That technique for changing text direction also works in Word 2007 and Word 2010 (it's been a while but I think Word 2003 could also do it). When I needed large areas with the text direction reversed, I always used Picture (Enhanced Metafiles) files. Those always gave me more formatting control and I could easily include illustrations.
I used Picture (Enhanced Metafiles) files when making chapbooks for publication. Because they would be printed on one side of a single sheet of paper, then folded into booklet form (the historic format), one half of the text had to be 180° from the other half. The entire text of the document could be typed out, complete with illustrations (historically, woodcuts), using formatting that wasn't allowed within text boxes, then each half could be copied and, using Paste Special, pasted into the final document using Picture (Enhanced Metafiles) and rotated to the proper alignment (one at 90° and the other at 270° to avoid font weight mismatch). I would then convert the Word doc into a PDF to stabilize the formatting and ensure compatibility for printing when publishing (at the time I had started doing this, my client and many print shops weren't using Word 2003 yet and couldn't read, let alone print the Picture files).