Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Understanding Justification.

Understanding Justification

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 9, 2016)

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In typography, justification refers to the way in which text is changed in relation to the margins in which it is placed. There are several types of justification:

  • Left-justification. All lines in the paragraph butt up against the left text margin. No extra spaces are added to the line.
  • Center-justification. All lines in a paragraph are centered between the left and right text margins. No extra spaces are added to the line.
  • Right-justification. All lines in a paragraph butt up against the right text margin. No extra spaces are added to the line.
  • Fill-justification. All lines in a paragraph are expanded so they butt up against both the left and right text margins. Space is added, between words and characters, as necessary to fill out the line.

In Word, these four justification types are referred to as paragraph alignments. Thus, a paragraph can be left, center, or right aligned. It can also be justified, which is the same as fill-justification.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10602) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Justification.

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 0 + 4?

2016-07-10 06:24:27

Surendera M. Bhanot

The Keyboard shortcuts for various types of justifications are :

^l = Left Justification
^r = Right Justification
^e = Center Justification
^j = Fill Justification

It will applied to the current paragraph if no selection is made.

Will apply to the selection is applied to the selected text (the opening paragraph and the last paragraph of the selected text will be justified accordingly)

Press ^a before application of the justification to the entire document.


2016-07-10 06:18:07

Surendera M. Bhanor

Jerry Jenkins Just press <Entre> at the end of the line. <Enter> adds a paragraph break and the last line of the paragrapgh just behaves like as if it is left justified and put all the contents together with a single space between the words.


2016-07-09 13:57:00

Ted Duke

You must have something different that you are unaware of. The last line in your comment, the justifications of other paragraphs, are the results you should always get with justified lines.

Use Control-Shift-8 (Ctrl-*) to display paragraph marks and see if anything looks unusual.

I have tried duplicating your problem, Word 2016, and cannot find any way to replicate it. For this one instance you might try this:
1. Hit return key at end of the next to last line. Except for last three words, paragraph is justified.
2. Remove space after justified paragraph if any.
3. Select remaining three-words, then justify left.
4. Add space after those three lines if required.


2016-07-09 09:51:35

Jerry Jenkins

Wondering how to fix the last, short line of a justified paragraph in Word 2016. It was just three words, but they were spaced several inches apart each to maintain justification. I tried blocking just that line and making it flush left, but the program then made the entire paragraph flush left. There has to be an easy solution for this, because other paragraphs in the document had short last lines that did not spread out to fill the space. Help?


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