Alignment issues - Word 2010 RRS feed

  • Question

  • This is probably the wrong forum to be asking, but we've just been switched to Word 2010 and it's driving me batty!  I have several lines in one document that need different alignment.  Most will simply be aligned left, but some need to be aligned Center and some need to be aligned Right.  I will highlight a line that I need Center and when I click on the button for Center Alignment, it changes THE ENTIRE DOCUMENT to Center Alignment!  The same thing happens with Right Alignment.  Can someone tell me what the trick is to align only highlighted text??
    Friday, August 5, 2011 6:17 PM



    You can avoid the problem also by using styles. Every bit of time spent learning about styles will be well spent!

    Friday, August 5, 2011 7:22 PM

All replies

  • That's not specific to Word 2010. Apparently the Normal style has been set to Automatically Update.

    Press Alt+F11, then Ctrl+G to activate the Immediate window in the Visual Basic Editor.

    Type or copy/paste the following line, then (with the insertion point anywhere in that line) press Enter:

    ActiveDocument.Styles(wdStyleNormal).AutomaticallyUpdate = False
    This should fix it for the current document. If it happens in all documents, open your Normal.dotm template, do the same, then save it.

    Regards, Hans Vogelaar
    Friday, August 5, 2011 6:36 PM
  • Sorry - I should have been clearer as to why I know I'm in the wrong forum - I'm not writing a program.  I'm writing a simple Word document that earlier on allowed me to center a few title lines.  Now I can no longer highlight a line and hit the Center justification button without it centering the entire document.  Is there a simple way to correct this for us non-programming users (or another forum that would better serve me)?


    Thank you!

    Friday, August 5, 2011 6:42 PM
  • You don't have to be a programmer. Unfortunately, Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, has removed the ability to correct the problem you're experiencing in Word itself, so you have to use a single line of code to fix it. There is no need to get involved in Visual Basic any deeper than that.
    Regards, Hans Vogelaar
    Friday, August 5, 2011 7:03 PM
  • Thank you.  I have followed those steps, but they don't seem to work.  Same problem.  What's strange is it allowed me to do this when originally typing the document a couple days ago.  Those earlier lines are all centered as I want, but now that I've added more to the document, I can no longer change any other lines without changing all the lines.

    Just goes to show that the Microsoft motto should be, "If it ain't broke, then we should fix it."

    Friday, August 5, 2011 7:10 PM
  • Have you used a different style than the Normal style for the recalcitrant text? If so, which style?

    Regards, Hans Vogelaar
    Friday, August 5, 2011 7:13 PM
  • Thanks, but I've given up at this point.  I am writing a filming script and thought Word would make it simple.  All their "trying to make it easier" has resulted in an unusable word-processor.  I will have to switch to something like Scripped software.
    Friday, August 5, 2011 7:18 PM

    You can avoid the problem also by using styles. Every bit of time spent learning about styles will be well spent!

    Friday, August 5, 2011 7:22 PM
  • Thank you for posting this! I have spent hours trying to format papers due to this! Glad to know what to do in the future to save myself a lot of unnecessary headache!
    Sunday, November 27, 2011 2:21 AM
  • MS Admin response here... as always... useless... MS software developers as always breaking stuff that worked

    Okay so I tried that VB code, is there anything specifically I need to save it as? as far as I know i'm using the Normal Style and saving the code on the Normal Style?

    at this point I'd literally be better off writing all my word documents in HTML!!!

    MS: stop breaking shit that works!!! and actually suggest something more helpful than "well we created styles in office 2010, you need to learn them and we don't give a shit if we've broken the most simplest basic funtion in our software just to piss every single user of MS office off!!!"

    See this is why ppl are moving to OpenOffice it works and it's free! 
    Monday, July 16, 2012 11:16 AM
  • That doesn't make sense.  In no way can you input this command into the window that comes up when you use the alt+F11 then Ctrl+G function.  WTF am I suppose to do if my alignment is absolute throughout the whole paper.  I have a paper to turn in tomorrow and I've been spending all of my time trying to figure out how to align the text as my professor wants, and Microsoft Word won't do what I need it to. 
    Thursday, June 13, 2013 3:40 AM
  • Actually, OpenOffice is doing the same thing to me... I can't adjust the text alignment without changing it for the entire paper.
    Thursday, June 13, 2013 3:41 AM
  • Actually, OpenOffice is doing the same thing to me... I can't adjust the text alignment without changing it for the entire paper.

    Are you sure that these are separate paragraphs, separated by paragraph marks (¶)? To toggle display of nonprinting marks, click the ¶ button on the Home tab.

    Stefan Blom, Microsoft Word MVP

    Monday, June 17, 2013 10:35 PM
  • I'm also having the same problem as the contributers above, and I'm also unexperienced in commands, programming, everything these forums are about.
    I was really excited about the suggestion above, but wasn't sure what the insertion point I was supposed to insert into the command actually was; my only guess was to copy & paste a paragraph from the document into that command, which I'm sure is incorrect because I pressed enter and an 'error' window popped up (I'm desperate). I tried leaving the paragraph out of the mix, leaving the command without an insertion point which didn't help either.
    I think there might be something to the paragraphs - when I open up past Word documents the pages are littered with those symbols - and it seems it is possible to align those paragraphs separated with that symbol wherever, but in new documents I have only got these arrows which point down and to the left, but where I've actually intended a new paragraph. The same also happens in old documents if I try adding new paragraphs i.e. write more/ press the enter for a new para.
    Any ideas how to fix this? 

