Friday, June 24, 2011


To display the Paragraph dialog, display the Styles (or Styles and Formatting) pane, right click a style, select Modify, and then click Format and then Paragraph.

General: Alignment
Pick one from the drop-down list.
  • Left: This alignment is the most used because we read from left to right. Your right margin has an uneven look. 
  • Centered: This alignment is frequently used to align graphics in the center of a page.
  • Right: This alignment is hand when you want text to feed from the right margin left. 
  • Justified: This alignment causes text to have an even right margin. When you use this alignment, the computer adds spacing between words in a line. Visually, your document looks perfect but it can be hard to read because of the different spacing between words.
General: Outline level
I've never used this particular field when designing a document. If you Google, your version of Word plus Outline level (Word 2010 Outline level), you'll find lots of information on the topic.

Indention: Left/Right
The Left and Right fields allow you to control and indent from the left and right margin. The increment is in inches.

A use example would be a quote or block quote style. As a general statement, when you have a quotation that is more than five typed lines long, it should be indent .5 inches from each margin to set it off from the remainder of the text. I've used a quote style on as few as three typed lines because I've wanted to highlight the quote.

You have built in styles for quotes that will include the word quote in the name (for example, Quote, Block Quote, Intense Quote). The indents for the quote are controlled from these two fields. If you decide you want to increase the customary .5 inch indent, these fields are where you make that alteration. Just remember that when you make the change, the change applies to every place where you use or used the style.

Indention: Indent Special/By
  • First line
    If you like to indent the first line of a paragraph to alert your reader to the new paragraph, select First line from the drop-down list, and in the By field enter the amount you want the first letter of the first line to indent. The default is .5 inches. 
  • Hanging
    Hanging indents are used with bullets like the ones you see here. I've rarely seen bullets in a genealogical-related document. In addition, you have built-in bullets that take care of this formatting for you. However, you should still know where the hanging indent is controlled in case something goes wrong with one you are using.
  • Mirror indents
    When you click this option, Left/Right turns into Inside/Outside, which refers to the gutter in a mirrored margin document...I can just hear the groaning...where is she now! These are the types of margins that allow you to have page numbering appear like it does in the printed book. Having the option associated with a style allows you to override the general setting for the entire document that you set up when you completed Page Setup. When you completed the Page Setup, you added a gutter (the distance from the inside and outside margins to the edge of the page). The gutter has to be large enough to accommodate binding. It's much easier to control this option from the Page Setup. 
Spacing: Before/After
These fields control the spacing before and after a paragraph. When you build the before/after space into a style, the spacing is applied whenever you apply the style to text. I've written about these fields before in Stop Document Bloat. At the end of a paragraph, you should only have to press Enter once.

Also of note where this field is concerned is that I like to use multiples of three (3, 6, 9, 12...). When you press enter and one field has 6 points after and the next style has 12 points before, the spacing between the elements is 12 points. If you want more space, you can do a global change (change the style) or a local change (right click in the text, select Paragraph, and make a change that applies only to the currently selected paragraph).

Spacing: Line Spacing
For the most part I use single spacing. Of note, if you are using Word 2007 or 2010, you'll find that body text styles are set to Multiple 1.15. So your spacing between lines is .15 inches more than the normal single spacing. The additional .15 is intended to make reading easier. I find that all it does is eat up space...and paper. I reset my styles to Single.

Spacing: Don't add space between paragraphs of the same style
I don't use this setting. I'll have to do some research to see if I want to use this option.

As you make changes, they are reflected in the Preview field. You can sometimes spot a problem by checking the preview.

  • Global changes are the result of changing a style and applying that style to many pieces of text.
  • Global changes are always made via the Modify Style dialog. 
  • Local changes are the result of selecting text (for example, a paragraph or a title), right-clicking in the selected text to display a pop-up menu, and then selecting Paragraph to display the Paragraph dialog. 
  • Local changes are always made via the Paragraph dialog.
Now the confusion, you can display the Paragraph dialog in several ways. You need to remember that to make a global change, you always right-click a style in the Styles (Styles and Formatting) pane, and then select Modify. As you can see, getting to the right Paragraph dialog is important.

Next Post
The next post is going to be on the Line and Page Breaks tab. I'm going to attempt to explain page breaking because one of the major page break options in on this page. There are a number of ways to enter a page break in a Word document. They each have their specific use and you need to know about each one if you are going to produce large documents.

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