If you have ever used a basic text editing application like Notepad then you may have found it difficult to format and position text in the manner that you were hoping. Luckily some more advanced word processing applications like Microsoft Word exist, and they offer a wide range of formatting choices that will help you to create the appearance that you need for your document.
Microsoft Word offers a lot of options for customizing documents, so much so that it can be tough to figure out how to do simple things like modifying the styling of the text in Word documents, or correctly positioning your text at the desired location on the page.
One of the most fundamental elements in formatting text is aligning it. Luckily, whether you need left or center-aligned text on a page, Microsoft Word has an option that will let you make this adjustment.
This guide will help make things easier for you by explaining how to center text in the middle of the page in Word, as well as how to make other page formatting adjustments like page size, margins, and page orientation.
What is the Difference Between Vertical Alignment and Horizontal Alignment in Microsoft Word?
Microsoft Word is a versatile tool that can be used to organize and create documents. The alignment in the program refers to how text appears on the page relative to the margins on either side of the page, as well as the top and bottom.
By default, a new document in Microsoft Word will have left horizontal alignment and top vertical alignment. This means that the first line of a document will start at the left side of the page, on the first line at the top of the page. Unless you are typing in a language that goes right to left, in which case it will start at the right side of the page.
Vertical alignment can be determined by the top and bottom margins. In contrast, Horizontal alignment is determined by the left side and the right side margins.
Document cover pages, or title pages, often use both horizontal and vertical alignment formatting as it allows for adjustments of titles without removing or adding manual line breaks.
The vertical alignment option has fewer uses than the horizontal one, simply because the vertical alignment of a page is going to be impacted more significantly by the presence of additional content on a page.
How to Do Horizontal Center Alignment in Microsoft Word
Word for Office 365, much like previous versions such as Word 2010, Word 2013, and Word 2016, includes some easily accessible alignment buttons. These let you select text then apply left, right, or center alignment to that selection. Here is how you can center the text on Microsoft Word:
- Highlight the text you want to center. If you already have text in the document, just click and hold your mouse cursor to select it. You don’t need to select the text if you are working with a new blank document.
- Click the Home tab at the top of the window if it’s not already selected.
- Find the Left Align, Center, and Right Align buttons in the Paragraph group of the ribbon.
- Click the Center button.
- The text in the document should update instantly to reflect the new horizontal alignment.
- You can then click anywhere in the document to deselect the highlighted text and continue editing.
In case the text wasn’t center-aligned, see if you had accidentally deselected the text and follow the above-mentioned instructions again. If you still aren’t able to center align text, then check to see if there are any blank spaces before or after the text. Often people will try to manually add blank spaces to center text which will affect the actual center alignment feature in the application.
If you are working on a blank document, you can start by clicking the center align button first. Any text that you will type after clicking the center align button will automatically be center aligned.
Using the Ctrl+E Keyboard Shortcut for Center Horizontal Alignment in Word
You can also use the Ctrl+E button as a keyboard combination to align text left or center. Pressing this key combination will allow back and forth switching from left to center alignment of text.
- Use the Ctrl+E key combination to center or left-align the text while the text is highlighted.
- When you press Ctrl+E while text is highlighted, the text will be centered.
- If you press Ctrl+E again, the text will come back to its original place and will be aligned left.
- If you press Ctrl+E without any text on the document, any text you type afterward will automatically be center aligned.
Essentially you can press Ctrl + E on your keyboard to toggle between left and center alignment.
Using the Left and Right Align Buttons in Word
These two other buttons work in the same way as the center align button. These are right next to the center align button and work similarly.
As we mentioned earlier, text is left aligned in Microsoft Word by default. If you switch to right alignment then the text will start along the right margin instead of the left, and will proceed to the next line as necessary. This is going to leave space at the left side of the page instead of the right.
When you use the Justify button that appears next to the Left, Center, and Right align buttons, the text will be automatically spaced to fill the body of the document between the left and right margins.
Vertical Alignment in a Word Document
Vertical alignment comes in handy when you want to position the text evenly in between the upper and lower margins. In many cases, this is going to be used when you have a small amount of text that you want at the center of the page instead of the top, such as when creating title pages or documents with a limited amount of content.
How to Change Vertical Alignment in Word for Office 365
You can change your text’s vertical alignment in Microsoft Word by changing it to top, bottom, center, or justified.
- Top aligned adjusts the text on the top margin at the same height as the top margin.
- Bottom-aligned does exactly the same with the bottom margin.
- Center aligned is used to allow the text to appear even between both margins.
- Justified allows text to have equal spacing from each side for optimal readability.
If you want to vertically align the text on Word, follow these steps:
- Click the Layout tab in the toolbar.
- In the Page Setup group, click on the small icon which is at the bottom-right corner.
- You will see the Page Setup dialogue box pop up at the center of the window.
- Select the Layout tab.
- Click the Vertical Alignment dropdown. You will find it in the Page section of this menu.
