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Quick Formatting Tricks in Word

Word can be very unforgiving! Once a document becomes too unwieldy, it starts to stagger and then collapses, wiping out all the formatting in the process.

In some cases, you can recover the raw text but, as a rule, the layout and presentation is destroyed.

However, there are several ways that reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

Word Tricks

When creating documents, consider the following guidelines:

  • Try to start with a blank Word file. Avoid re-using old documents.
  • Create styles for Headings, Body Text and Bullet points. Or use a template that you’ve already built and know to be reliable.
  • Insert text with as little formatting as possible.
  • Use Autotext (Insert > Autotext) to speed up the writing process. AutoText allows you to create text that will be used repeatedly in a document, such as a standard contract clause.

    You record each selection of text as an AutoText entry and then assign it a unique name. You can also create autotext for commonly-used words and phrases: proposal, business, marketing, specifications. Then, every time you type the three letters ‘spec’, Word will complete the spelling and display ‘specifications’, saving you considerable energy during the writing process.
  • Create the table of contents, indexes, headers, footers, annotations etc.
  • Convert graphics to the correct size BEFORE you insert them into the Word file.

    Don’t manually shrink (or stretch) the graphic inside Word. Your aim is to use small high-resolution graphics wherever possible, such as PNG or JPEGs.
  • Avoid inserting bitmaps where possible.
  • Format the document. Apply all the headings, paragraphs, bullet points, call outs, text boxes.
  • Find and Replace – use the advanced features in Find and Replace to update words and phrases to Bold, Italics or Underline.

    For example, say you want to change every occurrence of your company name to bold. Click Ctrl + F to open the Find dialog box. Enter your company name in the Find and Replace tab.
  • In the Replace Tab, click More to display more options. Click Format > Font and select the Bold font style. Click Find Next (or Replace All if you’re more confident) to replace all occurrences into bold. Save your first draft as version 0.1. The next time your update it, increment the numbering to the next level, i.e. 0.2., and continue to do so until you reach the final draft.
  • Backup every major revision.
  • Store gold copies (i.e. final drafts) on a secure network.

Your Thoughts?

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