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: Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line.

Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated August 7, 2018)


This is a quick and dirty tip on how to have seemingly contradictory alignments on the same line. In Word, this trick is done with tabs. In a nutshell, you follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the paragraph is formatted as left-aligned.
  2. Choose the Tabs option from the Format menu. Word displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Tabs dialog box.

  4. Insert a right-aligned tab near the right edge of the line.
  5. Click on Set.
  6. Click on OK.
  7. Type your text. Press the Tab key between the information to be left-aligned and the information you want right-aligned.

This trick works great if the information you are formatting is limited to a single line. As an example, this can easily work for a chapter name and page number in a header or footer. (You know; the chapter name appears at the left and the page number at the right.) If you need to accomplish the same task for multiple lines, then it is best to use a small table with two or three cells. The left-most cell of the table can be for the left-aligned information, and the right-most cell can be used for right-aligned information. The center cell (if you choose to use one) is used for spacing purposes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1000) 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: Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line.

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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What is 4 - 3?

2019-09-23 15:31:25


"Instead" of what, MDS? That video simply shows how to do what I explain how to do in this tip. In other words, it is the same process.


2019-09-23 14:22:43


try this instead:

2019-09-17 14:49:12

T Walsh

This needs more detail. How does one "insert a right aligned tab"? what does one actually do with the tab dialogue box? This is unhelpful in the current format

2019-04-24 19:42:55


Thank you very much! Very handy and useful!

2019-04-10 00:22:08

Lily Makeda

Thank you for these tips. They have been invaluable and I am so grateful for your help!!! LM

2019-02-01 17:28:52


New Step 3. Enter a distance in the "Default tab stops" dialog box (e.g., 5.0"). Click OK or hit the Enter/Return key.

The reason this is quick and dirty is because it changes the default TAB distance in your whole document. Every time you press TAB it will move your text to left-align at the 5.0" mark. Select View tab and check the Ruler box to see the distance.

2019-01-02 00:56:56


That's just a much needed hack Allen. Thank you for that! I'd like to add only one thing to the third step (THAT WORKS ONLY IN THE FOOTER). If you face the problem of not having the number of character that should appear in your right aligned information, or the space needed for, like in case of page number of any large document, which may be of single double, triple digit or anything, while doing "Insert a right-aligned tab near the right edge of the line." just put a big number as the measurement. Don't worry it won't go outside of your document rather this will ensure the right aligned information always at the right most position automatically . And you don't need to go and change the tab spacing everytime the page number digits change.

From the comments , I can see some problem people are facing with this step in general. I'm trying to explain the steps involved.
Go the line where you need to have this>Home ribbon> Paragraph>click on the bottom right explorer>Click on Tabs at bottom left of the dialogue box that appears>Tab stop position, enter a number (max. 55 cm) say, 50 and hit "Set"> It will be then appear on the list below with your predefined unit cm or ">OK>Enter text that you want to be at left> Hit TAB>Enter text that you want to be at right

2018-06-14 17:42:51

Alisha F

I think adding a picture showing the insertion of the number for the "right edge of the line"would be helpful, but your tip + Jim's tip from 12-19-16 helped! I got it! Thank youuuu!!!!

2018-02-17 12:02:54


the important step that you were suppose to show in the picture, you didn't show it. so yeah, thanks no thanks

2018-01-29 16:26:31


This does not make sense.

2017-08-25 16:59:02


I agree, this does not make sense in Word 2010. Step 3.Insert a right-aligned tab near the right edge of the line. is not an possible and I don't understand what that means

2017-03-15 11:27:12


Sorry, I need this tip but it makes no sense. No matter what I do, the right still doesn't align. Could you give a bit more details on the process?

2016-12-19 10:44:09


This works in Microsoft Word for 2016 for the Mac. I'm working on a resume where I want the employer flush left and the dates of employment flush right, on the same line. Following this advice, here's what I did:

* Selected the line I wanted to do this for
* Click Format > Tabs
* Selected "right align" and entered where I wanted the right tab to be (in this case, the end of the line, at 6.5")
* Clicked OK
* Finally, selected all of the space between the employer name and years of employment and clicked "tab"

I did that for every employer, and now all the years line up matchy-matchy.

Thanks so much for this tip! I never would have figured this out on my own.

2014-10-04 05:54:48

Pranab Das

Doesn't work with 2011

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