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How to set vertical text, an angle or a curve in Word

Word isn’t limited to horizontal text, with a little digging on the ribbon you can put text vertically, at an angle, on a curve or even around a shape or picture.

And in Put text around a shape, square or circle in Microsoft Word we’ll look at:

From the archives there’s also Reverse, Mirror or Flip Text in Word –  many different ways

Vertical text in Word

The secret to vertical text in Microsoft Word is the table.

Each cell in a Word table has a text direction option that you can use to reorient text vertically.

Make a single cell table and put your text in the cell.  Most likely remove, the cell border, but that’s up to you.

On the Table | Format tab look for Alignment | Text Direction.

Click on Text Direction to change the orientation.  You’ll probably have to change the width/height of the cell to fit the new text direction.

Vertical reversed

That’s OK but what if you want the text facing the other way?  Just click the Text Direction button a second time.

The text direction menu shows the three options available.  Along the box, facing left or facing right.


Putting text at an angle you choose needs a slightly different approach: a TextBox

Usually, text boxes are for a plain square or rectangles with text as a callout or feature box.  Textboxes can also rotate, which is great for us.

Go to Insert | Text Box, choose simple text box.

Add the text with formatting you want. Choose the text box then click and drag the circular arrow.

If you want the text facing the other way, use the Text Direction option on the Text Box Formatting ribbon.


Putting text along a curve is also possible within a Text Box.

Make your text within a Text Box then go to Formatting | WordArt Effects | Text Effects | Transform | Follow Path.

Leaving aside the ‘Warp’ options which distort the text, look at the four ‘Follow Path’ choices.  Choose the one closest to your needs.

Adjusting the text curve

To change the curve look for the orange dot in the text box.

Click and drag that dot to change the curve that the text flows along.  When you click the orange dot the text will switch to curved view.

Unfortunately, this option is a very blunt instrument.  You can’t fine-tune the curve to flow along a precise curve or path.  Adjustments like that are beyond Microsoft Word.


A reminder that you can also change the overall size of the curved text by changing the text box size. Use the handles in each corner or middle of each size.

Put text around a shape, square or circle in Microsoft Word 

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

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