    Monday, August 5, 2013 8:03 PM
  • If you are trying to run a line of code from the Visual Basic Editor, as discussed previously in this thread, note that you must do exactly what the instructions says, and the affected document must be the active Word document window.

    However, based on your description, the problem may not be with automatic updating of styles.

    When displaying nonprinting marks, if you see "bent" arrows, these are probably line breaks, not paragraph marks, and you have to replace those with true paragraph marks (¶). To do that manually, just delete the other breaks and press Enter to insert true paragraph marks.

    When you display nonprinting marks you will see them in all documents, but you can hide them again by clicking the ¶ button. For more on nonprinting marks, see

    Stefan Blom, Microsoft Word MVP

    Monday, August 5, 2013 10:09 PM
  • Really - We should NOT be having to jump through all these hoops such as adding programming code, or having to learn "styles", or having to completely re-learn Microsoft Word.  It is utterly ridiculous.  Have corporations not learned since the big "New Coke" debacle, DON'T FIX WHAT IS ALREADY WORKING. 

    Thank God I almost never have to use Word for anything work-related anymore.  I would be pulling my hair out if that was the case.

    Put it back Microsoft.  Put it back to what it used to be - a very simple Word Processor - not something that people would need an IT degree to be able to use.

    Wednesday, August 7, 2013 1:09 PM
  • Hi Naomi

    As has been mentioned before in this discussion, this forum really targets programming questions, not problems connected with how to actually use Word. For that kind of thing, you're better off in a forum that targets end-users:

    Unfortunately, we're not able to move discussions from here to that set of forums so you'll need to ask your question there, again. You'll find a lot more people there, with all kinds of experience working with Word.

    FWIW, though, it sounds to me as if something (not Word or Microsoft!) has changed how your ENTER key is working. Pressing the ENTER key should never insert the arrows, it should only insert a pilcrow ("backwards P"). If you're seeing something different, then some third-party software has reassigned the key. This could be a macro you've installed in Word, some software under Windows or perhaps a virus. I've never heard of this happening before, although from the discussion this thread, going back a couple of years, there is apparently something out there causing the problem. Possibly, the people who deal with Word as end users, in that other forum, have heard of the problem and know what it is. At the very least, they should be able to help you track it down!

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Wednesday, August 7, 2013 2:12 PM
  • Thanks to all the fast replies, especially Cindy. Thanks to BigRedd for the original post - this has been by far the most informative thread I've found (kudos to you for taking it to the programmers). I'm working toward being a writer so I understand the frustration. Thank-you Stefan - I'm certain I followed those instructions to the letter - I think you and Cindy may well be spot on with the problem lying elsewhere.

    For anyone within this forum interested, collecting cases, or trying to help, in my case the problem arises in Word, Works Processor and PowerPoint. I have yet to try OneNote, Excel, Works Spreadsheet and Works Database. I use the 2007 edition of Task Launcher and the 2007 edition of PowerPoint. My laptop is about three/four years old and has other faults, but I'm fairly certain this problem has been present the longest. The problem isn't present on job sites, or within Outlook email - I've copy & pasted these into Word on numerous occasions and when Stefan noted the paragraphs possibility I made a beeline to check them for pilcrows.

    I'm fairly certain Cindy has it right - my Enter key isn't functioning - it's not creating the pilcrows, and therefore not creating new paragraphs; instead it's creating the bent arrow or line breaks, making it impossible to align only selected text.

    I'm absolutely going to follow your advice Cindy, and take your macros and virus suggestions to the end user forums, but I do hope this thread stays open - I have only respect for all the knowledge on these forums, and you've all had by far the most helpful input of anywhere. And as an aside note, I really enjoyed the feeling of being in charge I got when I opened that Visual Basic Editor - very cool, however brief the moment was ^D^ 
    Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9:42 PM
  • Hi Naomi

    Just a quick follow-up: Given the additional information about other applications where the problem is showing up, the issue is almost certainly at the system (Windows) level, not in any single application. I'm not familiar with Task Launcher, so I have no idea if that could be a reason, or whether it lies elsewhere. Given that the problem appears to be in the system, not within Word, you should probably ask in a Windows forum, not an application-specific forum. As I don't know which version of Windows you have, here's a starting point:

    Cindy Meister, VSTO/Word MVP, my blog

    Thursday, August 8, 2013 12:36 PM
  • The problem I was having was using shift+enter for the whole document which I think caused Word 2013 to think the whole text/paper was one paragraph. For the one line I needed centre aligning I just used enter above and below this one line. This resolved the issue and I hope may help someone else. Maybe somehow your enter is acting like this, no idea how you revert it back to normal though!

    Many Thanks


    Thursday, April 16, 2015 10:06 PM