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Business LibreTexts

3.10: Alignment, Justification, and Indentation

  • Page ID
    46457
  • Learning Objectives

    • Change alignment of text.

    Alignment

    To align or justify text, move your cursor into the paragraph you want to change, then click the left-align, right-align, centered, or justify buttons.

    A microsoft word document is open zoomed in specifically on the ribbon section. On the close up of the ribbon section, the four alignment options are highlighted by a green box.

    Alignment is how text flows in relation to the rest of the page (or column, table cell, text box, etc.). There are four main alignments: left, right, center, and justified.

    • Left-aligned text is text that is aligned with a left edge. You can also left-align your text with the shortcut Ctrl+L (Cmnd+L).
    • Right-aligned text is text that is aligned with a right edge. You can also right-align your text with the shortcut Ctrl+R (Cmnd+R).
    • Centered text is text that is centered between two edges. You can also center-align your text with the shortcut Ctrl+E (Cmnd+E).
    Left-aligned
    Centered
    Right-aligned
    A section of text with a green line to the left of it indicating it has been aligned to the left. A section of text with a green line in the middle of it indicating it has been aligned to the center. A section of text with a green line to the right of it indicating it has been aligned to the right.
    Zoom in on align to the left. Zoom in on align to the center. Zoom in on align to the right.

    Justification controls the spacing between words. A justified text increases the space between words to fill the entire line so that it is aligned with both the left and right edges. You can also center-align your text with the shortcut Ctrl+J (Cmnd+J).

    A section of text is displayed with a straight green line on the left side and a curved green line on the right. This shows how the text is unjustified.
    Unjustified text
    A section of text is displayed with a straight green line on the left side and a straight green line on the right. This shows how the text is justified.
    Justified text

    Unjustified text symbol.

    Justified Text Symbol

    You can also change the alignment and justification settings in the paragraph dialog box.

    Paragraph Dialog Box: Justification and Alignment

    Open the paragraph dialog box by clicking the small arrow icon in the bottom-right corner of the Paragraph group.

    A microsoft word document is open zoomed in on the ribbon bar. A green arrow is pointing at paragraph dialog box which has already been surrounded by a green box.

    The dropdown menu to change the alignment is near the top of the dialog box.

    The dialog box has been zoomed in on with a green box around the alignment portion of the options.

    Indentation

    In many documents, indenting is a good way to distinguish the start of a new paragraph, especially when there is no paragraph spacing.

    To indent, hit the Tab key once on your keyboard at the start of a paragraph.

    A paragraph of text that has been indented.
    One tab at the beginning of the first line of a paragraph.

    For more control over indentation settings, use the paragraph dialog box.

    Paragraph Dialog Box: Indentation

    Open the paragraph dialog box by clicking the small arrow icon in the bottom-right corner of the Paragraph group.

    A microsoft word document is open zoomed in on the ribbon bar. A green arrow is pointing at paragraph dialog box which has already been surrounded by a green box.

    The indentation section is toward the middle of the dialog box.

    The dialog box has been zoomed in on with a green box around the indentation portion of the options.

    The Left and Right settings indent the entire paragraph to the left and right.

    Indentation Comparison
    A section of text that has not been indented.
    Without indentation
    A section of text that has been indented.
    With 1-inch indentation on left and right sides

    The Special dropdown menu allows you to choose to indent the first line of the paragraph or to create a hanging indent. Upon choosing First or Hanging, another field will appear to let you choose how big the first line or hanging indent will be.

    Zoom in on the special dropdown menu.
    A section of text with a hanging indent.
    Hanging indent
    A section of text with a first line indent.
    First line indent

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    Lumen Learning authored content