Quick Tip: Flip text for a mirror image in Word

Use these simple techniques to get a mirror image of text in Microsoft Word.

Entering a mirror image of text isn't as simple as entering the text and clicking a button - I wish it were. There's no feature that lets you flip text entered as text. But there are ways to get the job done. First, let's define the term flip because there are many rotation options for text and graphics. I want to limit this discussion to flipping text 180 degrees to create what's called a mirror image.

Leave it to the printer

Before you spend any time trying to flip the actual text in your Word document, check your printer's properties. To see what's available, click the File tab (or Office button) and then choose Print. In Word 2003, choose Print from the File menu. Then, click the Printer Properties link. Look for a mirror image or rotation option. If you don't see one, look among your advanced options. There's no guarantee that your printer can do this, but look before you tackle a more complex method.

Use a text box

Word can't flip text directly, but it can flip text in a text box. First, insert a text box - it's on the Insert tab in the Text group. Then, enter the text you want to flip and format it accordingly. To flip it, do the following:

  1. Right-click the text box and choose Format Shape.
  2. Choose 3-D Rotation in the left pane.
  3. Change the X setting to 180.
  4. Click OK, and Word flips the text in the text box, producing a mirror image. You can create an upside-down mirror image by changing the Y setting to 180.

Use Paint

I don't know of any way to flip text horizontally in Word 2003. You might consider using Paint, as follows:

  1. Copy the formatted text to Windows Paint.
  2. Select the text in Paint.
  3. Choose Flip/Rotate from the Image menu.
  4. Select Flip Horizontal.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Copy the flipped text into your Word document.

This method is troublesome and requires a bit of patience. It's difficult to get the size and position precisely enough in Paint so that it fits into your Word document. You can work with it and eventually get it right, but it does take some effort. In addition, the copied text might be fuzzy. It'll do if you can't find another way, but use it as a last resort.

You can flip a WordArt object (in Word 2003) using the 180 degree setting discussed earlier, but you can't get a horizontal mirror image. To insert a WordArt object in Word 2003, choose Picture from the Insert menu and then choose WordArt. After entering the text, choose WordArt from the Format menu and click the Size tab. Enter 180 into the Rotation control and click OK.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

Editor's Picks