Reverse, Mirror or Flip Text in Word - many different ways

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Occasionally you need a ‘reverse’ ‘mirror’ or ‘flip’ effect in a Word document.  When people say those terms they can mean different things so we’ll look at many options and how to do them.

  • Mirror horizontal
  • Mirror vertically
  • Reverse vertically
  • Reverse vertically and horizontal mirror combined
  • Reverse horizontally (aka mirrored text only)
  • Vertically oriented text
  • Free form twisting of text in 3-D

Mirror horizontal

Let’s start with an easy one. A mirror / reflection effect like this ‘Half Reflection – touching’ preset.

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Or one of the many variations in the reflection amount and gap between text and reflection.

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Select the text then go to Home | Font and pull-down the Text Effects menu to choose Reflection.

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There are various preset options or go to ‘Reflection Options…’ to see all your choices in a pane.

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Start with a preset then adjust the settings to what you exactly want.  The above extreme settings give you the most ‘reflection’.

Transparency – how opaque or solid the mirrored text is.  0% is solid 100% is invisible.

Size – the size or extent of the mirrored text.  0% shows no mirror text at all.

Blur – a fuzzy effect on the mirrored text.  0pt is sharp text.

Distance – the distance between the bottom of the main text and the start of the reflected text.

The right-hand pane lets you play with the settings and see a live preview of the results.

You can combine reflection with other text effects like Shadow.

Reverse vertically

Sadly there’s no simple equivalent for vertically reversed text but it’s not a lot harder.  All you have to do is put the text in a Text Box, then you get the 3D Rotation option necessary.

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Go to Insert | Text Box and choose a simple preset.

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Sadly there’s no ‘blank’ text box preset.  To get rid of the box lines go to the Format Shape pane, Shape Options | Fill & Line | Line and choose No Line.

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Type some text in in the text box and format it just like any other text.  Resize the text box with the handles in each corner so the text fits within the box.

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In the Format Shape pane, Text Options, Text Effects then scroll down to 3-D Rotation (an option missing from text formatting outside a text box).

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Change the X Rotation value to 180° and lo! the text flips!  This effect applies to all the text inside the text box.

Both effects together

The smarties among you will have figured out that you can combine both effects into one.  Why you’d want to do such an unreadable thing is an entirely separate question.

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Format the text within a text box then go to Format Shape | Text Options.  Change both Reflection and 3-D Rotation to suit.

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There’s an alternative way to do the reflection.  Instead of reflecting the text inside the text box, you can mirror the entire text box. Here’s an example with the text box frame visible so you can see the difference.  The reflected text is outside the text box frame.

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For text only, this makes little difference but add some other elements in the text box like images to see how mirroring the entire text box is worth keeping in mind.

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Mirror vertically

Word only supports horizontal or X axis mirroring directly.  We can’t see any way to mirror vertically somewhat like this.

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The only workaround is to make a text box with the same text, rotate 180° on the X axis and position next to the original text.

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Vertical Text

Text Boxes also let you position text vertically.  Select the Text Box then Drawing Tools | Text Direction | Rotate all text either 90° or 270°.

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As you can see, only the text is rotated.  You have to manually rotate other elements, like images, within the text box.

Or you can rotate the entire text box.  This also gives you more options than the three available for rotating text alone.  Go to Drawing Tools | Format | Arrange | Rotate.  Choose one of the four options available or go to More Rotation Options to enter an exact degree of rotation.

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Mirror text only

Maybe you don’t want the upright text, just the mirror imaged text.   Do that in a text box.  It’s the same process as for ‘Reverse Vertically’ mentioned above but now do a 180° on the Y Rotation (vertical axis) at Format Shape | Text Options | Text Effect | 3-D Rotation.

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Any way you like

By all means, play with the X Y and Z rotation options to orient the text as you wish.

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Windows Paint

Some people suggest using Windows Paint to re-orient text.  As you can see above, modern Word can handle pretty much any orientation you need.

It’s certainly possible to do some of that with Paint or many other drawing tools – but Word has enough for most purposes.

Printer options

For entire pages, there may be flip or mirror choices available in your printer.  If you install the manufacturers print drivers, it will give you a lot more choices than the plain Windows driver.  Among those choices might be some to flip pages.

Exactly what’s available depends on your printer and software.  As an example, in Word’s Print dialog/pane, choose Printer  Properties.  In our test Brother printer under Advanced there’s a Mirror Print option.

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That will flip the page horizontally so text looks like this:

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Check your printer properties to see what’s possible.

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