I received a word document that was probably created on a machine with some sort of right-to-left locale (e.g. Middle East). All text is in English but editing it is a pain. However, I can't figure out how I can switch the direction to left-to-right in Word 2007. The directions here are not helping since I can't find the "Views" button or tab that I am supposed to click as described under "Set right-to-left text writing". So how do I switch? Thanks!

  • how is this question related to software development? – HighCore Nov 22 '12 at 21:34
  • It's related to software documentation – I Z Nov 22 '12 at 21:52
  • If a question only has a programming answer, does that make it a programming question? – Zev Spitz Nov 23 '12 at 1:31
  • Off topic - xkcd feels your pain. – Zev Spitz Nov 26 '12 at 9:29
  • In the general sense you might want to read this article about typing and using RTL text. – dotancohen Mar 24 '16 at 15:06
  1. Add and enable the alternate language under Start / Programs / Microsoft Office / Microsoft Office Tools / 2007 Microsoft Office system Language Settings

  2. Click the round Office button:


  3. Click Word Options:


  4. Click Customize:


  5. In the Choose commands from drop-down menu, select Home Tab instead of Popular Commands

  6. Find and highlight Left-to-Right Direction, then click the Add button to move it to the Customize Quick Access Toolbar section

  7. Add the Right-to-Left Direction command to the QAT as well

  8. Now in the QAT you will see the RTL (4) and LTR (5) buttons, which you can use as required

  • I don't see the option. This is ms word 2010 but probably similar. What is one supposed to do from here? i.imgur.com/JfUReYY.png and there's no home tab in the dropdown i.imgur.com/ir0r9IF.png – barlop May 24 '13 at 11:51
  • now I see it. under "all commands" though it's greyed out. – barlop May 24 '13 at 12:08

Word left-to-right/right-to-left handling (LTR/RTL) works on two levels: the paragraph level, which can be controlled by right-clicking on the paragraph and choosing the appropriate direction (right-to-left, or left-to-right); and the run level.

Consider the following sequence of letters:


This is an example of an LTR run. If we are using an RTL language, even though the sequence of letters is the same order, the text should be displayed in reverse, as a RTL run.

Actual order: ABCD
Visual order: DCBA

When we add netural characters -- characters that don't have rules about whether they are displayed as LTR or RTL -- the run direction cannot be determined based on the characters themselves; we have to explicitly define the direction of the run:

(assumes LTR paragraph direction)
Actual order:    ABCD0123
LTR run:         ABCD0123
partial RTL run: DCBA0123
full RTL run:    3210DCBA

When typing, there is no need for you to set the run direction; Word sets the run direction of a given neutral character based on the direction of the current language you are typing in.

In older versions of Word (<=2003), I didn't find any way to do this through the UI, only through the VBA editor.

  1. Select the text you want to change
  2. Press ALT+F11 to open the VBA programming environment
  3. Click on the Immediate pane; or if it's not visible, press CTRL+G
  4. Type Selection.LtrRun and press ENTER

Note: To set the run to RTL, type Selection.RtlRun

In Word 2010, you can customize the ribbon by adding the commands LtrRun and RtlRun to set the LTR/RTL run direction.

  • I pressed ALT+F11 but I am not seeing "Immediate" anywhere. Can you help me locate it? – I Z Nov 23 '12 at 15:25
  • If you don't see the Immediate pane, press CTRL+G – Zev Spitz Nov 24 '12 at 18:55
  • Tried it, did not seem to have any affect on the document. – I Z Nov 26 '12 at 13:14
  • As I said, if you have Word 2010 (or 2007), it's much simpler to customize the ribbon, as Karan suggests. – Zev Spitz Nov 27 '12 at 6:44
  • None of the options mentioned above seem to exist in Office 365. :( – Andreas Jun 21 '19 at 5:42


  • Ctrl + Left Shift to set the selected paragraph in Left-To-Right direction
  • Ctrl + Right Shift to set the selected paragraph in Right-To-Left direction
  • For me it only changes between keyboard languages (Word 2013, though). – izogfif Feb 27 '19 at 4:16

in home/styles right click on normal box, choose modify on the left bottom of the modify style window click on format and choose paragraph in indents and spacing tab, in general segment choose Left-to-right

  • This changes the paragraph direction, not the direction of specific character sequences. – Zev Spitz May 16 '15 at 20:05

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