Arranging Objects

In Word alignment, grouping, ordering, and rotating objects is possible. When using Word align text and order objects in various ways.

Introduction

Video: Arranging Objects

Launch "Arranging Objects" video!Watch the video (3:23).

In Word, a page may have multiple objects, such as pictures, shapes, and text boxes. You can arrange the objects the way you want by aligning, ordering, rotating, and grouping them in various ways.

Optional: Download our practice document.

Modifying text wrapping

When pictures are first inserted, you may notice that it's difficult to move them. This is because by default, pictures are in line with the text. To arrange them, you'll always need to choose a different text-wrapping setting. To review how to modify text wrapping, visit our lesson on Pictures and Text Wrapping.

Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting a text wrap option

To align two or more objects:

  1. Hold the Shift (or Ctrl) key and click the objects you want to align.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting objects to align
  2. From the Format tab, click the Align command and select one of the six alignment options.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Choosing an alignment option
  3. The objects will align based on the option you selected.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The aligned objects

By default, Align Selected Objects will be selected, which will allow objects to be aligned without moving them to a different part of the page. If you want the objects to move to the top or bottom of the page, select Align to Page or Align to Margin before choosing an alignment option.

Screenshot of Word 2013Arranging objects to the page

If you prefer to align objects manually, select View Gridlines. This option snaps objects to a grid, making it easier for you to align them with the mouse.

Screenshot of Word 2013Turning on gridlines

To distribute objects evenly:

If you have arranged objects in a row or column, you may want them to be an equal distance from one another for a neater appearance. You can do this by distributing the objects horizontally or vertically.

  1. Hold the Shift (or Ctrl) key and click the objects you want to align. The Format tab will appear.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting objects to distribute
  2. On the Format tab, click the Align command and select Distribute Horizontally or Distribute Vertically from the drop-down menu that appears.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting a distribute option
  3. The objects will distribute evenly.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The distributed objects

Ordering and rotating objects

In addition to aligning objects, Word gives you the ability to arrange objects in a specific order. The ordering is important when two or more objects overlap because it will determine which objects are in the front or the back.

Understanding levels

When objects are inserted into a document, they are placed on levels according to the order in which they were inserted into the document. In the image below, the table is on the top level, but we can change the level to put it behind the other objects.

Screenshot of Word 2013The top level

To change the ordering by one level:

In our example, we'll change the ordering so the table moves back by one level.

  1. Select an object. The Format tab will appear.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The selected object
  2. From the Format tab, click the Bring Forward or Send Backward command to change the object's ordering by one level. If the object overlaps with more than one other object, you may need to click the command several times to achieve the desired ordering. In our example, we'll select Send Backward.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Sending an object backward
  3. The objects will reorder. In our example, the table is now one level below the statue.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The reordered objects

If you have several objects placed on top of each other, it may be difficult to select an individual object. The Selection Pane allows you to easily drag an object to a new location. To access the Selection Pane, click Selection Pane on the Format tab.

Screenshot of Word 2013Arranging objects in the Selection Pane

To bring an object to the front or back:

If you want to move an object behind or in front of several objects, it's usually faster to bring it to front or send it to back instead of clicking the ordering commands multiple times.

  1. Select an object. The Format tab will appear.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Bring Forward or Send Backward drop-down box.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Bring to Front or Send to Back.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Sending an object to the back
  4. The objects will reorder.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The reordered objects

To rotate an object:

  1. Select an object. The Format tab will appear.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Rotate command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Select the desired rotation option.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting a rotation option
  4. The object will rotate.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The rotated image

Grouping objects

At times, you may want to group multiple objects into one object so they will stay together if they are moved or resized. Often, this is easier than selecting all of the objects every time you want to move them. Shapes, clip art, and text boxes can be grouped together.

To group objects:

  1. Hold the Shift (or Ctrl) key and click the objects you want to group.
    Screenshot of Word 2013Selecting multiple objects
  2. From the Format tab, click the Group command and select Group.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Grouping objects
  3. The selected objects will now be grouped. There will be a single box with sizing handles around the entire group to show that they are one object. You can now move or resize all of the objects at once.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The grouped objects

If you want to edit or move one of the objects in the group, double-click to select the object. You can then edit it or move it to the desired location.

Screenshot of Word 2013Moving an object within a group

To ungroup objects:

  1. Select the grouped object you want to ungroup.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Group command and select Ungroup.


    Screenshot of Word 2013Ungrouping objects
  3. The objects will be ungrouped.


    Screenshot of Word 2013The ungrouped objects

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing Word 2013 document that contains objects or images. If you want, you can use our practice document.
  2. Practice using the align options from the Align command. If you're using the example, align the seashells and starfish so they are in a row.
  3. Practice using the rotate options.
  4. Create a new shape, then send it behind the other objects. If you're using the example, bring the fish forward in front of the red text box.
  5. Group the objects into one object. If you're using the example, group the red text box and the fish.
  6. Move the grouped object to a new location on the document.
  7. Ungroup the object.