortcut menu, click Format Shape, and then click the Text Box tab.

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

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

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See Also

Wrap text around a circle or other shape

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