Let’s have a look at how we can align objects in Word 2013. As an example, we’ll first of all insert three rectangles: click Insert > Shapes > Rectangle, and drag out a box in your Word document.
Unfortunately, the rectangle tool does not remain active for your second box, so you will have to repeat the process and click Insert > Shapes > Rectangle, to drag out the second box. Try and vary the position of the rectangle in your document. Now drag out a third rectangle.
Now select all three rectangles by holding down ctrl as you click on them. Make sure you target them properly as you click; the cursor will change to display a ‘+’ to its right when you have targeted properly.
Once all rectangles are selected, click Page Layout > Align (to the right of the ribbon, in the Arrange group), and select Align Top.
The rectangles are then neatly aligned to the level of the top one, like so:
Of course, you can align to any orientation, depending on your needs, including:
Although we used rectangles in this tutorial, the alignment process is pretty much the same whatever objects you insert into your document. Alignment operations like the ones we’ve performed here are often associated with grouping objects, so stay tuned for a tutorial on that.
When you are moving elements around your document, it’s handy to align them to other existing objects. If you already have an image in your document and you then insert a shape, for example, you might want to line the shape up with the image. The Alignment Guides in Word 2013 make lining elements up really easy.
Let’s illustrate by creating a new blank document, and add an image to it. Click Insert > Pictures (in the Illustrations group) and insert any old picture. Now create a basic rectangle by clicking Insert > Shapes > Rectangle, and drag out a rectangle quite a distance below the image.
Once you’ve created the rectangle click on it and drag it upwards to roughly the same level as the image. When you get close, the new alignment guides are displayed to help with your lining up.
That’s the green horizontal line, above. Word knows that we want to align horizontally because we are dragging the box upwards. Similarly, vertical alignment guides are displayed if we drag an object left or right.
What Word does is snap the object to the alignment guide when it gets close, but you can ignore the guide and carry on dragging.
You can align to:
- tops, bottoms, left and right of other objects
- the start or end of text
- the middle of the page (horizontally and vertically)
- the left and right margins of the page
- the corners of the page
The Alignment Guides are especially useful if you have set the text wrapping options on your object so that the text flows around it. The guides work well with Live Layout.