Ever since Word 2013 there’s been a line alignment bug in Word. Line and Arrow shapes aren’t straight, horizontal or vertical. Here’s how to fix this seven year (and counting) bug.
Whenever a line or arrow is inserted (Insert | Shapes | Lines ) the result is always a little off. The end points never align properly either horizontally or vertically.
It’s not possible to move one end to exactly match the other end and make a horizontal or vertical line. It will snap either side of the correct alignment but not exactly in line.
The result is a slightly askew line at a slope or diagonal no matter what you try. Holding Shift doesn’t help because the Shift + option moves the entire object in small increments, not just one end.
Hold Shift while drawing
What DOES work is drawing a line/arrow while holding down the Shift key. Holding Shift while drawing forces the line to horizontal, vertical or 45° angles.
Fix lines to horizontal or vertical
To fix a line that’s not quite horizontal/vertical, go to Layout Options | See More …
On the Size tab, look at Height | Absolute – it will be slightly off.
NOT the Rotation or Scale | Height settings.
Change Height | Absolute to 0 (zero)
And lo! A horizontal line
We suggest leaving this setting to last because Word has the annoying habit of resetting to the non-zero value when the line is changed.
Make lines vertical
It’s the same for vertical lines except that the Width | Absolute changes to 0 (zero)
Word for Mac
It’s the same problem in Word for Mac. Right-click on the line/arrow then More Layout Options | Size …
For a horizontal line, make sure Height is 0 (zero)
For a vertical line, make the Width 0 (zero)
It’s a bug
You’d think drawing a simple horizontal or vertical line would be simple thing to do in such long-standing software as Microsoft Word. That doesn’t take into account Microsoft’s willingness to add more features to their software while ignoring the basic needs of customers.
It’s a bug in Word … no doubt about it. Microsoft would probably try to argue that Word is working as designed … they’d even say that with a straight face.
PowerPoint does not have the same problem. Lines align horizontally or vertically first time. The same Height / Width settings are available in Powerpoint but they should not be necessary to fix the alignment bug.