Letters Bunched Up at the Left of the Page

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated April 27, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Something seems very odd with Skip's Word documents. When he creates a new document and starts typing, all of the characters he types are at the left margin, jumbled on top of each other. (Sort of like they are "piled up" in a single character space.) If he clicks one of the paragraph alignment tools (such as Right or Center), then the paragraph will behave properly. Skip is at a loss as to what is causing this problem and how he can fix it.

This is very odd, indeed. There are, however, a few things you can check. First, it is possible that your Normal template is corrupted or on the verge of being corrupted. The easiest way to check if this is the case is to get out of Word and use the search capabilities to find the Normal template (it will be named something like Normal.dotx or Normal.dotm) and rename it to something else, such as OldNormal. When you restart Word, the program will not be able to find the template, so anything in that template won't be applied to the new document. If the problem doesn't occur, you know that the issue is with the Normal template.

If that doesn't fix the issue, then you may want to check to see if the paragraph has some weird setting in play, such as being set to a right-to-left language (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) for proofing. You might also display the Paragraph dialog box and check the settings to see if the margins are extremely wide.

Finally, it is possible that there is a problem with whatever font is being used for the paragraph. If the font file is messed up (perhaps it has its horizontal spacing corrupted), then you could get all sorts of weird effects. You can check this by simply selecting the paragraph and applying a different font to the text. If it spaces out normally, that is a strong indicator that it may be a font issue. Apply the original font back to the paragraph's text, and if the letters again bunch up, then that cinches it as a font issue.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (953) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

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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