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Personal website of Gregory K. Maxey, Commander USN (Retired)

Rotate Text - Mirror Text
(A Microsoft Word Help & Tip page by Gregory K. Maxey)

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This Microsoft Word Tips & Microsoft Word Help page presents my preferred method for rotating, mirroring, or changing the orientation of text in a Microsoft Word document.

Site Note Icon Note: If you simply need "mirrored/reverse" text for printing things like T-shirt transfers or transparent window stickers, then check your printer settings.  Many modern printers (even my 10 year old HP PSC 750), have a setting to perform this function.  If you printer does not support this feature then see the Mirror (Flipped) Text topic below.

Rotate Text

The unfortunate truth is, with the exception of the limited text orientation options in a Word table cell shown below, you really can't rotate text in Word.

rotate_text_1
Illustrates text oriented 90 degrees clockwise and counter clockwise in table cells

Text orientation (or alignment) in table cells is set using Format>Text Direction in Word versions before Word 2007, or with Table Tools>Layout>Alignment>Text Direction in Word version 2007 and after.

Rotate Graphics

Don't lose hope!  While you can't use Word to actually rotate text, you can use Word to rotate graphical representations (i.e., pictures) of text.

The easiest method to create a picture of text and rotate it, is to use Word's built-in WordArt feature.  The following illustrations demonstrate the basic process using Word 2003.

rotate_text_2

rotate_text_3

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rotate_text_7

rotate_test_8

rotate_text_9

The process is very similar using Word 2007:

rotate_text_10
Use the WordArt button on the Insert tab

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Use the WordArt Tools contextual tab to apply formatting

Again, the process is similar using Word 2010/2013.  Two significant changes are:

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With the new graphics engine, the WordArt object begins life as a shape.
There is no need to convert.

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Format using the Drawing Tools>Format contextual tab

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Text rotated using the object rotation handle

Mirror (Flipped) Text

To the best of my knowledge, mirrored text cannot be created in Word versions before Word 2007.  See Alternative Methods below.

To create mirrored text using the new Word 2010 graphics engine, perform the following:

rotate text 17
rotate text 18

rotate text 19
rotate text 20

Of course by using varying combinations of X-Y-Z axis values, you can create practically any rotation/mirror effect.

rotate text 23

rotate text 21

The more limited 3D rotation effects in the Word 2007 graphics engine will not produce the same effect as demonstrate in Word 2010.  However, basic mirrored (vertical or horizontal) text can be produced in Word 2007 by selecting the WordArt object and applying the WordArt Tools>Format>Arrange "Flip Vertical or Flip Horizontal" command.

rotate text 22

Site Note IconNote:  For whatever reason, this "Flip Vertical" and "Flip Horizontal" methods demonstrated above in Word 2007 will not produce the same effect in Word 2010.  Flip vertical produces an effect that is a combination of vertical and horizontal flip and flip horizontal appears to have no effect.

rotate text 24

VBA Methods

You also produce rotatable WordArt text using a simple VBA procedure:

VBA Script:
Sub MakeRotatableWordArtText()
Dim oRng As Word.Range
Dim oShp As Word.Shape
Set oRng = Selection.Range
Set oShp = ActiveDocument _
             .Shapes.AddTextEffect(PresetTextEffect:=msoTextEffect1, _
                     Text:="Rotate Me", FontName:="Arial", _
                     FontSize:=20, FontBold:=False, _
                     FontItalic:=False, Left:=0#, _
                     Top:=0#, Anchor:=oRng)
With oShp
  With .Fill
   .Solid
   .ForeColor.RGB = RGB(0, 0, 0)
  End With
  .Line.Visible = msoFalse
End With
End Sub

Site Note Icon Note: The shape object created using the procedure above has the characteristics of a WordArt object created in Word 2003/2007 (let's call that a "classic" WordArt object) .  If used in Word 2010/2013, this object will not support direct formatting like a native Word 2010/2013 WordArt object inserted with the user interface.  Methods and properties for that type object do not appear to be available in VBA.

Alternative Methods

There are several software applications available at reasonable cost which you can use to caption and orient, including mirroring, text. I've used SnagIt by TechSmith for several years. Practically all of the images found in these tips pages were captured and edited using Snagit.

Conclusion

That's it! I hope you have found this tips page useful and informative.

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