Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Productivity > Microsoft Word

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Paragraph Formatting

Some formatting is paragraph-specific. That is, rather than affecting individual words or sentences, it affects the entire paragraph. Common paragraph formatting that you can apply includes alignment, indents, tab stops, and line spacing. You can also create bulleted or numbered lists, and add borders or shading.

Setting paragraph alignment

Each paragraph in a document can be aligned left, center, right, or justified (Figure 4.6), as explained below:

  • Left is the most common alignment setting and is the default. Text in a left-aligned paragraph is flush with the left margin and ragged on the right margin.
  • Center-aligned paragraphs are horizontally centered between the left and right margins and are ragged on both sides. Center alignment is sometimes used for titles and section heads.
  • Right-aligned paragraphs are flush with the right margin and ragged on the left.
  • Justified paragraphs are aligned flush with both the left and right margins. You'll often see this in newspapers and magazines. The spacing between words is automatically adjusted as needed to maintain the flush margins.
Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 These paragraph alignments are available in Word.

To set alignment for a paragraph:

  1. Select one or more paragraphs whose alignment you want to change.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Click an alignment icon on the Formatting toolbar (Figure 4.7).
      Figure 4.7

      Figure 4.7 One of the quickest ways to set alignment is to click an icon on the Formatting toolbar.

    • Expand the Alignment and Spacing section of the Formatting Palette, and click an alignment icon (Figure 4.8).
      Figure 4.8

      Figure 4.8 You can also click an alignment icon on the Formatting Palette.

    • Choose Format > Paragraph. The Paragraph dialog box appears. On the Indents and Spacing tab, choose an alignment from the Alignment drop-down menu (Figure 4.9) and click OK.
      Figure 4.9

      Figure 4.9 Although it's more convenient when you have multiple options to set, you can also set alignment in the Paragraph dialog box.

The selected paragraph(s) are aligned as directed.

Indenting paragraphs

An indent is space between a paragraph and the left or right margin. Indents can be used to set off quotations from surrounding text (left and right indents), format body paragraphs in a business letter or school report (first line indents), and create bulleted or numbered lists (hanging indents).

Before setting an indent, you must first select the paragraph(s). Selecting a paragraph for formatting is different from selecting a word. You don't have to select the entire paragraph; it's sufficient to just click somewhere within it. To select multiple contiguous paragraphs, drag through them. To select multiple noncontiguous paragraphs, you can command.jpg-double click a word in each one.

You can set paragraph indents using the Formatting Palette, the Paragraph dialog box, or the ruler. You can create the following types of indents in Word:

  • Left. Indents the paragraph from the left margin.
  • Right. Indents the paragraph from the right margin.
  • First. Indents only the first line of the paragraph.
  • Hanging. Indents the entire paragraph except for the first line.

To indent paragraphs using the Formatting Palette:

  1. Select the paragraph(s).
  2. Expand the Alignment and Spacing section of the Formatting Palette.
  3. In the Indentation area, set the Left, Right, and/or First indent (Figure 4.10).
    Figure 4.10

    Figure 4.10 You can specify a left, right, or first line indent in the in the Alignment and Spacing section of the Formatting Palette.

To indent paragraphs using the Paragraph dialog box:

  1. Select the paragraph(s).
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph or press optcommandm.jpg.

    The Paragraph dialog box appears.

  3. Switch to the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Do any of the following:
    • In the Indentation section of the tab (Figure 4.11), change the values for Left and/or Right. The numbers correspond to the ruler that appears above the document text.
      Figure 4.11

      Figure 4.11 For greater precision in setting indents, use these options on the Indents and Spacing tab of the Paragraph dialog box.

    • To set a first line or hanging indent, choose First line or Hanging from the Special drop-down menu and then enter a value in the By text box.
  5. Click OK to apply the new settings to the selected paragraph(s).

To indent paragraphs using the ruler:

  • To create a uniform or flush indent, move the First Line Indent marker so it is directly above the Hanging and Left Indent markers (Figure 4.12). Then click and drag the square base of the Left Indent marker. The three markers will move together.
    Figure 4.12

    Figure 4.12 Align these three indent markers to create a block (to format a quotation, for example).

  • To set a first line indent, move the First Line Indent marker (Figure 4.13). Note that it moves independently of the other indent markers.
    Figure 4.13

    Figure 4.13 Move the First Line Indent marker slightly to the right to create a paragraph style that is commonly used in business and education documents.

