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: Understanding Paragraph Alignment.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 27, 2014)
One of the fundamental typographic specifications for laying out paragraphs is determining how they will appear in relation to the left and right margins. Word refers to this specification as alignment. There are four types of paragraph alignment you can set within Word:
You can change the alignment of any paragraph by using the appropriate tools on the Formatting toolbar or by displaying the Paragraph dialog box.
There is, in addition, an undocumented paragraph alignment supported in Word: distributed-text justification. This is intended for single-line paragraphs, particularly those that use large font sizes. (For instance, you might be creating labels, signs, or placards.) This type of alignment is the same as justified alignment, except that it affects all the lines in the paragraph. The only way to apply this alignment is through the use of a shortcut key: Ctrl+Shift+J.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1478) 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: Understanding Paragraph Alignment.
Learning Made Easy! Quickly teach yourself how to format, publish, and share your content using Word 2013. With Step by Step, you set the pace, building and practicing the skills you need, just when you need them! Check out Microsoft Word 2013 Step by Step today!
Justified text doesn't always produce the best-looking results. Here's how to avoid some of the choppiness that can occur.Discover More
When you get one paragraph formatted just the way you want, you might want to copy that formatting so it can be applied ...Discover More
When working with spacing between paragraphs, Word allows you to specify exactly how much space should be either before ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.