Quick Tip:
Keeping Clients Happy With the Correct Paragraph Formatting

If you’re not familiar with the paragraph formatting tools in your word processor, you should get to know them and start using them immediately. If you don’t, you risk sending clients copy that not only looks bad but also won’t print properly.

On Microsoft Word, use "Format" (menu bar) > Paragraph (nested menu) to get to the Paragraph Formatting dialog box.


Don’t try to center paragraphs (or subheads) with the space bar and hard paragraph returns (the "Enter" or "Return" key).

Instead, use Format>Paragraph – and then go to the "Alignment" drop-down menu and choose "Center." Or use the "Center" button on the formatting tool bar. You can use both of these methods to align a paragraph flush-left (lining up with the left margin), flush-right (lining up with the right margin), or justified (positioned so that the text lines up with both the left and right margins).


Never try to create a double-spaced document by putting an extra hard return at the end of each line. Your client could end up with a mess that is too much trouble for him to fix.

Instead, use Format>Paragraph – and then go to the "Line Spacing:" drop-down menu. You can choose from single, 1.5, and double-spacing.


Use the Tab key (mid-left of your keyboard) to indent paragraphs. Don’t use the space bar. If you do, you’ll end up with uneven indents.

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Published: July 25, 2005

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