  • To create a hanging indent, move the First Line Indent marker to the left of the Left Indent marker and move the Hanging Indent marker to the position where the indent will begin.
  • To set the indent for the right side of a paragraph, move the Right Indent marker.

Setting line spacing

Being able to modify line spacing is especially useful if you're creating a document that has space restrictions or when it must follow line-spacing requirements set by an editor or teacher. The most common line spacings are single, 1.5, and double. You can also specify an exact value.

To set line spacing for a paragraph:

  1. Select the paragraph or paragraphs for which you want to set line spacing.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • In the Formatting Palette, expand the Alignment and Spacing section, and then click one of the Line spacing icons (see Figure 4.10).
    • Choose Format > Paragraph or press optcommandm.jpg. The Paragraph dialog box appears. On the Indents and Spacing tab, choose a line spacing option from the Line spacing drop-down menu (Figure 4.16) and click OK.
      Figure 4.16

      Figure 4.16 For precise line spacing needs, you can choose a setting from the Line spacing drop-down menu in the Paragraph dialog box.

Setting tab stops

Tab stops are often used to align text and numbers in neat columns. For example, you can use tabs to create tables in which the entries are aligned on their left edges, right edges, or decimal points (Figure 4.17).

Figure 4.17

Figure 4.17 By judiciously choosing and setting tab stops, you can create perfectly aligned tables.

To set tabs:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) for which you want to set tab stops.
  2. Click the tab alignment icon to the left of the ruler, and choose the type of tab you want to set (Figure 4.18).
    Figure 4.18

    Figure 4.18 Choose a tab style from this pop-up menu.

  3. Click the ruler at the location where you want to place the tab stop.

    If the placement is off, you can drag the marker to another spot on the ruler.

  4. To add more tab stops for the selected paragraph(s), repeat Steps 2 and 3.
  5. If the selected paragraphs don't already contain tabs, insert them as necessary by pressing tab.jpg. Affected text will conform to the new tab stops.

Bulleted and numbered lists

Bullets help break text into readable chunks, making it simpler for a reader to find and digest important points. Word also lets you generate numbered lists, such as points in a contract. The procedures for adding bullets and numbers are very similar. You can apply bullets and numbering to paragraphs before or after you've typed the text.

To create bulleted or numbered lists:

  • Do either of the following:
    • To use the default bullet or numbering style for selected paragraphs, click an icon in the Bullets and Numbering section of the Formatting Palette (Figure 4.20) or the same icon on the Formatting toolbar.
      Figure 4.20

      Figure 4.20 Click an icon to enable/disable bullets or numbers for selected paragraph(s).

    • Choose Format > Bullets and Numbering. On the Bulleted (Figure 4.21) or Numbered tab of the Bullets and Numbering dialog box, select a bullet or numbering style and click OK.
      Figure 4.21

      Figure 4.21 Select one of these bullet styles. To use a different character or otherwise alter the bullet settings, click the Customize button.

The paragraph series becomes a bulleted or numbered list.

Applying borders and shading

Borders and shading can add style to a document or serve to highlight an important paragraph. You can set a border around selected pages, paragraphs, or text. You can do the same with shading.

To apply a border or shading:

  1. Select the text to which you'd like to add a border or shading.
  2. Choose Format > Borders and Shading.

    The Borders and Shading dialog box appears (Figure 4.23).

    Figure 4.23

    Figure 4.23 Add a border or shading to selected text in the Borders and Shading dialog box.

  3. Do either of the following:
    • To add a border around selected text or selected paragraphs, click the Borders tab.
    • To add a border around one or more pages, click the Page Border tab.
  4. Select a border type: None, Box, Shadow, 3-D, or Custom.
  5. Optional: If you don't like the default settings, you can specify a different line style, color, and/or width for the border.
  6. Optional: To adjust the offset that separates the border from the text on each side, click the Options button (Figure 4.24).
    Figure 4.24

    Figure 4.24 You can change the offset between each border edge and the text.

  7. On the Shading tab (Figure 4.25), select a shading color in the Fill section and a shading pattern in the Patterns section.
    Figure 4.25

    Figure 4.25 Select a shading color and pattern on the Shading tab.

  8. From the Apply to drop-down menu, choose the part of the document to which you want to apply the border and/or shading. Click OK.
  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020