Today’s Geek School lesson in this Word Formatting series will help you finally understand how to format paragraphs the way they look the way you want and create bulleted or numbered lists with confidence.
We had our first lesson yesterday, discussing Word’s ribbon, page layout, and how to set up various page labels such as tabs and margins. We also showed you what happens between typefaces and fonts, as well as how to change fonts, i.e. how they appear in your documents. We then concluded this with a brief discussion of patterns.
Today, we’ll stay in the same documenting formatting area, namely the Home tab, but move on to the Paragraph section so we can look at how to play around with how the type looks and behaves on the page. We’ll also briefly discuss shading and borders, but the main focus of the end of Lesson 2 will be lists: bulleted, numbered, and layered.
We will first spend some time discussing paragraph controls such as alignment, line spacing, and complete the lesson on how to manage and format the various list and list styles in Word 2013.
You can control the behavior and appearance of a paragraph using the Paragraph tab. This tab has several notable features including indent increase/decrease, line spacing, borders, and more. There are many more options than it seems at first glance. To access this, click on the icon in the bottom corner of the paragraph tab.
The Paragraph dialog will give you more granular control. You can affect indentation, line spacing, and line and page breaks.
Alignment, also known as justification, determines how text in a document aligns within the margins.
Left — align text or image along the left margin. The right side of the paragraph can float freely.
Center − When you center align, it means that the whole block of text will be center aligned, between the margins.
Right — align the text to the right side (or move the picture to the right margin).
Full — this means that the left and right parts of the paragraph are lined up. The word does this by adjusting the spacing between words. This can often result in awkward paragraphs with big holes in the middle when working in tight spaces.
In most cases, you will use left-alignment for almost everything you write. Center is of course useful for centering titles and titles. Full alignment is commonly used in newspapers and many printed books because it creates beautiful square blocks of text.
We covered indenting in the first lesson, so you already know how to create a hanging indent if you want to affect the first line of a paragraph, but what if you want to indent an entire block of text. The increase and decrease indent buttons allow you to influence changes to the entire paragraph, for example, if you want to block a quote.
Alternatively, you can select the entire block of text you want to affect and nest it until it appears where you want.
«Line Spacing» is used to set the horizontal spacing between lines.
You can see the results of various line spacing schemes here, note that you probably never want to break your line by more than two unless you want to create really long documents!
You can adjust the line spacing using the options:
· Exactly means line spacing in dots. A point is the smallest unit of measure for lines or fonts.
· «Multiple» allows you to select a number greater than double or something in between. You can also set the line spacing using the menu option.
Shading and Borders
You shouldn’t have any problems with shadows and borders, but for simplicity, take a look at the following screenshot to quickly reduce the difference between shading text and highlighting it.
Borders, on the other hand, can be a bit tricky. There’s a whole trick with borders that might seem a bit frustrating at first glance. The borders button gives you rudimentary control over how the borders look, but you really need to dig into the Borders and Shading dialog to get a full idea of what you can do.
First, there are two tabs for the borders, one of which immediately touches us, this is the first one, simply called «Borders». Let’s say you have a block of text and you want to draw a 1-point border around the entire object. , having a dotted ½ point border between line breaks.
How is this achieved? You can usually just select a border from the dropdown menu under the «Paragraph» section.
However, you still need to add dashed lines. For this general control, you need to open the Borders and Shading dialog box and apply the desired style.
Once you’ve chosen a border style, simply click on each part of the «Preview» that you want to affect. In the screenshot above, notice that the outer border is a solid line, but between the lines we were able to add our dashed line.
You probably won’t spend days and nights formatting documents with borders and shading, but for the times you do, it’s nice to know exactly what you want and how to do it.
Lists! Lists! Lists! One of the things you will be doing in Microsoft Word 2013 is creating lists. Lists are critical to the organization of text, whether it’s an unordered list using bullets, an ordered numbered list, or even a multi-level list like how you got an outline.
Lists can be manipulated using the list functions in the «Paragraph» section.
A Quick Note on AutoCorrect
Word will also automatically create a list for you if it detects that you are trying to create one.
For example, let’s say you typed something «1. Don’t mess with Texas! «, and then you will click «return». Word will automatically indent this statement as soon as you hit the space after «1».
- Don’t mess with Texas!
- We have the best barbecue!
When you press the backspace key, it will automatically indent and number it (2., 3., 4., etc.).
Some people may find this behavior annoying and may simply want to create lists using the buttons provided. In this case, you can disable automatic listings in the settings. Go to «Options» on the «File» tab and select «Validate».