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Upside-Down Printing

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Upside-Down Printing.

For some printing jobs, you may have a need to print text both rightside-up and upside-down on the same piece of paper. Unfortunately, Word doesn't have a way to easily do this, instead only allowing you to rotate text 90 degrees left or right. (To print something upside down you need to rotate it 180 degrees.)

There are several workarounds you can try, however. First, if the information you have to print upside down is fairly short, you could use WordArt. Your text is actually saved in your document as a graphics object, which Word allows you to rotate freely on the page. The only drawback to this is that WordArt doesn't give you the range of text control that Word does, and it was never meant to handle large selections of text, such as a quarter page or a half page of information.

Another option is to create your text in a different application and then insert it into Word as an object. (This is very similar to the WordArt approach, as you are dealing with non-Word objects within Word.) For instance, you could create a fully rotated text object within PowerPoint and then insert it in your Word document.

If you have access to a stand-alone graphics program, you could also try these steps:

  1. Within Word, type and format your text as you want it.
  2. Select the paragraphs you want to ultimately be upside down.
  3. Press Ctrl+C to copy the paragraphs to the Clipboard.
  4. Switch to your graphics program and press Ctrl+V. The image (which consists of the text you copied) is pasted into the graphics program.
  5. Use the tools in the graphics program to rotate the image.
  6. Select and copy the modified image. (Normally you can do this by pressing Ctrl+A to select everything and then Ctrl+C to copy to the Clipboard.)
  7. Switch to Word and press Ctrl+V. The graphic image (which is your text) appears in the Word document.

Now you can position your upside-down text anywhere you want. Of course, if you want to make changes to the upside-down text, you can't do so without redoing all these steps. Why? Because the upside-down information is not really text, but a graphic image. These same general steps will work with most other graphics programs as well (such as Paint).

As mentioned earlier, Word allows you to rotate text 90 degrees either left or right. This capability can be utilized to achieve the look that is wanted. Try these general steps:

  1. Create a document using landscape orientation.
  2. Put a two-cell table in the document.
  3. In the left cell, place the text you want to be rightside-up.
  4. In the right cell, place the text you want to be upside-down.
  5. Rotate the text in the left cell by 90 degrees to the left.
  6. Rotate the text in the right cell by 90 degrees to the right.

The result, of course, is that you have text that is 180 degrees in relation to each other, which means it appears upside down when printed. Formatting text using this approach can be a bit challenging, but for some uses it may be an easy way to achieve the desired result.

Finally, perhaps the two easiest solutions don't even use Word at all. First, you could use a different program (such as Publisher) that supports upside-down text. Second, you could simply put your paper through the printer twice—once for the rightside-up text and once for the upside-down text. (Of course, you would have to rotate the paper by 180 degrees for each printing pass.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (846) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Upside-Down Printing.

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