PowerPoint broadly provides three types of text containers: text placeholders, text boxes, and shapes. And, although, boundaries between these three types of text containers are blurred, all three are sufficiently similar in their characteristics for layout options for the text contained inside them. In this tutorial, we will explore the alignment and text direction options for text within a text container in PowerPoint 2010.
As far as formatting text containers is concerned, we suggest that you do it only for the text boxes (and shapes) rather than individual text placeholders on the slide. Yes, you can do these changes for the placeholders but that's going to make your text look inconsistent across successive slides. So, if at all you want to change the text layout for text placeholders, do it within the Slide Master. To provide a consistent look to your presentation and also to save your time that you have to spend on changing layout options for text placeholder on each and every slide.
Tip: Don't know the difference between a text box and a text placeholder? Look at our Text Boxes vs. Text Placeholders tutorial.
Follow these steps to format the alignment and direction of text within a text box, text placeholder, or a shape that contains text in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows:
- Bring up a slide that has a text box. If you need, you can also insert a text box now, and add some text. Click on the edge of the text box so that it shows a solid line with selection handles on its perimeter. Then right-click on the edge of the selected text box to bring up the context menu you see in Figure 1. Select the Format Shape option.
Figure 1: Format Shape option
- This brings up the Format Shape dialog box (see Figure 2). Make sure you choose Text Box from the left pane of this dialog box (refer to Figure 2 again).
Figure 2: Text Box pane selected within Format Shape dialog box
- Within the Format Shape dialog box, locate the Text Layout section (highlighted in red in Figure 2 above). Here you'll find two options:
- While Figure 2 reads this option as Vertical alignment, this need not be "Vertical" all the time. Many times, you will find the option in this area listed as Horizontal alignment, and whether you see Vertical or Horizontal alignment is related to the Text direction option you choose. We look at Text direction next.
- Enables you to rotate the text within the text box. Click the Text direction drop-down list to bring up the options shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Text direction drop-down list
- In Figure 4, you can see a sample slide that contains four text boxes showing all the four Text direction options. Look how the text direction influences the rotation plane of the text within the text box.
Figure 4: Text direction examples
- As you have already seen in Figures 3 and 4, there are four Text direction options:
- This is the default Text direction option that provides you with conventional text on a straight plane as we are normally accustomed to. When you select Horizontal text direction, your alignment is set as Vertical (refer to Figure 2). Click this drop-down list to bring up the options shown in Figure 5. Here you can choose to align your text to Top, Middle, or Bottom. You can also choose centered versions of these three, shown here as Top Centered, Middle Centered, or Bottom Centered.
Figure 5: Vertical alignment drop-down list
- Whichever option you choose, expect the alignment of text within the selected text container to change, Figure 6 shows example of how the vertical alignment of text is influenced using these six variations.
Figure 6: Vertical alignment examples
- Choosing this option within the Text direction drop-down list (refer to Figure 3, above) rotates your text within the text container to the extent of 90 degrees, as shown in the second example on the top row of Figure 4, above.
- The minute you select Rotate all text 90o, the alignment option will change to Horizontal alignment (see Figure 7).
Figure 7: Horizontal alignment drop-down list
- Clicking this drop-down list will bring forth options to align your rotated text along the same lines as Horizontal (non-rotated) text, but results differ due to the direction of your text. Figure 8 shows examples of how horizontal alignment of rotated text works.
Figure 8: Examples of Horizontal alignment of the text rotated to 90o
- This option works exactly like the Rotate all text 90o option, other than rotating the text in a completely opposite direction. Predictably, the alignments are still Horizontal (see Figure 9).
Figure 9: Horizontal alignment drop-down list
- Note the subtle differences in the location of the text shown in the sample slide (compare Figures 10 and 8).
Figure 10: Examples of Horizontal alignment of the text rotated to 270o
- This last option within the Text direction drop-down list (refer to Figure 3 above) stacks the text in vertical lines.
- You can see examples of how the alignment of text within the text box is influenced by these six alignment variations in Figure 11, below.
Figure 11: Examples of Horizontal alignment of the stacked text
- Note that after changing the text direction to Stacked, you might need to resize the text box since these text boxes need a larger area to show all the text. Note how the text flows outside the text box area in some of the samples you see in Figure 11, above.
- When the text direction is changed to Stacked, you also see a new option called Order of lines (highlighted in red in Figure 12) within the Format Shape dialog box. These options are either Right-to-left or Left-to-right. For normal English text that is read from left to right, you will want to use the default Right-to-left option.
Figure 12: Order of lines options within the Format Shape dialog box
- Click the Close button on the Format Shape dialog to dismiss it and get back to the slide. Save your presentation often.
Rotate all text 90o
Rotate all text 270o