How to type vertically in MS Word

Have you ever wondered how the title of a book is typed vertically on the spine of the book? Well, we did, so we’ve made sure you won’t have to wonder how ever again by creating this tutorial.

If you’re designing a cover page of a book, you’ll find the need to type some information vertically on the spine of the book. This is where you insert the title and the author of the book.

Fortunately for us, MS Word made it possible to easily type vertically in documents like this. So, now, you can actually design your own cover page from scratch.

Now, there are about two ways to type vertically in MS Word. 

2 Ways to Type Vertically in MS Word

  • Type vertically by rotating a text box
  • Type vertically using the Text Direction tool

Both of these methods are equally reliable when it comes to getting the job done. Using a text box to type vertically is the common method because of its versatility. Text boxes offer a lot of options for the user to customize, ranging from the style and angle of your font, just to name a few.. The other method is to use the Text Direction tool, which is the most straightforward approach. This Text Direction tool has predefined text directions readily available for use. Also, text in table cells can easily be typed vertically using this tool. 

Now, we’ll cover both these methods in this guide down below. We’ve laid out the steps for each method in such a way that you can follow them with ease. You’ll be surprised to find out that Microsoft has made every way possible to type vertically with a few simple clicks. 

Let’s get right to it!

Why Should You Type Vertically in MS Word? 

Learning to type vertically in MS Word can come in handy most of the time.

This is especially true when you deal with tables and visual objects in your documents on a daily basis.

One scenario is when you’re putting data together in a table. Having all the rows and columns aligned and well-formatted sure looks good.

At this point, you’ll most likely want to merge some cells to indicate a grouping. Specifically, you’ll want to merge some rows to specify a grouping among multiple rows. 

In this case, having text typed vertically in the row heading can give some dynamic to your table. Now, MS Word offers simple ways to do just that. The text direction tool allows you to easily type vertically in a rotated orientation. 

Take note, however, that too many vertical texts can also ruin your document. You’d want to balance the text layout of your work such that vertical texts simply complement the main text of your document. A good rule of thumb as to when you want to type vertically in MS Word is when: 

  • You want to include information on the spine of a book. 
  • You want to group table cells in consecutive rows. 
  • You want to add some dynamics to your document.

These are the most common examples of when typing vertically would be more than ideal. Of course, there are definitely a lot of other situations as to when typing vertically is useful, but we’ll leave that up to your judgment. 

That being said, here’s everything you need to know to type vertically in MS Word. 

Method 1: Type Vertically by Rotating a Text Box 

This method is much more useful, especially when you’re using text boxes to have better control of texts. Containing texts in text boxes allows you to easily manipulate the direction of your text vertically. 

Here’s how you can rotate a text box to type vertically in MS Word. 

Step 1. Open up a Word document. 

Before anything else, we’ll need to open up an MS Word document. You can choose to use your own personal document or a blank one.

If you choose to do the former, then you don’t need to worry about ruining your document.

As reverting these changes is simple and should leave no permanent damage to your document. 

Step 2. Create a text box. 

Go to the Insert menu and select the Text Box drop-down menu on the far right. Select the first option in the selection to insert a simple text box. 

The text box should show up where your cursor was. 

Step 3. Rotate the text box. 

From there, click on the Rotate icon. This is the circular arrow found above the text box. Now, click and drag the icon to either the left or right-hand side. This rotates the text box together with the text inside it. You can start typing your text vertically or copy-paste your text into the text box. 

To accurately rotate the text box, hold the Shift key on your keyboard while dragging the Rotate icon. 

Congratulations! You’ve just typed a vertical text in MS Word. 

Method 2: Type Vertically using the Text Direction Tool

The Text Direction tool is a basic tool of MS Word that falls under the Drawing Tools. This tool has three predefined text directions that you can use right away. It provides the options to rotate text 90o clockwise or counter-clockwise. 

Here’s how you can type vertically using the Text Direction tool. 

Step 1. Open up a Word document. 

First thing we need to do is to open up a Word document. Feel free to use your own personal document for this tutorial. Of course, you can revert any unwanted changes by simply hitting the CTRL + Z keys on your keyboard. 

Step 2. Select a text box or a table cell. 

Once your document is opened, select the text in the text box or table cell that you want in vertical form. 

If you’re using a text box, select your text box and go to the Format menu. Then, click the Text Direction drop-down menu found in the middle area of the toolbar. You can select either the second or third option to rotate your text box vertically. 

On the other hand, if your text is in a table cell, select the text and go to the Layout menu under the Table Tools. Now, click on the Text Direction button found at the right side of the toolbar. Continue clicking this again to keep your rotating. 

Congratulations on using the Text Direction tool to type vertically in MS Word. 

Editing and Undoing Text Direction in MS Word

Editing vertical texts is as easy as adding them. We’ll walk you through the steps of editing the text direction in MS Word. 

If your text is in a text box, simply click the Rotate icon after selecting the textbox. Rotate the text box clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on how you want it modified. 

On another end, you can access the Text Direction tool to edit vertical texts in table cells. In the Layout tab, click the Text Direction tool to modify your vertical text. This will let you edit the text content in your text box.


We’ve finally come to the end of this article. Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out how to type vertically in MS Word. Before we let you go, allow us to give you a quick recap of the things we’ve talked about today. 

Learning to type vertically text in MS Word comes in handy, especially when you want to add dynamics to your document. In MS Word, you can type vertical text in two ways. One method is to rotate your text box to the left or right to suit your needs. The other method employs the use of the Text Direction tool found in both the Table and Drawing tools. 

We hope you’ve found this article helpful.

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