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: Understanding the ADVANCE Field.

Understanding the Advance Field

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 16, 2016)


Fields allow you to control special features in Word, or to insert special information in your documents. One of the fields you can use is the Advance field. This field is used for positioning the text that follows the field. All text to the end of the paragraph is affected. For instance, let's say you wanted all the text after the field to be moved up by six points. You could use the following field:

{ ADVANCE \u 6 }

This might not seem like such a big deal, since you can also move text up by using superscript formatting. However, the field can be cumulative, so that you can create some interesting effects. Let's say, for example, that you wanted each word in a sentence to move up by six points from the word before. In this instance, all you need to do is include the above field at the beginning of each word in the sentence. Word formats the text so it appears to be "stair stepping" upwards.

There are several switches you can use with the Advance field, as follow.

Switch Meaning
\d Moves text down a specified number of points.
\l Moves text left a specified number of points. (Text to the left is overwritten.)
\r Moves text right a specified number of points.
\u Moves text up a specified number of points.
\x Moves text a specified distance from the left margin of the column or frame.
\y Moves text to the specified vertical position relative to the current line position. The entire line of text that contains the field is moved.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12993) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding the ADVANCE Field.

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 5 + 9?

2016-09-16 09:57:55

William Farrell

Where is this "Asvanced" field?

2016-09-16 08:20:09

Ena shaw

The Advancey field does not work in Word 2013. My understanding is that Microsoft is using the y switch for another function

2016-09-16 07:32:18

Patrick Verhaeghe

unfortunately de Y option does not longer does it's job in DOCX-documents after Word 2013.
It was an option I used a lot to place text precisely for instance on preprinted files of in forms, not influenced by the amount of text that is entered by the user.
But dthat doesn't work anymore, unless you save your document as a .DOC file (97-2003)

2014-03-10 17:05:20

David Powell

I seem to remember using this about a hundred years ago when it was the only way to position an address on an envelope, or to show in a window envelope. Text boxes are easier!

2014-03-10 10:10:37


This is actually pretty cool. Now I'll have to hunt out a use for it!

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