How can I rotate a cell in a table (like MS Office does)?

LibreOffice Writer Version en_GB.
OS: Fedora 20 Linux.

I have a docx file that was created using MS Office in Windows. it includes a table where some of the column headings (columns 2-5) have their text rotated by 90deg into a vertical rather than horizontal format (ie. text can be read in portrait mode rather than native landscape mode), not that that characters are vertically stacked.

In this first image, the cursor is in “column 6” of the table which is aligned “normally” - The action icons are also “normal” in their appearance.

In the next image, the cursor is in the “column 5” text. Note that the action icons are also rotated so that their actions are in context with the text alignment.

In this final image I’ve rotated the text using “Format Cell” and changed the text rotation for “column 6”. Although the text appears similar to the other vertical columns (columns 2-5), the action icons remain in their normal, unrotated sense.

How can I rotate the text in column 6 so that the action icons also act in the same context as the rotated text, like that in columns 2-5? It seems as though MS Office rotates the whole cell and changes the reference edge of the cell from the left hand side to the top. That’s what I’d like to do if this is possible, but how?!

Thanks in advance.

As I could not achieve what you show in your second image, my answer assumes that Column 5 was changed to vertical writing in MS Word.

I made a test in Writer and Calc, LibO, XP machine.

I could easily rotate the text to vertical in Writer and Calc using Formatting Cells and in Calc even using the icons

  • Text direction from top to bottom
  • Text direction from left to right

However the “action icons” never changed directions. Neither on the normal tool bar nor on the sidebar.

As the “action icons” change in the case of setting vertial writing in MSO, I conclude that we have a bug. I would like to encourage you to file a bug report here: and report the bug number here to allow others to add comments, etc.

@Lupp - I would say we respect each other’s opinion always. And should we not be of the same opinion I feel it is very interesting to explore each others opinion, leading to a deeper understanding of the topic.

For my answer (not comment) I looked at both, Writer and for curiosity reasons also into Calc. I only knew that I rotated cells but needed to look again to give an explanation. Calc was not mentioned in the question.

As for Writer it is also possible. Click into the cell, right-click >Table > tab: Text flow > Text orientation > vertical.
This works, if needed, on a cell by cell base.

As for the rotated alignment icons, I personally can live without them, I transpose in my mind. However, I just feel it would be consequent if the alignment icons adjust automatically to the text direction. From that point of view I could call it a bug. However, to really call it a bug, the specs need to be looked at.

  1. What is an “action icon”?

  2. Being not MS Excel is not a Calc bug! It might be an advantage of Calc for many users.

@Lupp - “2) Being not MS Excel is not a Calc bug! It might be an advantage of Calc for many users.” You are perfectly right about this. — I regard it as a bug when I change direction to vertical and the alignment buttons show horizontal text only. — I used @KeepTriin 's term “action icon” and understand it as the alignment button.

@ROSt53 I highly respect your opinion as you know. As you may have noticed I was a bit confused and talked about Calc/Excel despite Writer was expressly named.

I sometimes used rotated text in Calc cells since about 20 years and never missed rotated icons. It’s so simple. As far as I know Writer does up to this day not support rotated cell content in text tables based on ODF. Does it? It’s also not a bug of Writer not to be Word(TM). You know “The Hare And The Hedgehog”? Won’t be the hare!

@Lupp - please see edit in my earlier answer. Text is too long for comment.

Opened a bug report here to track this: Here

@KeepTrim - Thanks!

Sorry for my “off topic” comments - and for being badly informed with regard to the center point!

Aha!’ Thanks to @ROSt53 a lot! Seems I finally got it. (‘Table Format’ > ‘Text Flow’ > ‘Text orientation’ > ‘Vertical’).

And: LibreOffice Writer V 4.3.3 does rotate the icons. (Calc unchanged as far as I see. The display rotation is a completely different thing in Calc.)

@Lupp - Great news! and another reason to change to 4.3. when 4.3.4 is released; I am bit conservative.

That’s the answer: ‘Table…’ → ‘Text Flow’ → ‘Text Orientation’ - Many thanks for your help, I didn’t see this!