Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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: Changing Table Cell Text Direction.

Changing Table Cell Text Direction

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated May 21, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Word allows you to quickly change the direction in which the text in a cell faces. For instance, you may want the text to be vertical instead of horizontal. You can change text direction by following these steps:

  1. Right-click your mouse on the cell whose text direction you want to change. A Context menu appears.
  2. Choose Text Direction from the Context menu. The Text Direction dialog box appears. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Text Direction dialog box.

  4. Select the Orientation you want used for your text.
  5. When satisfied, click on OK.

You can also do the same task using the Layout tab of the ribbon. Follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the cell whose orientation you want to change.
  2. Make sure that the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed. (Be careful—there are two layout tabs. You want the second Layout tab, the one for tables. It appears only when you perform step 1.)
  3. Click the Text Direction tool in the Alignment group on the ribbon. Word changes the orientation of the text in the cell.
  4. Continue clicking on the Text Direction tool until the orientation is exactly as you want it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5978) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing Table Cell Text Direction.

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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