Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. 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: Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line.

Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 27, 2018)

17

This is a quick and dirty tip on how to have seemingly contradictory alignments on the same line. In Word, this trick is done with tabs. In a nutshell, you follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the paragraph is formatted as left-aligned.
  2. Display the Home tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the small icon at the bottom-right of the Paragraph group. Word displays the Paragraph dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Paragraph dialog box.

  5. Click the Tabs button. Word displays the Tabs dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Tabs dialog box.

  7. What you want to do is to insert a right-aligned tab near the right edge of the line. For instance, if 6.2 is near the right edge of the line, then insert 6.2 in the Tab Stop Position field. (This indicates you want the tab stop to be 6.2 inches from the left margin.)
  8. In the Alignment area, click Right. (This tells Word that this will be a right-aligned tab, just like you want.)
  9. Click on Set.
  10. Click on OK. Word closes the Tabs dialog box.

Now you can type your text, pressing the Tab key between the information you want left-aligned and the information you want right-aligned. The right-aligned information will align at whatever horizontal point you specified in step 5. (Thus, if you used the example measurement of 6.2 inches, then your text—what you type after the Tab—will end at 6.2 inches from the left margin.)

This trick works great if the information you are formatting is limited to a single line. As an example, this can easily work for a chapter name and page number in a header or footer. (You know; the chapter name appears at the left and the page number at the right.)

If you need to accomplish the same task for multiple lines, then it is best to use a small table with two or three cells. The left-most cell of the table can be for the left-aligned information, and the right-most cell can be used for right-aligned information. The center cell (if you choose to use one) is used for spacing purposes.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (6826) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Flush Left and Flush Right On the Same Line.

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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Comments

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What is 1 + 3?

2021-11-20 12:06:11

Jeff

This did not work for me. It's not clear what I did wrong, or didn't do. I did all the steps exactly as described, multiple times, and there was no change in how the tab key behaved. I tried highlighting the text I wanted right justified first, still no effect. Pressing the tab key after following these steps yields exactly the same behavior as before doing these steps. I'm using Office version 2110, Build 14527.20234.


2021-09-18 21:36:16

Laura

It didn't work for me. I'm confused.


2021-05-20 16:41:36

Jas

This is GOLD!!! Thank you so much


2021-02-25 19:09:07

Angela

Thank you! This particular issue has been a problem for me for a number of years. I'm glad to finally have a way to deal with it!


2020-10-05 18:24:07

Tiffany

Hello, thank you for this. I am revamping my resume. I need all the dates and phone numbers to be right justified each line that is already flush left. While this tip helped me align the second set of info from where it starts. How do I do so from where the second set of info ends on that line? I hope that makes sense. Thank you.


2020-09-09 02:52:18

LL

This was so helpful, thank you!


2020-08-04 04:32:40

KK

I was looking for this solution from last so many months... finally when Googled, i got this. Thank you.


2020-06-10 09:59:52

Courtney

Thank you for posting this! Totally worked some magic!


2020-04-30 09:29:27

Paul Stregevsky

I use 3-cell invisible tables in my headers and footers. Even if I don't have content in the center today, I might want to put something there (like a disclaimer) tomorrow.
As a reminder, your table cells will likely come with some cell padding--say, 0.08 inch left and right. To right-align your text with the right margin of the page, be sure to remove the cell padding or extend the table a bit into the page's right margin.


2020-04-30 09:27:01

Paul Stregevsky

Ken,
If you have a multiline footer, lines 2 and later of the right-justified text will be flush-right, just like line 1. It will not snap to the left end of the right cell.


2020-04-30 09:22:25

Paul Stregevsky

Wayne,
To center-align some text and right-align other text, use an invisible table with 1 row x 3 cells.


2020-04-29 09:34:52

Ken Weatherford

If you have a multi line footer. Where is the second line justified on the outside margin? Is it justified flush right or left justified in the third column of the invisible table?


2019-08-24 14:45:20

Wayne Carpenter

This didn't work when wanting text both centered and right hand justified.


2019-03-26 12:01:12

Clay Wisner

OK, now I need to apologize - I studied up a little more on tabs and have solved this dilemma.


2019-03-26 11:47:32

Clay Wisner

i'm sorry, this is a mostly useless option. I have seen left and right-aligned headers with multiple lines (happens nearly every day in my work) but I can't figure out how they make it work. SO frustrating. it's definitely NOT a table.


2019-01-23 00:27:32

Doyle

Awesome Post, you saved the day for me on the Flush Left & Flush Right on the Same Line article. I used it on the Table of Contents page of our Emergency Response Plan. I subscribed to your Word & Excel Tips.


2018-10-27 08:21:21

Bruce

Thanks again, Allen, for yet another incredibly useful tip. I've spent years trying to approximate this effect, always wondering if there was a better way...


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