How to Align Different Lines of Words on Microsoft Word

By Filonia LeChat

Point text a different way with Word alignment.
i NA/ Images

Whether you’ve inherited an old business document that requires cleaning up or you’re trying to force a page to comply with stringent proposal requests outside the defaults that come with Microsoft Word, you’re never restricted to Word’s default page alignment. Your characters may appear on the page left to right with a ragged-right edge border, but you can change entire pages – or single lines – to different alignment with a couple of clicks. Just within a single page, you may find need to cycle through left, right and center alignment and Word allows you to change text as required.

Start Word and open the document with the lines to align.

Highlight the lines to align if they are consecutive, meaning one comes right after the other. You can align an entire page of different lines of words this way, but the alignment will be applied to everything in your highlighted section.

Click the “Page Layout” tab and then click the small arrow button in the corner of the Paragraph section on the ribbon, which opens the Paragraph window.

Click into the Alignment drop-down menu under the General section. Choose another option, such as “Right” or “Centered,” as Word’s default line alignment is left.

Experiment with the other alignment options on the window, if desired, such as changing how the lines line up to all be hanging indents with a three inch margin. This is optional.

Click the “OK” button to close the Paragraph window and return to the Word document with the lines newly aligned.


If you have many lines to align with only one or two lines in the middle that you don’t want to move, you can still perform the above process. Highlight everything and apply the new alignment; then go back and re-align the other lines with their original alignment. For example, highlight a page of left-aligned lines you want to mostly change to right alignment. Perform the above instructions. Then, highlight an individual line and change the alignment back to left alignment.

You can also simply click the line -- without having to highlight it -- to apply the alignment change. You can also apply individual alignments to different lines by just clicking anywhere on the line and then clicking the “Home” tab. Use the alignment buttons, which look like small stacks of horizontal lines, in the Paragraph section of the ribbon.


These instructions apply to Word 2013 and 2010, as the line alignment features remain the same in both versions of the software.