Word 2010 Alignment Options

The alignment options in Microsoft Word 2010 align your text relative to the left and right margins of your document. These options can be found on the home tab, in the Paragraph group. The best way to explain how they work is to illustrate with an example, so let's select the first paragraph in our sample document and go through each alignment option.

Aligning Text Left To Right

The first option, which is Align Text Left aligns the text to the left margin, and that's the default option that you can see on this first paragraph now.

The second option, centre, simply centres the text between the two margins, like so.

There is a visual clue, too, on each of the buttons which shows how your selected text will look when you click on that button. So you can probably guess, looking at the Align Text Right button, that's how the text is going to look. And if we do that, we can see that the text is now aligned to the right margin.

Justify aligns your text to both left and right margins, and that makes the text look very neat and tidy. We'll change the text back to left align now.

Aligning Text Top To Bottom

So far we've been looking at aligning text from left to right - horizontally - but we can also align text vertically, from top to bottom too. Let's insert a page break here, just after the first paragraph by pressing ctrl and Enter on the keyboard. What we'll do is select the heading and the first paragraph. Let's go to the Page Layout tab, and in the Page Setup group click on the dialogue launcher here. Now, we need to go to the Layout tab, so we'll click on that, and half way down we can see Vertical Alignment. At the moment it's set to Top, so that's why everything is top-aligned. But if we change that to Centre and click OK, you can see that now the selected text appears in the centre of the page in the vertical direction, not horizontally like we've seen before.

Aligning your text to the centre like we've just done would be a good idea if you were creating something like a title page. If you were going to do that then you would probably go to the Home tab and centre the text horizontally as well.

Let's go back to the Page Layout tab and open up the Page Setup window again. Now, we chose Vertical Alignment: Centre, but if you look down here, you can see that we've left the Apply to option as the whole document. So, closing that down, if we look at the second page, the vertical centre alignment option has been applied to the second page as well. So, what we'll do is ctrl-z to undo that, and once again, so everything is now aligned to the top. And just making sure - yes the text is still selected, but this time when we go into the Page Setup window, we are going to change the vertical alignment to centre and change the apply to to be just the selected text. So, clicking OK, that's centred the selected text only. And just going down to the other text, that remains aligned to the top of the document, as we'd hoped.