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Microsoft Word 2004

Paragraph Formatting Options

This document will help you to use paragraph formatting options to achieve the look that you want for your document.

return to topAdjusting Paragraph Alignment

Word paragraphs can be aligned with the left or right margin, centered between the two margins, or justified. To adjust alignment, use the Paragraph dialog box, the Formatting Palette, or the keyboard. Instructions for all three methods follow.

Adjusting Paragraph Alignment: Paragraph Dialog Box Option

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to adjust

  2. From the Format menu, select Paragraph…
    The Paragraph dialog box appears.

  3. Select the Indents and Spacing tab

  4. From the Alignment pull-down list, select the desired option

  5. Click OK

Adjusting Paragraph Alignment: Formatting Palette Option

To display the Formatting Palette:

  1. From the View menu, select Formatting Palette
    The Formatting Palette appears.

To adjust the alignment:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to adjust

  2. From the Formatting Palette, under Alignment and Spacing, for Horizontal, click the appropriate alignment button
    Alignment buttons

Adjusting Paragraph Alignment: Keyboard Option

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to adjust

  2. Press the appropriate keyboard shortcut

Alignment Shortcut
Left [command] + [L]
Center [command] + [E]
Right [command] + [R]
Justify [command] + [J]

return to topAdjusting Line Spacing

Instead of pressing extra returns at the end of each line of text, you can add space between lines by adjusting the line spacing. This is a more efficient and precise way of adding white space.

  1. Place your insertion point in the paragraph

  2. From the Format menu, select Paragraph…
    The Paragraph dialog box appears.
    Paragraph dialog box

  3. Select the Indents and Spacing tab

  4. Under Spacing, from the Line spacing pull-down list, make the desired selection
    NOTES:
    Options include Single, 1.5 lines, Double, At least, Exactly, and Multiple.
    The At least, Exactly, and Multiple options require that you enter the amount of space between lines in the At text box.

  5. Click OK

return to topAdjusting Paragraph Spacing

Instead of pressing extra returns, add additional space before and after paragraphs by adjusting the paragraph spacing. This can be especially useful when you do not want a blank line the same height as the text.

To display the Formatting Palette:

  1. From the View menu, select Formatting Palette
    The Formatting Palette appears.

To adjust the spacing:

  1. Select the paragraph(s) you want to adjust

  2. From the Formatting Palette, under Alignment and Spacing, under Paragraph Spacing, in the Before and After text boxes, type or use the nudge buttons to select the desired spacing value

return to topWorking with Indents

Rather than tabbing in the first line or every line of a paragraph, you can create an indent, an amount of space between the text and the page margin. You can adjust the indent for an individual paragraph, the indent for a group of paragraphs, or the margins for the entire document. If you are setting margins for the entire document, refer to Adjusting Your Document's Margins.

Word offers three types of indents: normal indents, first line indents, and hanging indents. A normal indent inserts a specified amount of space between the page margin and all the lines in a paragraph. A first line indent inserts space between the first line and the page margin so it looks like you used a tab. A hanging indent uses a normal indent for the first line and then moves subsequent lines farther to the right. Paragraph indents can be set using the Paragraph dialog box or the Ruler.

Sample: Hanging Indent

Working with Indents: Paragraph Dialog Box

  1. Place your insertion point in the paragraph you want to adjust
    HINT: If you are adjusting more than one paragraph, select all the paragraphs you want to apply the change to.

  2. From the Format menu, select Paragraph…
    The Paragraph dialog box appears.

  3. Select the Indents and Spacing tab

  4. Under Indentation, in the Left and Right text boxes, type the desired measurements (in inches)

  5. If you want a different indent for the first line, from the Special pull-down list, select First line or Hanging

  6. If you selected a first line or hanging indent, in the By text box, type the amount of space for the indent
    The amount of space is measured in inches.

  7. Click OK

Working with Indents: Ruler

Instead of using the Paragraph dialog box, you can make indent adjustments using the Ruler. Shown here is a graphic of the Ruler.

Indent adjustments

Tab Type
Appearance of the Ruler
Appearance of the Text
Normal Indent Normal Indent A Normal Indent
looks like this
Hanging Indent Hanging Indent A Hanging Indent
     looks like this
First Line Indent First Line indent     A First Line Indent
looks like this

To set the indent:

  1. If the Ruler is not displayed, from the View menu, select Ruler

  2. Place your insertion point in the paragraph you want to adjust
    HINTS:
    If you are adjusting more than one paragraph, select all the paragraphs you want.
    For information on the different types of indents, refer to Working with Indents.

  3. Click and drag the appropriate indent button to the desired location

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