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: Vertical Alignment of Sections.

Vertical Alignment of Sections

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 29, 2023)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


One of the formatting options you can apply to sections in Word is to vertically align the paragraphs in the section. You will probably not use this formatting option often, but it is very powerful. As an example, let's suppose you added a separate section at the beginning of your document for a title page or cover sheet. This section only has two paragraphs in it, as follows:

Widgets in the New World
A timely report by Joan Doe

Instead of trying to vertically space these paragraphs by trial and error or resorting to calculations to see how much space you should put before the first paragraph, you can use the vertical alignment capabilities of Word. To do this, after you have the paragraphs and the section break set up, follow these steps:

  1. Position the insertion point in the first section (the one for your title page).
  2. Make sure the Layout tab of the ribbon is displayed. (In older versions of Word this may be called the Page Layout tab.)
  3. Click the small arrow icon at the bottom-right corner of the Page Setup group. Word displays the Page Setup dialog box.
  4. Make sure the Layout tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  5. Figure 1. The Layout tab of the Page Setup dialog box.

  6. Using the Vertical Alignment drop-down list, select Center.
  7. Make sure the Apply To drop-down list, at the bottom of the dialog box, is set to This Section. (It should be set to this by default.)
  8. Click on OK.

If you had more paragraphs in your cover sheet, you could use the Justified option for vertical alignment. This would cause all your paragraphs to be evenly spaced between the top and bottom text margins.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (11625) 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: Vertical Alignment of Sections.

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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