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Upside-Down Printing

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Upside-Down Printing.

For some printing jobs, you may have a need to print text both rightside-up and upside-down on the same piece of paper. Unfortunately, Word doesn't have a way to easily do this, instead only allowing you to rotate text 90 degrees left or right. (To print something upside down you need to rotate it 180 degrees.)

There are several workarounds you can try, however. First, if the information you have to print upside down is fairly short, you could use WordArt. Your text is actually saved in your document as a graphics object, which Word allows you to rotate freely on the page. The only drawback to this is that WordArt doesn't give you the range of text control that Word does, and it was never meant to handle large selections of text, such as a quarter page or a half page of information.

Another option is to create your text in a different application and then insert it into Word as an object. (This is very similar to the WordArt approach, as you are dealing with non-Word objects within Word.) For instance, you could create a fully rotated text object within PowerPoint and then insert it in your Word document.

If you have access to a graphics program, such as Paint Shop Pro, you could also try these steps:

  1. Within Word, type and format your text as you want it.
  2. Select the paragraphs you want to ultimately be upside down.
  3. Press Ctrl+C to copy the paragraphs to the Clipboard.
  4. Switch to Paint Shop Pro and press Ctrl+V. The Meta Picture Import dialog box appears.
  5. Click on OK. Your text now appears as a graphic image within PSP.
  6. Press Ctrl+R to display the Rotate dialog box.
  7. In the dialog box, choose 180.
  8. Click on OK. Your text is now upside down.
  9. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the graphic image back to the Clipboard.
  10. Switch to Word and press Ctrl+V. The graphic image (which is your text) appears in the Word document.

Now you can position your upside-down text anywhere you want. Of course, if you want to make changes to the upside-down text, you can't do so without redoing all these steps. Why? Because the upside-down information is not really text, but a graphic image. These same general steps will work with most other graphics programs as well (such as Paint).

As mentioned earlier, Word allows you to rotate text 90 degrees either left or right. This capability can be utilized to achieve the look that is wanted. Try these general steps:

  1. Create a document using landscape orientation.
  2. Put a two-cell table in the document.
  3. In the left cell, place the text you want to be rightside-up.
  4. In the right cell, place the text you want to be upside-down.
  5. Rotate the text in the left cell by 90 degrees to the left.
  6. Rotate the text in the right cell by 90 degrees to the right.

The result, of course, is that you have text that is 180 degrees in relation to each other, which means it appears upside down when printed. Formatting text using this approach can be a bit challenging, but for some uses it may be an easy way to achieve the desired result.

Finally, perhaps the two easiest solutions don't even use Word at all. First, you could use a different program (such as Publisher) that supports upside-down text. Second, you could simply put your paper through the printer twice—once for the rightside-up text and once for the upside-down text. (Of course, you would have to rotate the paper by 180 degrees for each printing pass.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (8341) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Upside-Down Printing.

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Comments for this tip:

Ronald Pederson    20 Mar 2014, 11:35
20 Mar 2014, 02:30, Ian Hill wrote "Same issue as Ronald Pedersen..." Please read comment by Ronald Pederson later that same morning at 11:32 - create a text box, put in text, rotate text 90 deg, rotate text box 90 deg --> text appears upside down, and prints upside down.
Ian Hill    20 Mar 2014, 02:30
Same issue as Ronald Pedersen. Word 2010, text readied for printing on paper to be slid into transparent plastic table-top nameplates (Rexel 90036 - see www.acco.com.au). Two lines of text per page and on-screen, one line upside down and right-side up so that it can be inserted into the nameplate holder. The upside down text is held in Word text-boxes which have been rotated upside down.

BUT, although it looks correct on-screen, the printed version has ALL the text right-side up - the upside-down lines are turned right-side up (aaargh!).

To double-check that it wasn't the printer, I tried saving the Word doc to PDF. On the the PDF it appears exactly as on paper - upside down text inappropriate inverted right-side up. So the issue appears to be with word.

Johann Swart    31 Jan 2014, 13:41
I tried the 180° rotated text box method and printed on my HPLJ 1320 with a PCL6 driver; it works just fine. Even printing to PDF yields a satisfactory print.
Steve Susoyev    30 Jan 2014, 21:32
Hi, friends. Thanks for this topic, as there's nothing in Word's documentation explaining how to do it.
In my law firm we often place mail-merge field codes into text boxes. As long as the file is saved with the .docx extension, each text box can be rotated 180 degrees and the text (and merge codes) in the text box rotate also.
This works well for SEC forms, stock certificates, and other Word files that require upside-down text.
In an environment where you're using "compatibilty mode," Word 2010 is stuck with earlier formatting conventions of the .doc extension, and this feature isn't available. But a quick "save-as" with the .docx extension, then creating NEW text boxes, allows upside-down text in text boxes (or shapes).
Ronald Pederson    02 Nov 2013, 11:32
I played with it some more and got it to work. I have printed text rotated 90 deg many times, so I tried:
1. Create a text box, insert some text.
2. Select the text and rotate it 90 deg CCW.
3. Now select the text box and rotate it 90 deg CCW.
The text appears upside-down on the screen, in the Print preview, AND coming out of the printer
Ronald Pederson    02 Nov 2013, 10:23
I have tried the "Text Box" approach (insert text box, insert text into the box, select text box and flip it vertically) and it flips the text on the page OK. I preview the Print and it looks OK. When the sheet comes out of the printer, the text is NOT upside-down.

HP computer, Win 7, Word 2010, HP Laserjet M2727nf printer AND Kodak color injet.

Same result on both printers, so I guess it's a Word problem.

Any ideas????
Harold Atkinson    06 Sep 2012, 03:32
I am interested in using mail merge and a database to print my students names and id numbers on labels.
The labels are then attached to the edge of a folder to mark them showing their names and student ID. This means that ideally I want to be able to mail merge from the database to the label maker with students details printing to the label twice one opposite or upside down.

I think your idea of 180 degree rotation may best be the solution allowing for reverse printing of the fields and then reorienting the page to landscape mode (If I can) It probably means a massive readjustment of the labels be customising.

Any suggestions howeve would be much appreciated

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