Vertical page alignment in MS Word

Vertical page alignment in MS Word

Here’s three pages from the front of a book I’m writing (the image will expand if you click it):

I’ve turned on ‘Show/Hide’ so you can see where Return has been pressed to get a new line.Those of you with an eye for detail might notice that these pages used have three different layouts. The half title page on the left was vertically aligned at the top, the title page was vertically aligned at the center and the copyright page was vertically aligned at the bottom.
It’s not immediately obvious how to do this in Word. To achieve it each page must end with a section break.
First place your cursor on the page you wish to change.
Next from the layout tab (1) select the small icon (2) at the bottom right of the Page Setup section of the ribbon.
Select the Layout tab (3) in the window which opens.

In the Page Vertical alignment section (4) select the alignment you want. 
‘Justified’ incidentally will space out the paragraphs of a page to fill the entire page.

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Why does Word sometimes override bold and italics when I change a style?

If you need to change the style of your text but have added direct formatting to it; bold text or italic text, beware! MS Word can really mess it up.

Here’s an experiment to try to explain what I mean

Set up a document containing these two styles:
Font: (Default) Times New Roman,
11 pt,
Indent: First line:  0.5 cm, Justified
Line spacing:  single,
Widow/Orphan control,
Style: Quick Style
No Indent

Indent: First line:  0.01 cm,

Style: Linked, Quick Style
Based on: Normal
Following style: Normal
 Now type this in in ‘Normal’ style:
Using ‘Normal’ style, copy these two paragraphs of text into MS Word. Make this first paragraph italic.
Using Normal style, copy these two paragraphs of text into MS Word. In this second paragraph make just the last word italic.
Now select the first paragraph and change its style. I’m going to make it, my style of ‘No Indent’.
Now select the second paragraph and change its style. Again change it to ‘No Indent’.  
Before – as ‘Normal’ style:
After applying ‘No Indent’ style to each separate paragraph:

Now undo the ‘No Indent’ style changes, select both paragraphs and then re-apply ‘No Indent’ style to both at once. You get:
Notice what happens to the italics? The same thing happens for any other direct formatting you apply whether it’s a font, a font size, bold, italics, color… whatever.
Apparently the rule is meant to be that if a paragraph has less than 50% of direct formatting then this will be retained if the style is changed. If it has more than 50% then the direct formatting is lost.
…but it’s not consistent!
Select more than one paragraph and all the direct formatting is changed.
…but even that is not consistent!
If you have a document with multiple styles and you wish to change just one of them, then right clicking the style, selecting all X instance(s) and then changing the selected items may give you either effect.

So how do you do it?

I had a book which used a ‘Publisher’ style. I wanted to change this to a ‘Normal’ style. The trouble was I had used italics for emphasis, the remote ends of telephone conversations and thoughts. Simply selecting all occurrences of the ‘Publisher’ style and replacing them with ‘Normal’ style lost lots of the italics – too many for me to want to go through and change them all back manually. Here’s what I did:
Step 1 – find all the italics using search & replace and highlight them in green. To do that
  • Select ‘Replace from the Home toolbar
  • Use Format > Font and select ‘Italic’ in both the find and replace boxes.

  • Select green highlighting from the home toolbar.
  • Select Format > Highlight

Here’s what you get:

Step 2 – Select all instances of the style you want to change and change them to the new style. Some of the italics will be lost but the green highlighting will remain.

Step 3 Use the replace menu to find all instances of green highlighting and replace them with italics and no highlighting.

Once you have used ‘Replace All’, your style will be changed and the italics back to normal.

This method can be used if you’ve used bold, colored or any other direct formatting within a style. You might want to use a different highlight color for each.

What a tedious chore! I can understand why Microsoft did this but it would have been so much nicer if they had given us a checkbox labelled ‘Change all direct formatting within style.’

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Getting Word to display odd pages on the right

Like most authors, I use Microsoft Word and rapidly discovered one of it’s limitations. Word insists on starting any new document on a left hand page in a two page layout. There is nothing you can do to change this. Microsoft tell us that Word isn’t a publishing program and apparently expect us to import Word documents into a program such as Publisher before printing. Now that, for us authors, is the last thing we want. We want a single program on which to create our work and format it for printing. Word can be made to do it – almost.

So this is how to set up Word 2010/2007 to produce a layout suitable for self publishing through Amazon’s Create Space publishing or Lulu.

First. If you have an existing correctly formatted document then create a new document using that existing document. It will be a lot quicker.
In Word 2010 the procedure is File → New → New from Existing
If you do not have a document to copy then you’ll need to create one as follows. To illustrate it, I’ve used examples from our book ‘Immortality Gene‘:

  1. In Word choose File → New → Blank document
  2. Select ‘Print Layout’ view
  3. From the Page layout tab select in the Page setup group the ‘Size’ button and then at the bottom of the dropdown ‘More Page Sizes’
  4. Using the ‘Paper’ tab, select what size pages your book will have. I use a custom size of 13.33 x 20.32 cm (5.25 x 8 inches) which is one of the standard book sizes. Your self publishing firm will tell you what standard sizes are available. I suggest you take a trip to your local library or bookstore and measure a few books too.
  5. Still in the ‘Page Setup’ window, on the ‘Margins’ tab select a top margin of 2 cm; bottom margin of 2.54 cm; inside margin of 1.27 cm; Outside margin of 1.0 cm; gutter of 0.95 cm; Gutter position Left (greyed out); Portrait; Multiple pages should Mirror margins; Apply to Whole document. This setup is good for a book of up to 600 pages. If you have less than 400 pages you can reduce the gutter and if you have more than 600 pages you’ll need to increase the gutter. For those who don’t know ‘gutter’ is a printer’s term for extra space added to the fold of a book which allows text to be read easier.
  6. Still in the ‘Page Setup’ window, on the ‘Layout’ tab select Section start New Page; Check in the Header and footers tab Different odd and even; Un-check Different first page; set the header and Footer to 1.25 cm from the edge; Under Page select vertical alignment Top. Then click OK.
  7. Turn on the ruler and set it as shown in the image above with no indents.
  8. Double click the page area where the header would be (i.e. above where the cursor is currently flashing)
  9. Check ‘Different Odd & Even Pages’. You should now see ‘Odd Page Header’ at the header and ‘Odd Page Footer’ at the footer.
  10. Close the Header and Footer view
  11. A little down the page type in CAPITALS your book title and center it. (This is NOT your main Title Page)
  12. Insert TWO page beaks . If you are looking at the document in Print Layout view, two pages per screen your first page will appear on the left

  13. The next page will be your main title page where you put the title, the author. I also add at the bottom the location and year of writing. Format this page as you wish it.At the end of the page insert a Page break.
  14. Your next page will be a copyright page and if you have one, put your ISBN/EAN number here. Example text – customise and space appropriately:

    John and Sheila Chapman have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the authors of this work.
    This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    Copyright © 2010 John & Shelia Chapman

    All rights reserved under International and Pan-American

    Copyright Conventions.

    ISBN 1-456-30018-0

    EAN-13 9781456300180

    Add a page break at the end of this.
  15. Your next page will contain any acknowledgments you wish to make or will be blank. Add a Page break then a Section Break (Odd page) at this point.
    The ‘Section Break (Odd Page)’ is the crucial step!
    Note – Inserting a section break (any type) will add a little extra space before the next heading – this is normal practice. Subsequent headings won’t have this extra space.
  16. You are now ready to start the text of your book, to reset the ruler, to add a page header and a footer with page number 1. If your book has contents pages add them at this point. Contents pages should always be an even number of pages so add a page break if needed then a ‘Section Break (odd page)’ so that Chapter 1 of your book always appears on a right hand page.
  17. At the top of the Chapter 1 page (or first contents page if you have one) double click the header area. In the Navigation section of the Header & Footer toolbar make sure ‘Link to Previous’ is NOT selected. make sure Different Odd & Even Pages IS checked then add the book title in Capitals. Center it.
  18. Double click the Footer area of the page (or click the Footer button on the toolbar) Use the Page Number button to add a page number either centered or at the right. Format the page numbers so that they start at ‘1’ (Right click the number to find ‘Format Page Numbers…’).
  19. In the Navigation section of the Header & Footer toolbar click ‘Next’.
  20. In the Navigation section of the Header & Footer toolbar again make sure ‘Link to Previous’ is NOT selected.
  21. In the Header add in capitals the author’s name and center it. In the footer section again make sure ‘Link to Previous’ is NOT selected and add a centered page number at the bottom. Select and right click the number and choose Format Page Number. It should be set at ‘Start at 1’. The actual page will show page 2.
You should now find that from your ‘Chapter 1’ the pages will be displayed on the correct side in ‘Print Layout’ view. If you Add the ‘Print Preview Edit Mode’ button to the Quick Access toolbar (22) you’ll find on using it that all pages (in a two page view) are shown on the correct sides. Extra blank pages will be inserted to make sure the main title page and Chapter 1 pages are on the right hand side.
Following chapters should each start on a new page but usually it is not important that they should start on right hand pages. If you have a short book of less than 80,000 words though you might like to insert a ‘Section break (odd Page)’ rather than a standard ‘Page Break’ to force this.

A word of warning about something which MS Word gets wrong and which can cause problems with CreateSpace. Word allows italic text to overflow slightly into the gutter and CreateSpace will reject this.

To solve this problem, which only occurs if you use italics in your text, reset the style so that the text is indented 1mm

If this post has helped or entertained, will you help us? Download a FREE copy of our book ‘Immortality Gene’ from
Even if you never read it (but we hope you will) – it will help our rankings.
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