Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Word

Use a screen reader to align text and paragraphs in Word

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Microsoft Support home or Fixes or workarounds for recent office issues.

Use Word with your keyboard and a screen reader to change text alignment in your documents. We have tested it with Narrator, JAWS, and NVDA, but it might work with other screen readers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to quickly center text, align it on the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so that the left and right edges are even. You'll also learn how to align a page vertically.

How alignment is described in Word documents can vary depending on the screen reader. You might need to adjust the verbosity settings of your screen reader. For example, to hear a description of your text’s alignment in JAWS, press Insert+F. In Narrator, press the Narrator key+0. For more information, refer to your screen reader’s documentation.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to align text in Word, but not using a screen reader? See Align text left or right, center text, or justify text on a page.

Notes: 

In this topic

Left-align text

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph, document, or table that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+L.

Right-align text

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph, document, or table that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+R.

Center text

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph, document, or table that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+E.

Justify text

Note: Justified text can be difficult to read for people who have a reading disability, such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, chose a different alignment style.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph, document, or table that you want to align.

  2. Press Ctrl+J.

Align a page vertically

You can align a page vertically, for example, to create a cover page. Vertical alignment positions the selected text relative to the top and bottom margins.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the text that you want to align vertically.

  2. To open the Page Setup dialog box, press Alt+P, S, P.

  3. Press Shift+Tab until you hear the currently selected tab, for example, "Margins tab."

  4. Press the Right arrow key until you hear: "Layout tab."

  5. Press Alt+V. The focus moves to the Vertical alignment options list, and you hear the currently selected option, for example, "Top."

  6. Use the Down and Up arrow keys to find the option you want and press Enter.

  7. To apply the vertical alignment to your document, press Enter.

Customize paragraph alignment

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word.

Align text using Search

To find an option or perform an action quickly, use the Search text field. To learn more about the Search feature, go to Find what you need with Microsoft Search in Office.

Note: Depending on the version of Office you are using, the Search text field at the top of the app window might be called Tell Me instead. Both offer a largely similar experience, but some options and search results can vary.

  1. Select the item or place in your document, presentation, or spreadsheet where you want to perform an action. For example, in an Excel spreadsheet, select a range of cells.

  2. To go to the Search text field, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type the search words for the action that you want to perform. For example, if you want to add a bulleted list, type bullets.

  4. Press the Down arrow key to browse through the search results.

  5. Once you've found the result that you want, press Enter to select it and to perform the action.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for Mac with your keyboard and VoiceOver, the built-in macOS screen reader, to change text alignment. You'll learn how to quickly center text, align it on the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so that the left and right edges are even. You'll also learn how to align a page vertically.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to align text in Word, but not using a screen reader? See Align or justify text.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in macOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, go to VoiceOver Getting Started Guide.

In this topic

Align text left or right, center text, or justify text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text. You can quickly format the paragraphs in your document to the alignment you want.

  1. In your document, select the paragraphs you want to align.

    Tip: To select a piece of text, hold down Shift and move the cursor using the arrow keys.

  2. To format a paragraph, press Option+Command+M. The Paragraph dialog box opens, with the focus on the Indents and Spacing tab.

  3. To navigate to the Alignment menu, press Control+Option+Right arrow key until you hear the current alignment, followed by "Alignment." To expand the menu, press Control+Option+Shift+M. To browse to an option in the Alignment menu, press Control+Option+Up or Down arrow key. The options are announced as you move.

    To select an option, press Control+Option+Spacebar.

    Note: Justified text can be difficult to read for people who have a reading disability, such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  4. To return to your document, press Return.

Align a page vertically

You can align a page vertically, for example, to create a cover page. Vertical alignment positions the selected text relative to the top and bottom margins.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the text that you want to align vertically.

  2. Press Control+Option+M. The focus moves to the Apple menu bar. Press the Tab key until you hear "Format," and press Spacebar.

  3. Press Control+Option+Down arrow key until you hear "Document," and press Spacebar. You hear: "Margins, tab."

  4. Press Control+Option+Right arrow key once. You hear: "Layout tab." Press Spacebar to select.

  5. Press the Tab key until you hear the current alignment, followed by "Vertical alignment." The focus is now on the vertical alignment menu.

  6. Press Control+Option+Spacebar to open the menu, and use the Down and Up arrow keys to find the option you want. Then press Spacebar to select.

  7. To apply the vertical alignment to your document, press Return.

Customize paragraph indentation

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for iOS with VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to change text alignment. You'll learn how to quickly center text, align it to the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so that the left and right edges are even. To align a page vertically, for example, to create a cover page, switch to the full desktop version of Word.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

  • We recommend you read and edit documents in Print Layout View. VoiceOver might not work reliably in other view modes.

In this topic

Align text left or right, center text, or justify text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text. You can quickly format the paragraphs in your document to use the alignment you want.

