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: Upside-Down Printing.

Upside-Down Printing

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 23, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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 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 your graphics program and press Ctrl+V. The text should now be within your graphics program. (Different graphics programs have different requirements for pasting information. Accordingly, you may need to make some modifications in this particular step.)
  5. Use whatever commands your graphics program provides to rotate the image by 180 degrees.
  6. Press Ctrl+A. In most graphics programs, this selects the entire canvas, which is your pasted and rotated text.
  7. Press Ctrl+C. This copies the graphic image back to the Clipboard.
  8. 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.

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.

You could use a similar approach using a text box instead of a table. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert a text box in your document.
  2. Enter into the text box any text you want it to contain.
  3. Make sure the text box is selected.
  4. Display the Format tab of the ribbon. (This tab is visible only when you complete step 3.)
  5. Click the Change Text Direction tool, in the Text group. Word provides some options for rotating your text.
  6. Choose the Rotate All Text 90 Degrees option. Your text is rotated 90 degrees to the right.
  7. Click the Rotate tool in the Arrange group. Word provides some options for rotating your text box.
  8. Choose the Rotate Right 90 Degrees option. Your text box is rotated 90 degrees to the right, which means your text is now rotated 180 degrees.

Understand that the ability to rotate text boxes has varied greatly from version to version in Word. In some versions (such as Word 2007) you may not be able to rotate the text box at all. In other versions (such as the latest versions), you don't even need to use the menu options—simply put your text in the text box, click on the rotation handle, and drag to rotate the text box a full 180 degrees. You'll want to experiment with your version to see exactly what you can do.

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, 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: Upside-Down Printing.

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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