Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Changing Orientation of a Text Box.

Changing Orientation of a Text Box

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated June 16, 2018)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Once a text box has been added to your document, you may want to rotate it and thereby change its orientation. Unfortunately, Word does not allow you to rotate a text box. Instead, you must resize the text box to achieve the desired effect. You can do that by using the handles that appear on the text box when you select it, but a more precise way is by following these steps:

  1. Right-click on the text box. This displays a Context menu.
  2. Choose the Format Text Box option from the Context menu. Word displays the Format Text Box dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Size tab is selected. (See Figure 1.) (Note that the Rotation control on the Size tab is grayed out. You cannot use this control with text boxes; it is only available with AutoShapes.)
  4. Figure 1. The Size tab of the Format Text Box dialog box.

  5. Make note of the height and width settings for the text box.
  6. Switch the height and width settings by typing them into the appropriate boxes on the dialog box.
  7. Click on OK.

Notice that the rotation (resizing) of the text box does not result in the rotation of text within the text box. Instead, the text is simply reformatted to the new text box dimensions.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (965) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Changing Orientation of a Text Box.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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