  1. While editing your document, drag your finger around the writing area until VoiceOver reads a line of the paragraph where you want to change the alignment. Double-tap the screen to move the cursor there.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Show ribbon, button," and double-tap the screen. The Home tab opens.

  3. On the Home tab, do one of the following:

    • To align the text to the left, swipe right until you hear “Align left, button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To align the text to the right, swipe right until you hear “Align right, button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To center the text, swipe right until you hear “Center text, button,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To justify the text, swipe right until you hear “Justify text, button,” and double-tap the screen.

      Note: VoiceOver announces the currently selected alignment as "Selected" when you navigate to it.

      Note: Justified text can be difficult to read for people who have a reading disability, such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  4. To close the ribbon and switch to the keyboard, swipe left until you hear "Hide ribbon, button," and double-tap the screen.

Customize paragraph indentation

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for Android with TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to change text alignment. You'll learn how to quickly center text, align it to the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so that the left and right edges are even. To align a page vertically, for example, to create a cover page, switch to the full desktop version of Word.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

In this topic

Align text left or right, center text, or justify text

Alignment determines the appearance and orientation of the edges of the paragraph: left-aligned, right-aligned, centered, or justified text. You can quickly format the paragraphs in your document to use the alignment you want.

  1. While editing your document, drag your finger around the writing area until TalkBack reads a line of the paragraph where you want to change the alignment. Double-tap the screen to move the cursor there.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Not ticked, More options, switch," and double-tap the screen. The Home tab opens.

  3. On the Home tab, do one of the following:

    • To align the text to the left, swipe right until you hear “Align left, switch,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To align the text to the right, swipe right until you hear “Align right, switch,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To center the text, swipe right until you hear “Center, switch,” and double-tap the screen.

    • To justify the text, swipe right until you hear “Justify, switch,” and double-tap the screen.

    Note: TalkBack announces the currently selected alignment as "Ticked" when you navigate to it.

    Note: Justified text can be difficult to read for people who have a reading disability, such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  4. To close the ribbon and switch to the keyboard, swipe left until you hear "Ticked, More options, switch," and double-tap the screen.

Customize paragraph indentation

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Microsoft 365

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Use Word for the web with your keyboard and a screen reader to change horizontal text alignment in your documents. We have tested it with Narrator in Microsoft Edge and JAWS and NVDA in Chrome, but it might work with other screen readers and web browsers as long as they follow common accessibility standards and techniques. You'll learn how to quickly center text, align it on the right or left margin, or justify it to adjust the spacing between words in a paragraph so that the left and right edges are even. To align a page vertically, for example, to create a cover page, switch to the full desktop version of Word.

Decorative icon Need instructions on how to align text in Word, but not using a screen reader? See Align text left or right, center text, or justify text on a page.

Notes: 

  • If you use Narrator with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you have to turn off scan mode in order to edit documents, spreadsheets, or presentations with Office for the web. For more information, refer to Turn off virtual or browse mode in screen readers in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • To learn more about screen readers, go to How screen readers work with Microsoft Office.

  • When you use Word for the web, we recommend that you use Microsoft Edge as your web browser. Because Word for the web runs in your web browser, the keyboard shortcuts are different from those in the desktop program. For example, you’ll use Ctrl+F6 instead of F6 for jumping in and out of the commands. Also, common shortcuts like F1 (Help) and Ctrl+O (Open) apply to the web browser – not Word for the web.

In this topic

Change text alignment

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph, document, or table that you want to align.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To align the text left, press Ctrl+L.

    • To align the text right, press Ctrl+R.

    • To center the text, press Ctrl+E.

Justify text

Note: Justified text can be very difficult to read for people who have a reading disability such as dyslexia. To make your document as accessible as possible, choose a different alignment style.

  1. Place the insertion point anywhere in the paragraph that you want to justify.

  2. Press Ctrl+J to justify the text so that the left and right edges are even.

Customize paragraph alignment

To align your text to a specific place, you can quickly indent paragraphs from the left or right margins of the page. For more information, refer to Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word.

Align text using Search

To find an option or perform an action quickly, use the Search text field. To learn more about the Search feature, go to Find what you need with Microsoft Search in Office.

Note: Depending on the version of Office you are using, the Search text field at the top of the app window might be called Tell Me instead. Both offer a largely similar experience, but some options and search results can vary.

  1. Select the item or place in your document, presentation, or spreadsheet where you want to perform an action. For example, in an Excel spreadsheet, select a range of cells.

  2. To go to the Search text field, press Alt+Q.

  3. Type the search words for the action that you want to perform. For example, if you want to add a bulleted list, type bullets.

  4. Press the Down arrow key to browse through the search results.

  5. Once you've found the result that you want, press Enter to select it and to perform the action.

See also

Use a screen reader to insert and change text in Word

Use a screen reader to set line spacing and indenting in Word

Keyboard shortcuts in Word

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Word

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate Word

What's new in Microsoft 365

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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