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Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
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Page updated Apr 12, 2020

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Mixing text justification (left-center-right) on the same line

How to use your menu, keyboard, or mouse to align words or short phrases at up to three separate locations on a single line, between the page margins

Related pages -

Headers, Footers, and Watermarks - how to start, stop, suppress, edit, change, replace, delay, overlay, and remove them (with links to page numbering topics)

Using two footers simultaneously (one for page number, the other for separator line and filename, etc.) so that items do not overlap


WordPerfect users sometimes have difficulty figuring out how to produce text on a single line that is left aligned, centered, and flush right, something like this:

ABC Corp.  Oct. 15, 2015 Pg. 1 
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat....

Doing this using WordPerfect's format tools is easy, but it might not be obvious -- especially to Microsoft Word users. Here is an abridged exchange from one of the Corel newsgroups that illustrates this common difficulty:

Q: "I've read about how WP can have different justifications on one line of text.

Just how do you get one chunk of a line of text to stay on the left while another chunk of it goes to the right?

This is what I was doing: I typed up the text (just nine words altogether); selected the last four words of it that I wanted right-justified and clicked on the right justification button on the property bar. The whole text [nine words] went over to the right. Same thing happened when I went into the menu and used the Flush Right option instead of hitting the button on the Property Bar...."

A: "Trouble is, you're thinking in terms of Word, not WordPerfect. In Word, you select a block of text (an 'object'), then tell the program how to justify it.

In WordPerfect, formatting can be done on a 'stream' basis. So, to put it simply, suppose you want the word "One" left justified, the word "Two" in the center, and the word "Three" right justified. You type the word "One," don't select anything, and choose Format, Line, Center, which moves the cursor to the center. Type "Two," then choose Format, Line, Flush Right, then type "Three." . . .

If you select the part you want to justify, WordPerfect treats it like Word, and assumes you want to move the whole selection. . . ."

Some important points -

•  You probably will find that just one or two of the methods below will work for most of your needs. Scan them to see which might be best for you.

•  Most of the methods below primarily apply to short blocks of text on a single line in the document. (However, all of them can be used to create or simulate a single line with mixed justiifcation.)

•  For longer blocks of text or multi-line items or paragraphs:

- Method 5 uses a three-column table with Table, Create (with or without cell borders) to divide the material.

- Method 6 uses 3 columns with Format, Columns to divide the material.

[While you can break up longer or multi-line items into short blocks of text, each block ending with a hard return (<Enter> key), and then justify them as you would a single line of short phrases (see methods 1-4 below), the 3-column table or column methods should be easier to set up and maintain during editing when used with long items.]

•  The first 4 methods below are different from using Format, Justification (or their keyboard shortcut and property bar counterparts), which will apply justification to a selection of text, or from the cursor onward (if no text was selected).

In fact, these more customary paragraph Justification codes can conflict with the first three methods explained below (which "push" individual text items into a specific location on the line), so if the methods here do not appear to work, check Reveal Codes for other Format, Justification codes ([Just] that might be causing a conflict).

•  All methods work both in the document's body text area and inside headers, footers, and text boxes.

The methods are -

Method 1: Using the Format menu

Method 2: Use keyboard shortcuts

Method 3: Use the mouse

Method 4: Use the Shadow Cursor

Method 5: Use a table

Method 6: Use columns

Method 1: Using the Format menu

This procedure assumes you are using the <WordPerfect Menu>; otherwise, these menu choices will not appear. If necessary, right-click on the top menu bar and select the <WordPerfect Menu> choice from the list that appears. [Note that the other procedures below will usually work no matter which menu is active.]

Compared to the next two procedures below -- using the keyboard or mouse -- using the Format menu takes a few extra mouse clicks, but it might be easier to remember later (i.e, Format, Line).

Do not select any text.

Instead, do one of the following:

•  If you have not yet created the line:

Use the method in described in the Question/Answer above:

[1] First type the left-justified word(s), don't select anything, and then choose Format, Line, Center, which moves the cursor to the center of the line.

[2] Next, type the text that should be centered.

[3] Then choose Format, Line, Flush Right and then type the right-justified word(s).

•  If you already have some left- and/or center-justified text on the line -- here, "center-justified" means using the above Format menu choice -- and need to add some "flush right" text to the same line:

[1] Locate your cursor after the existing text and choose Format, Line, Flush Right. This inserts a [Hd_Flush_Right] code in Reveal Codes.

[2] Then type the text that should be right-justified.

•  To center text on the same line with left-justified and/or flush right text:

[1] Use Reveal Codes to locate the cursor after any existing left-justified text but before any right-justification code ([Hd_Flush_Right]), then choose Format, Line, Center. This inserts a [Hd_Center_in_Marg] code in Reveal Codes.

[2] Then type the text that should be centered. (You can use the mouse or other keys to move past the line of text.)


¤  If you select any text first, WordPerfect will put the format code at the start of the line, instead of where you want it. Just delete those codes in Reveal Codes (or use Edit, Undo), and start over without selecting anything.

¤  As mentioned above, these procedures are for a single line of text, not for splitting a multi-line paragraph. (See above for multi-line paragraphs.)

