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.


  1. Interface, fonts and templates
  2. Paragraph formatting and list creation
  3. Tables and other formatting controls
  4. Working with images, shapes, and graphics
  5. Mastering Document Styles and Themes

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

«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».

  1. Don’t mess with Texas!
  2. 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».


Then click «AutoCorrect Options» and select «Auto Format As You Use». You can see that there are a number of different things that you can turn off. In this case, you can disable number lists and/or bulleted lists.


While you’re in the «AutoCorrect» options, it’s a good idea to check out the «AutoFormat» options. Feel free to turn things off if it annoys you.


As you use Word, you’ll find that it does a lot for you, like automatically changing 1/2 to 1/2, or changing — (two hyphens) to — (dashes). Check these options because you will most likely find fixes there (many of these same options can also be found in the AutoFormat As You Type tab). In fact, you would do well to check the entire «AutoCorrect». ”, to understand what formatting techniques Word applies to your documents.

Let’s now get down to business creating and formatting lists.

Bulleted Lists

You can quickly create bulleted lists by selecting the desired text by clicking the Bullets button. Bullets will be placed at the beginning of each line after a line break.

In the «Marker Library» you can choose a different marker scheme. Below you can see which markers are used in the document.


Finally, you can define a new marker scheme from a character, graphic, or font.


So the end result is the ability to create lists that adhere to a certain style, like the Pi symbols for the know-it-all list:

π run for president of the chess club

π buy new magic cards

π Clean heatsink on desktop

π Doctor Who Marathon!

π Play EVE online

Or you can create a food-themed list with its own special labeling:






mountain dew




Beer (sadly not free)

The thing is, you’re not limited to the standard bullets that come with Word 2013, so feel free to express your thoughts and use them to your advantage!

Numbered Lists

If you want to create a numbered list, you can usually start the line with a number and Word will automatically start formatting it. You can still create a list and apply numbers to it by clicking the Numbering button.

Similar to the bullet window, you can select a new numbering scheme from the Numbering Library and see which numbering schemes are used in the current document.


You can also define new numbering formats (font, style, and format).


Calling them «Numbered Lists» is something of a misnomer. These are indeed more ordered lists, because you can order them in any pattern that counts.

So you can have a numbered list (1, 2, 3, 4…) or use letters (A, B, C, D…) or Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV…). It’s really up to you, once again demonstrating the power of Word formatting skills!

Multilevel Lists

Finally, the layered list that you would normally use to create paths can be applied by selecting the text and clicking the «Multilevel List» button.

You can quickly manipulate the levels in your circuit by placing the pointer at the start of a new line and using «Tab» and «Shift + Tab» to increase or decrease them respectively.


You can also create a new list if the current selection does not suit your needs. In this dialog box, you can select each level you want to change and apply formats, styles, positions, etc.


Similarly, you can define a new list style. Here you can see that we can name our new style, define levels and indents, be it bulleted, numbered, and choose symbols or images. Note that this dialog comes from the «Multilevel List» options, but it applies to all types of the above list styles.


In most cases, you’ll want to use bulleted and numbered lists most of the time, while stacked lists are useful for creating outlines. However, you have a huge amount of flexibility with all three. Whether you’re making a simple bulleted list with flags for your kids’ homework, or laying out an epic 1,000+ page novel with multiple chapters and subsections, Word puts you in control of the creation process and create winning content!


So that concludes today’s tutorial, we hope you’re in a stronger place when it comes to paragraph formatting, shading and borders, and the many options you have when it comes to lists. Don’t forget that you can always go back and read Lesson 1 if you missed something we covered earlier.

In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll cover tables, as well as a range of formatting controls such as headers, footers, character manipulation, and more!

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