Release Date: November 7, 2018
Category: Writing Tools
Author: Amanda W., Ph.D.
Many versions of Word allow users to enter text in right-to-left format to accommodate other languages. Most of these change the formatting to left-to-right text direction when users select English for the text language. However, a few versions have bugs in this process and the formatting remains right to left, such as the Arabic versions of Word. If you receive a document originally written in one of these versions, the cursor, text direction, and/or punctuation will behave abnormally.
Here, we describe 1) how to fix this problem in a selected segment of text and 2) how to set all new comments to run in the correct direction. The information in this guide was compiled from instructions for the 2010, 2013, and 2016 versions of Word, so these instructions should be accurate for those versions, but might not work with older versions.
To do this, we will add two buttons to our Quick Toolbar. These will stay in Word as long as it is installed on your computer, so you can use them whenever you encounter this problem.
Text should now run left to right as we expect in English writing. If the text is suddenly right justified, meaning that it all lines up along the right margin, don’t worry – that means the author of the original document was trying to get around the bug and make the text look normal. Just select the text and click “Left Align” in the “Paragraph” section under the “Home” tab.
If you are providing feedback on this document, you will likely need to add comments to the document. Although the directions above are effective in comments, it can get very annoying to click your two Quick Access buttons every time you need to write a new comment. Luckily, we can set Word to use the correct formatting for all future comments.
Try adding new comments; the text should run left to right. This will save a bit of time and a lot of frustration. It will need to be done for each document in which you encounter this issue, but once you’ve done it, that style information should stay with the document even if you send it to someone else.
Keywords: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Office, Text Direction, Editing, Comments
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