¤  As also mentioned above: The centering format code in these procedures is different from the one inserted when using the more typical choice of Format, Justification, Center. It can be seen as a [Hd_Center_in_Marg] code in Reveal Codes. It produces a different result from normal center justification ([Just]).


☼  If you want to add [...]dot leaders from the left margin up to the point where you need some centered text, choose Format, Line, Center twice in succession.

☼  To add [...]dot leaders from the cursor location up to the right margin (assuming no existing text on the rest of the line), choose Format, Line, Flush Right with Dot Leaders. (You can add text following the [...Hd Flush Right] code on that line. It will simply push the dots leftward.)

☼  To indent an existing paragraph's text one tab stop with [...]dot leaders place the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph and use Format, Line, Flush Right with Dot Leaders. [For an older manual method that might work better in some situations see the DotLeads page here.]

☼   To change the default "dot" character see Footnote 1 below.

☼  See the shortcut key alternatives for these menu choices in Method 2 below.)

Video example

The link below demonstrates (in slow motion) how to create a new line of text with left, center, and right justification, as explained in the first method above using the Format menu:

Video camera symbolMixing_LCR_justification.wmv (Windows Media Player format, 39 seconds)

Method 2: Use keyboard shortcuts

This procedure assumes you are using a <WPWin Keyboard> or a <WPDOS Keyboard>; otherwise, these keyboard shortcut choices will not be available. If necessary, right-click on the top menu bar, choose Settings, then choose the Keyboards tab and select a WordPerfect keyboard from the list that appears.

Do not select any text.

Use the same procedures above (under "Using the Format menu"), but use these keyboard shortcuts instead of the Format menu:

<Shift+F7> = Centered text (<WPWin Keyboard>).
<Shift+F6> = Centered text (<DOS Keyboard>).

<Alt+F7> = Flush Right (<WPWin Keyboard>).
<Alt+Ctrl+F6> = Flush Right (<DOS Keyboard>).


☼  Pressing these shortcut key combinations (e.g., <Alt+F7>) twice in succession (e.g.,<Alt+F7>,<Alt+F7>) will insert [....]dot leaders up to the flush right code; pressing <Shift+F7> twice will insert [....]dot leaders up to the centered text). (To indent paragraphs with dot leaders, see here.)
[To change the default "dot" character see Footnote 1 below.]

☼  You can customize your keyboard to assign (or reassign) these and many other features to different shortcut key combinations. See Assigning a macro, feature, program, or string of keystrokes to a key or key combination (i.e., a "shortcut" or "hot key"). The above items are found on the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog, under the "Feature categories" drop list Format category

Example 1: You could assign Justify Left to <Alt+L>, Center Text to <Alt+C>, and Flush Right to <Alt+R>.

Example 2: If you only need quick access to flush right with dot leaders you could assign Flush Right with Dot Leaders to <Alt+R> or perhaps <Alt+Ctrl+F7> (or any available shortcut key).

Example 3: While this page describes aligning three main parts of a typical line of text -- left, center, and flush right -- you can do the same thing with tab settings by first clearing all tab settings (Format, Line, Tab Set, Clear All) and then setting new ones at the desired specific locations. This can give more flexibility in the number of text locations on a line and their specific locations. See Tab Settings in WordPerfect.

Method 3: Use the mouse

Do not select any text.

Use the procedures above (under "Using the Format menu"), but use your mouse to access a context menu:

Place the mouse cursor (i.e., the insertion point) at the desired location, and right-click the mouse. Choose Center or Flush Right from the drop-down context menu.


☼  Clicking Center or Flush Right twice in succession will insert [....]dot leaders. (You can also use this tip if you use the Format menu or keyboard shortcuts instead of the mouse.)
[To change the default "dot" character see Footnote 1 below.]

Method 4: Use the Shadow Cursor

You can simulate center-justified text and flush right text by using the Shadow Cursor, which simply inserts tabs (and hard returns, if needed) up to the Shadow Cursor's location -- the point in the document where you left-clicked while the Shadow Cursor is turned on. Shadow cursor


☼  The Shadow Cursor feature can be enabled/disabled with View, Shadow Cursor, if you are using the <WordPerfect Menu>; otherwise, these menu choices will not appear. If necessary, right-click on the menu bar and select the <WordPerfect Menu> choice from the list that appears.

☼  You can also right-click in the Application Bar at the bottom of the WordPerfect window, and choose Settings; enable the checkbox for the Shadow Cursor. Then you can click the new icon on the Application Bar (see image below) to toggle the Shadow Cursor on and off.

Shadow cursor button

Method 5: Use a table

You can mix text justification on a single "line" by creating a borderless two- or three-column, one-row table:

1. On a new line, click Table, Create.

2. Set Columns to "3" (or "2") and Rows to "1".

3. Click Speed Format and choose No Lines No Border, then click Apply.

4. Click Create.

5. Enter your text in each cell.

6. Justify the column text as appropriate. You can

(a) right-click in the cells and choose Format, Horizontal [Left/Center/Right alignment of the cell contents] from the context menu;


(b) apply normal line justification to the text itself in each cell from the main menu's Format choice.


