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: Rotating Fractions in a Text Box.

Rotating Fractions in a Text Box

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 11, 2015)

Joan is a math teacher and wants to create triangles with different fractions labeled each side. She needs to rotate each fraction so the numerator is touching each side of the triangle and wonders how to accomplish this.

Word is a wonderful program for creating documents that primarily contain text. There are times when graphics are needed, however. (You know—a picture is worth a thousand words.) Placing graphics in Word is possible, but if you need to modify the graphics, the existing editing options may limit what you can do. For these tasks you might want to consider using a graphics program. Microsoft PowerPoint and Publisher, as well as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, are examples of programs that are designed to create and manipulate graphics much better than Word can.

However, if Word is the only resource available to you, there are a couple of options that will allow you to accomplish the task at hand. Creating the fractions in WordArt will provide the flexibility needed to freely rotate them to align with the sides of the triangle.

  1. Choose Insert | Picture | WordArt. Word displays the WordArt Gallery dialog box.
  2. Click on the desired WordArt style.. (For this task, you will want to make the fraction look as close as possible to ordinary text.)
  3. Click OK. Word displays the Edit WordArt Text dialog box.
  4. Enter the fraction in the text box section of the dialog box.
  5. Change the font and font size, as desired, using the Font and Size pull down lists.
  6. Click OK. The fraction appears, as a WordArt object, in your document as you specified.

Now that you have created the WordArt, rotating is easy.

  1. Click once on the WordArt object to select it. Small boxes called handles appear around the object.
  2. Select WordArt in the Format menu. Word displays the Format WordArt dialog box.
  3. Click on the Layout tab. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Layout tab of the Format WordArt dialog box.

  5. Select the Tight wrapping style.
  6. Click OK. Open circles appear around the WordArt object with a green circle just above the center of the object.
  7. Click on the green circle and you can freely rotate the WordArt box so that it aligns with whatever side of the triangle you want.

Another option involves the use of a graphics program. The following general steps will get the fractions into a format that can be rotated within Word.

  1. Create the fraction in the program of your choice and save it as a graphic file, such a jpg.
  2. In Word, choose Insert | Picture | From File. Word displays the Insert Picture dialog box.
  3. Select the file you created in the graphics program.
  4. Click OK. The picture appears in your document.
  5. Select the picture.
  6. Use the handles to adjust the size of the picture, as desired.
  7. Choose Format | Picture. Word displays the Format Picture dialog box.
  8. Click on the Layout tab.
  9. Select the Tight wrapping style.
  10. Click OK. Open circles appear around the picture with a green circle just above the center of the picture.
  11. Click on the green circle and you can freely rotate the picture.

If you are using a program that only has rudimentary text handling capabilities, such as Paint, you may want to create the fraction in Word, take a screen shot of the graphic, and then use the program to trim the image. You can then use the edited graphics file in the above steps (2 through 11). You can experiment to find the one that works best for you.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8054) 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: Rotating Fractions in 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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