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 Paragraph Alignment.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2018)
One of the fundamental typographic specifications for laying out paragraphs is determining how they will appear in relation to the left and right margins. Word refers to this specification as alignment. There are four types of paragraph alignment you can set within Word:
You can change the alignment of any paragraph by using the appropriate tools on the Home tab of the ribbon or by displaying the Paragraph dialog box.
There is also an undocumented alignment for paragraphs called "distributed text justification." This alignment is very similar to Justified alignment, except it also forces the last line of the paragraph—regardless of how short it is—to be stretched all the way to the right margin. You can only access this alignment type by placing the insertion point within the paragraph and pressing Ctrl+Shift+J.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13051) 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 Paragraph Alignment.
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