- You will see vertical alignment options including Top, Center, Justified, and Bottom
- Click the Center option from the list.
- Click OK to apply the change.
- Your text will now be center-aligned.
- You can also select a different option if you want to align your text Top, Justified or Bottom.
If you aren’t sure which option to use you can always click the Vertical Alignment drop down and try out the different options until you get the desired result.
If you would like to use the selected vertical alignment for future documents that you create then you can click the Save as Default button at the bottom left corner of the window. This applies to any other changes you make on this window, such as headers and footers or borders.
Vertically Aligning Specific Text Through the Page Setup Dialog Box
The steps in the section above ideal if you want to vertically center everything in your document. If you want to vertically align only a specific section of text from your document, follow these steps:
- Start by highlighting the text that you want to vertically align.
- After selecting the text, click the Layout tab.
- Click the small Page Setup button at the bottom right of the Page Setup section of the ribbon.
- Click the Layout tab at the top of the window.
- Choose the desired vertical alignment.
- Click on the drop-down menu which you will find next to Apply To, then click Selected Text.
- Click on OK for the changes to take effect.
Some Additional Page Setup Options in Word
Word also offers Landscape and Portrait page orientation options. Page orientation can greatly affect images and text on your document. Especially the text spacing and appearance of the image.
- Your page will be oriented horizontally if you choose the Landscape page orientation. In landscape orientation the long side of the page is at the top and bottom.
- Whereas, if you want to orient your page vertically you can choose the Portrait mode. In portrait orientation the long side of the page is at the left and right of the page.
How to Change Page Orientation
Follow these steps to change the page orientation of your document in Word.
- Click the Layout tab.
- Select the Orientation button in the Page Setup section of the ribbon.
- From the drop-down menu select either Landscape or Portrait.
- Your page orientation will be changed according to your selection.
If you already had content in your document then you will want to scan through everything to make sure that nothing was moved significantly by this page orientation change.
How To Change Page Size in Microsoft Word
The default page size of a new Word document is 8.5 x 11 inches if you live in a country that uses letter sized paper predominantly. You might want to adjust the page size as per your requirements and the kind of project you are working on.
However, check if your printer can print the page size you have selected. You would like to perform this verification before changing the page size on Word or it can mess up your project.
Word allows you several Page size modifications. To change the Page size to any of the predefined page sizes, follow these steps.
- Go to the Layout tab and click on Size.
- This will open the Size drop-down menu.
- You will see the default or current page size highlighted.
- From this menu, you can select your preferred page size.
- Click on your preferred page size for changes to take effect.
If you are going to be printing this document from your computer make sure that you have adjusted your printer settings accordingly. You can run into issues when trying to print a size of paper to a printer that is configured for something else.
Selecting A Custom Page Size in Word
In addition to predefined page sizes, Word also allows you to set custom page sizes. To change your page size to a custom one, follow these steps.
- Select Size from the Layout menu.
- In the drop-down menu, select More Paper Sizes.
- This will open a dialogue box.
- From the Page Setup dialogue box, enter height and width values according to your requirements.
- Once you have entered your preferred height and width, click on OK for the changes to take effect.
As mentioned in the previous section about page sizes, it’s important to ensure that your printer is set up appropriately for this change. Many printers have trouble with unusual size documents, which can cause print jobs to get stuck in the queue.
How to Change Page Margins in Microsoft Word
The space between the text and the edge of your documents is called a Margin. These are set to Normal by default. These default margins mean that there is a one-inch space between each edge and the text.
Words allow you to alter these margins depending on your project and requirements.
Here is how you can change page margins. You can choose from several predefined margins to suit your needs.
- Go to the Layout tab and click Margins.
- This will open a drop-down menu.
- In the drop-down menu select your preferred margin size.
- This will change the page margin size.
While increasing or decreasing the margin size can affect the page count, most teachers or professors are aware of this and will notice if you are adjusting your page margins in an effort to meet minimum page requirements.
How to Do Custom Margins in Microsoft Word
You can also use custom margins in Word. Follow these steps to use a margin size that is not one of the default options listed.
- In the Layout Tab, select Margins.
- In the drop-down menu select Custom Margins.
- This will open the Page Setup dialogue box.
- After adjusting the margin values, click the OK button for the changes to take effect.
More Information on How to Center Text in the Middle of the Page in Word
If you change the alignment option on a page then you will need to change it back to stop Word from centering, left aligning, or right aligning the text that appears after the text that you were formatting.
Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Powerpoint also have ways for you to change the alignment of text in your cells or slides. In Excel the alignment options are found in the Alignment section of the Home tab. In Powerpoint the alignment options are found in the Paragraph section of the Home tab.
In older versions of Word you might need to select the Page Layout tab rather than the Layout tab that you would find in newer versions of Word.
If you need to add page numbers to the top or bottom corner of the page you can do so selecting the Insert tab at the top of the window, then click the Page Number button and choose the desired location for the page numbers.