Microsoft Word

Set Table & Cell Alignment and Change Text Direction

Learn how to align the entire table, align text horizontally or vertically in cells, rotate the text in a cell and change default cell margins.

Table Alignment

If the table size is narrower than the page margins (see AutoFit), you can align the entire table to the left, center, or right on the document:

Table Alignment
  1. Click in the table.
  2. Click Layout contextual tab.
  3. Click Properties in the Table group.
  4. The Table Properties dialog box opens.
  5. Click Left, Center, or Right in the Alignment area.
  6. Click OK.

Indent from left

In the Table Properties dialog box, the Alignment area has an Indent from left option, this option allows you to define the table distance from the page left margin.

Cell Alignment

The Alignement group in Layout tab allows you to align text in cells horizontally and vertically. By default, Word aligns text at the top-left edge of each cell:

Cell Alignment

To align text in cells:

  1. Select cells you want to align.
  2. Click the Layout contextual tab.
  3. Click an alignment button from the Alignement group (see above figure).

Change the Text Direction in a Cell

Rotating the text in a table cell gives more space to fit the content in the cell. The text in cells is displayed horizontally by default, to rotate it on a vertical axis, proceed as follows:

  1. Click on the cell or select cells to change the text direction.
  2. Click Text Direction button in the Alignment group on the Layout contextual tab.

Here’s what you can expect to happen:

Change Text Direction Vertically
  1. The first click on the Text Direction command rotates the text vertically, with the text direction top to bottom (the text in the cell reads from top to bottom).
  2. The second click rotates the text vertically, with the text direction bottom to top (the text reads from bottom to top).
  3. The third click puts the text back to normal.

Set Cell Margins

You can set margins in table cells to make table information easier to read. The Cell Margins command allow you to set the cell margins (space between cells border and text) and cell spacing (space between each cell): See how to set the cell margins and spacing:

  1. Click any cell in the table.
  2. Click the Layout contextual tab.
  3. Click Cell Margins command in the Alignment group.
  4. Set margin settings in the Table Options dialog box.
  5. Click OK to apply changes.

The Table Options dialog box:

Click Cell Margins button to open Table Options dialog box
  • Default cell margins
    • Top
      Add margin from the top of the cell border.
    • Bottom
      Add margin from the bottom of the cell border.
    • Left
      Add margin from the left of the cell border.
    • Right
      Add margin from the right of the cell border.
  • Default cell spacing
    • Allow spacing between cells
      Check this option and define a space amount to add space around each table cell.
  • Options
    • Automatically resize to fit contents
      If this option is checked, table row height and column widths are automatically resized whenever you write or delete text in a cell.

More “Working with Word Tables” Tutorials

  1. Insert Tables
  2. Insert and Delete Rows, Columns and Cells
  3. Wrap text around the table
  4. Table Borders and Shading
  5. Select Table, View Gridlines, Use Table Properties
  6. Resize tables, rows, columns, and cells
  7. Repeat heading rows on next pages
  8. Break, Split & Merge Cells, Rows, and Tables
  9. Set Table & Cell Alignment and Change Text Direction
  10. Use Formula in Tables and Paragraphs