Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 Text Orientation.

Changing Text Orientation

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 1, 2021)


Word provides you with the capability of changing the orientation of your text, provided that the text is within a shape, text box, or table cell. This means that you can rotate this type of text ninety degrees, in either direction, from its normal appearance.

Changing text orientation is easy. Select the shape, text box, or table cell that contains the text whose orientation you want to change. When you do so, Word should display a ribbon tab specific to whatever you selected. That ribbon tab should have a control, somewhere on it, named Text Direction. (If it is not visible on the ribbon tab, check to see if there are two special ribbon tabs for the object you selected. If so, chances are good that the Text Direction control is on the other tab.)

Click the Text Direction control, and the text in the object is rotated to a different direction. Keep clicking, and Word steps through the available orientations until you get to the one you want.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5986) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing Text Orientation.

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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What is four more than 1?

2017-08-24 10:04:55


Diane, have you tried actually putting the table in landscape mode instead of just turning the text around? Put section breaks before and after the table, and then format the orientation of just that section in landscape mode.

2017-08-23 16:36:24


In Word 2016, I have a table that is several pages long. If I leave the text direction as is, rows naturally spill over to the next page and the header row repeats--no problem there. But if I change the text direction in the table so the table appears landscaped, is there a way to get additional rows to flow to the following page? Everything I have tried seems to suggest that changing text direction in a table only works if the table fits on a single page.

2015-10-13 16:00:58

Becky W

You have to rotate the whole text box, which rotates the text.

2015-10-10 14:02:30

Grace M.

I have worked with this tip (Changing Text Orientation) and find that it works in a table cell but it does not work in a text box in Word 2010. Although the two controls come up, the Text Orientation option is missing on both controls for the text box.

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