Formatting Documents

Word and Google Docs allow you to do things you should NEVER do. Breaking these rules makes it much more difficult to edit documents, maintain a consistent, professional look, and transfer materials to the web.

  1. Use Styles. NEVER format text by selecting and formatting text directly by changing sizes, bold, etc. If you don’t like the fonts or sizes in the default style, modify the style – not the text! And do NOT use justified text.
  2. Use Title, Subtitle, Heading 1, Heading 2: Rule 1 especially applies to titles and heading styles. These include special features to keep titles attached to the following text.
  3. Use Automatic Table of Contents. When you properly use heading styles, you can create tables of contents automatically.
  4. Use Breaks. NEVER adjust page or column breaks by adding blank lines or spaces – always use the “insert page break” or similar commands.
  5. Take Care with Tables. In table properties, use “no text wrapping.” Use “Autofit to Window” and then “Autofit to Contents.” Use the “no spacing” style for the text in the table. Go into Table Properties / Row and untick the box that says “Allow rows to break across pages.”
  6. Never use Text Boxes and Avoid Columns. These always create problems, and are inconsistent with the web.
  7. Don’t distort pictures. A common mistake is to distort a photo by moving the top and side anchors – avoid this! Always crop as tightly as possible on the subject. Align left or right with margin (not page), text-wrap square. Things look best when all photos are the same size.
  8. No double spaces. Back in the days of mechanical typewriters, many learned to space twice after periods. This is WRONG when using computers.
  9. Avoid changing colors. Themes and styles have a preset, consistent, well-designed color palette. You can change it, but you should stick to a designed color palette rather than just selecting random colors.
  10. References. Use inline bibliographic references, not footnotes.

Featured Photo by Desola Lanre-Ologun on Unsplash