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Publishing

Formatting with style

The ‘Styles’ function in Microsoft Word can save you a heap of time & money by doing all the grunt work involved in formatting text. In your document choose Format > Style to display the style dialogue box. In the drop down menu choose to list All Styles.

As you’ll see, Word has a huge number of predefined styles you can assign to headings, body text, bullets, tables & footnotes.

These styles can be assigned to the toolbar as a drop down list to make them even easier to access & use. You can also modify each of the styles to suit your needs.

Once you’ve set them up, you simply assign a style to each paragraph by leaving your cursor in the text and choosing the style (e.g. ‘Header 1’) from the menu. Hey presto – you’ve got a heading!

With a single click, each of your paragraphs can be given consistent formatting. Each style contains information on:

  • text alignment
  • tabs
  • paragraph spacing
  • font & size
  • colour
  • borders & shading.

Save on Typesetting Time

Not only will this ensure consistency of layout & encourage you to think about structure, it can also save time (& hence money) if your text is later typeset in a page layout program.

Whatever new styles your designer comes up with can be imported over the ones you’ve already assigned. This is a lot faster than scanning through the entire text to assign the styles all over again.

Be Consistent

To ensure you’re consistent you can set up your screen in Word to display the style of each paragraph in the left margin. Choose Tools > Options & in the dialogue box that pops up simply enter a value for the width of the Style Box (the default is 0, so it doesn’t normally appear).

Once set up, simply drag the border to a convenient size.

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About dalway

Damian Alway has over a decade of experience in print & online publishing. He’s managed several large websites across government, not-for-profit & commercial sectors, worked as a production editor in a print environment & as a freelance publishing services consultant.

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