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: Centering a Paragraph with the Keyboard.

Centering a Paragraph with the Keyboard

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 15, 2014)


Most people, if they need to center a paragraph, use the Center tool on the Formatting toolbar or the Home tab of the ribbon. While this is quick and easy enough, some people resent the need to remove their hands from the keyboard to do their formatting. (I must say that I find it distracting to constantly switch between the keyboard and the mouse. It's just not very efficient, as it means I need to change my mental focus.)

If you want to center a paragraph by using a keyboard shortcut, simply press Ctrl+E. Bingo! The paragraph in which the insertion point is located is centered the same as if you clicked on the Center tool.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12963) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Centering a Paragraph with the Keyboard.

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 1 + 8?

2014-12-09 14:17:19

Al Gruber

Thanks Allen. That answers my question. And yes, in Word a 1-line heading is a paragraph. But my non-word brain thinks of multi-line paragraphs which I don't normally center even in brochures, but others may.

2014-12-07 10:36:22


Al: I center paragraphs all the time. You mention headings, which are (by definition) paragraphs. That's a very common usage, even when those headings are multiple lines.

I also use them when laying out flyers or brochures, where I might have a 10- or 12-line paragraph that all needs to be centered.

What you refer to (for a quotation), if I am understanding correctly, isn't really "centering." Quotations are often offset from the left and right margins by some amount so that they stand out from other text. For instance, you might want to indent from the left margin by a half inch and indent from the right margin by 3/4 inch. That is done simply by adjusting the margins.

Hope that helps.


2014-12-07 00:28:41

Al Gruber

Tom, I don't know if I need this tip and neither do you. Give me a practical example of when YOU need to center justify text so that I can tell if I need this tip.

2014-12-04 07:35:53

Thomas Redd

Al, don't be confused about tips you don't need. Those of us who do center justify paragraphs in our work appreciate the tip. Instead of being confused about tips in the future, test the tip, and if it doesn't meet a need you have, ignore it and move on. Many of us are simply grateful for this wonderful resource.

A big thank you to Allen Wyatt for all your wise help!

2014-12-03 14:49:10

Al Gruber

I'm confused. What do you mean by "centering a paragraph". I might want to center a quotation via left+right indents, but this tip doesn't do that. Is there a tip for that? I may want to center a heading but that's not a paragraph.

Please explain.

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