☼  You can use this method for both short phrases and for multi-line blocks of text.

☼  Tables have some other advantages over the methods above. For example: You can add various borders and/or background fills to them. You can adjust the spacing between the text and the borders with the table's column and row margins. For multi-line items (e.g.,  several currency amounts) you can format the numbers.


¤  Microsoft Word users must use tables (or special tabs; see Footnote 2 below) to have mixed text justification on a single line, because MSWord formats the left, center, and/or right justification of individual words on a line as though they were individual paragraphs, and such paragraph objects ("containers") cannot occupy the same vertical space (i.e., the same "line") at the same time -- unless they are inside separate table cells.

¤  In WordPerfect, when using any of the first three procedures above, the text itself is centered or made flush right by inserting special codes directly into the line, "pushing" the text into a specific location on the line. This is not the same thing as setting up center justification or right justification (as in Method 6), which applies to entire paragraphs (i.e., anything that ends with a hard return or equivalent).

Method 6: Use 3 columns

You can mix text justification on a single "line" with three short columns, each containing the appropriate text and with each column justified left, center, and flush right:

Column 1 text
Column 2 text
Column 3 text

You can use this method for both short phrases and for multi-line blocks of text.

1. On a new line in the document click Format, Columns.

2. Set the Number of columns to "3" and click OK.

Note: If there was any following text in the document it is now in column format. This will be corrected in the next step.

3. Click inside the first column at the very top before any text and format codes (if any appears there) and press <Ctrl+Enter> twice to move the cursor and any existing text rightwards. The cursor should now be positioned at the very top of the third column before any text in that column.

4. Click Format, Columns, Discontinue to stop further column formatting. The cursor should move itself outside the columns (at which point another [Col Def] code -- the "off" code of the pair of column codes -- should appear in Reveal Codes).

5. You should now have 3 empty, 1-line columns on screen. (Optional: Adjust the space between the columns to a minimum dimension: Just double click on the first [Col Def] code in Reveal Codes to open the Columns editor.)

6. Enter your new text in each column. Just click in a column with your mouse -- or if already in a column you can use the left or right arrow keys to move to a different column.

7. Justify the center and right columns' text:

(a) Click in the center column before any text and click Format, Justification, Center; then -

(b) click in the right column before any text and click Format, Justification, Right.

Tip: Instead of using Format, Justification, Center (or Right) you could use the same format menu choices or shortcut keys described in Method 1 and Method 2 above. They should give the same results when used in columns.

Footnote 1

.....Dot leaders
place a series of periods (full stops) before the desired text (see references to them in the above sections here and here and here).

But you don't need to use "dots" -- you can change them to any character or symbol, and even add extra spaces between them.

This is done using a somewhat unintuitive method:

1. Place the cursor where you want the new dot leader characters to take effect (e.g., at the very top of the document). Note that the new leader characters will automatically replace any existing leader characters further down in the document.

2. Click Format, Line, Tab set. This opens the Tab Set dialog. (Yes, that's correct!)

3.Type a new keyboard character in the Dot leader character box. (Tip: You can also use a character symbol inserted from the symbols dialog (Ctrl+W).)

4.(Optional:) Type or select a number in the Character spacing box (a.k.a, spaces between characters). (Default=1.)

5.Click Set, then Close.

This inserts a new [Dot Lead Char] code in the document at the cursor location.


•  Make it quick and easy to use:

If you carefully select just that new code(s) in Reveal Codes you can turn this method into a QuickWord for quick and easy access in the future while in any document.

Typically (but not necessarily) you would use the QuckWord at the very top of the document so that any existing dot leaders will be instantly converted to leaders with the new character.

•  Quick changes:

If you double-click on that [code] you can change the leader character again.

•  Create a solid underline from (or to) a margin:

If you set the Dot leader character to an underscore (_) (step #3 above) and set the Spaces between characters to zero (step #4), you will produce a solid underline instead of a dotted line.

Underlining to a margin is useful with (e.g.) section Headings to set them apart from surrounding text -- sometimes done using Format, Line, Flush Right with Dot Leaders to produce a dotted line. [For an alternative method of underlining to the margin using a solid line see Underline2Margin.wcm -- one of 3 macros on the Underlin.html page.]

Footnote 2

PC Magazine (Dec. 30, 2003, pp.79-80) outlined the Microsoft Word method to left- and right-justify text on the same line in their User to User column:

[Q:] How do I right-justify part of line in Microsoft Word? In a certain section of a document, I want to list items at the left margin and issue dates on the same line at the right margin. In WordPerfect, there is a function that automatically sets the cursor to stay at the right margin, thus assuring that the text was aligned at the right margin. Is there an equivalent option in Word?

[A:] If the ruler isn't visible at the top of the typing area, select Ruler from the View menu. Create a tab stop by clicking on Format | Tabs. In the "Tab stop position" field, enter the inch number on the ruler (6, for example) where the right margin begins. Check the Alignment option titled Right, select a Leader character if you wish, and click on OK. This will result in the effect you want. . . .

Clearly, this is a lot more complicated than the method used by WordPerfect.