Monthly Archives: October 2012

Microsoft Word: Other Document Formatting Tips

Paragraph Dialog Box

Paragraph Dialog Box

When it comes to properly formatting documents in Microsoft Word, using the Ruler and Tab Stops aren’t the only features that help you create a clean looking product. There are many additional features built into Word designed to help you make the most out of your formatting, if you know where to find them.

*Note: This post is specifically geared towards Word 2007 / 2010 users. If you use a different version, you probably have the same features, but they may or may not be in a different location.*

Adjust the Space Between Lines

Sometimes it’s helpful to have extra spacing between lines of text, particularly when you’re giving the document to someone else for review and editing.

To adjust the space between text, highlight the information that you would like to change the spacing on (or do this on a blank Word document before typing), then right click, and when the menu appears, select Paragraph.

The Paragraph dialog box will appear, allowing you to change various aspects of your paragraph. The last section is about spacing. To change your spacing, change the drop down under Line Spacing from Multiple to whatever you want, such as Single (for single spacing) or Double.

To further adjust the space between lines, change the After field (to the left of Line Spacing) to something other than 10 pt. Note: The higher the number the greater the spacing, and vice versa. Once everything is

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adjusted, click OK to save your settings.

Tip: When adjusting a document to single spacing, change the Line Spacing to Single, and the After field to 0 pt.

Increasing and Decreasing Indents

When you want a paragraph indented a certain way, you don’t want to hit tab repeatedly, as manual formatting can cause a lot of unnecessary, extra work to make sure everything lines up correctly. Instead, use the Increase / Decrease Indent buttons, to indent your paragraphs just the way you want them.

Increase Decrease Indent

Increase / Decrease Indents

To use this feature, either click before the paragraph in question, to move the cursor, or highlight the paragraph. Then, click on the Increase Indent button located on the Ribbon under Home > Paragraph. (See image for more details.)

If, for example, you want to increase your indent, and one click doesn’t quite do it, click the increase indent button again, until your text is formatted the way you want.

The Paragraph Button

When you can’t format your document properly, but you don’t know why, you need to use the Paragraph button. This button is probably one of the more underused features in Word. However, when used properly, it can work wonders.

Paragraph Button

Paragraph Button

To view your Paragraph formatting, click on the Paragraph button, otherwise known as the large backwards P on the top of the Paragraph section of the Ribbon. (See image for more details).

When activated, this feature shows you ever space, every return, every part of the layout in great detail, which can often help you find and fix where formatting went wrong. To turn off the feature, simply click on the paragraph button again.

Knowing how to use these few simple tools in Word can go a long way in helping you create clean looking, well laid out documents.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you create clean looking documents. Email:

Formatting Word Documents with Tab Stops

Accessing the Ruler

Accessing the Ruler

When formatting documents in Microsoft Word, many users will press the space bar, or tab key, repeatedly, until the text is in the location they want. However, formatting your text manually can cause lots of formatting issues and alignment problems. Not to mention that formatting a Word Document this wan can take up a tremendous amount of time.

Instead, save yourself the time and the trouble by formatting your Word Document using Tab Stops.

A Tab Stop is a way to align your text properly by only having to press tab once. When you set a Tab Stop, you are telling the computer that this is the location that you want the cursor to stop when you press the tab key. It eliminates the need to repeatedly press tab to line up your text, saving your fingers and your sanity.

*Note these tips apply to Word 2007 and 2010. If you are using a different version of Word, these tips still apply, but will need to be accessed differently, depending on the version you are using.*

Turn On Your Ruler

Before you can begin using Tab Stops, you must first turn on your Ruler. To do this, go to View in the Ribbon at the top, and then click the Ruler check box. You should now have two rulers, one on the top, and the other to the left of your document.

Tab Stops Are Your Friend

Once the Ruler is activated, you can begin adding your Tab Stops. To do this, click on the Ruler, in the location where you would like your Tab Stop to appear. So, if you want your text aligned at the three inch mark, click on the 3 on the Ruler, and a little black L will appear. That L is a Tab Stop.

There are several different types of Tab Stops. If the L is pointed to the right (just like a typical upper case L) then your text will extend to the right of the tab. If you would like a different kind of Tab Stop, double click on the Tab Stop and the Tabs dialog box will appear. From here, you can set the type of Tab Stop that you want, along with the exact location which allows for more control over your

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The types of Tab Stops available are:

  • Left: Text is extended to the right of the tab.
  • Center: Text is centered in the middle of the tab
  • Right: Text is extended to the left of the tab.
  • Decimal: Any text before the decimal point extends to the left, and text after the decimal point extens on the right.
  • Bar: A vertical bar is entered into your document.

To remove a Tab Stop, double click on the Tab Stop, then click on Clear All in the Tab dialog box, and then click OK. Or, simply drag the Tab Stop down from the Ruler, and it will disappear.

Despite being so simple to use, Tab Stops can give you greater flexibility and control when it comes to formatting your documents.

What’s your favorite Microsoft Word trick? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you use your favorite software more effectively. Email:

Is Your Business Properly Backed Up?

Rigged Backup

Image Credit: czarcats

With your business, there is nothing more important than your data. Computers, equipment, physical locations and even people can be changed and replaced if necessary. However, if something happens to your data, it is completely unrecoverable and could take down your entire business.

That is, unless your data is properly backed up. So how do you ensure that your most valuable asset is protected? And, what can you do about it if it’s not?

Perform the Right Type of Backup

Not all backups are created equal. To ensure you have your data backed-up correctly, you’ll want to make sure that you use the right kind of backup, that is, image based backups.

There are two main types of backups, file-based, and image-based. Of the two, we recommend using image-based backups. Instead of backing up individual files, as with file-based backups, image-based backups take a picture of your computer or setup, including all your programs and files.

If you need to restore your backup, you simply restore the image. There’s no need to reinstall an operating system, or software, because the image does that for you automatically, restoring the computer to exactly what it looked like before, software and all.

Schedule Backups Automatically

Don’t leave your backups to memory and chance, for when you really need them, there’s always a possibility that someone “forgot” to perform the backup for that period, or hadn’t yet gotten around to doing it.

Instead, schedule your backups so that they happen automatically, overnight, every night. That way, if you do need to restore a backup, you have the most current data. We prefer to schedule our backups at night, when the office is quiet and files aren’t actively being accessed and changed.

Keep Software Current

Another important aspect to keep in mind about disaster recovery is your software. Make sure that your software disks are kept in an important location, so that they can be reloaded if they need to be. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that any support plans for the software are still in effect, as many companies now require this if you need to re-download your current software, or if you need to obtain new software.

Have a Plan B

It’s also important to have a Plan B when it comes to your data. Even if you back everything up properly and routinely, if the office goes down, will you still be able to access your backups?

We recommend using solutions like our Backup and Disaster Recovery Device (BDR), which not only backs up your data routinely, but also allows us to get your office up and running again in as fast as one hour if there’s an emergency or catastrophic event. What’s more, our BDR allows us to boot your office up in the cloud, meaning that staff can work remotely, if the office is an unsuitable work location for any reason.

If you are concerned about the backup status at your office, contact us today, before it’s too late. We can help assess where your systems stand currently, and can help recommend ways to ensure your data is safe and protected against any sort of catastrophic event.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you make sure your business is properly protected from disaster. Email: