This is a quick reference round-up how to and how not to covering how to stat a new line, how to start a new paragraph, how to start a new page and how to indent a paragraph in Word for Windows.
I have covered all of these in detail in various longer articles which I’ll link to as we go along.
Why all the fuss? Why can’t I do it my way?
If you are formatting a document to be used by someone else, edited and changed or, especially, printed, it’s vital that you use the standard ways to lay out your document to prevent it getting into a mess or someone else having to reformat it (which could be expensive if you’re paying them). In addition, certain methods, especially using Enter to start a new line, can make your document messy as soon as you enter extra text before that line break (see the relevant article for details and examples).
How to start a new line in Word
Don’t use the space bar to move the cursor along until it finally gets to the next line
Do use a soft line return or a hard paragraph return:
- Pressing the shift key and enter key at the same time at the end of your line will move the cursor to the next line without any paragraph breaks, spaces between the lines, etc. (this is very useful if you’re creating two-line captions)
- Pressing the enter key at the end of your line will move the cursor to the start of the new line (this will give you a space between the two lines if you have your paragraphs set up like that
How to start a new paragraph in Word
Don’t use the space bar to move the cursor to a new line, then create a new line of spaces
Do use a hard paragraph return: hit the Enter key on your keyboard
How to put a space between paragraphs in Word
Don’t use the Enter key to add a line of white space
How to indent a paragraph in Word
Really don’t use the space key to line up the paragraphs
Don’t use the Tab key to indent the paragraph
Do either highlight the whole text and set the rulers at the top of the page OR set the Normal style to have an indent at the start of a paragraph
How to start a new page in Word
Don’t use the Enter key to move the cursor down to the next page
Do use the Enter and Control keys at the same time to force a page break
This article has summarised how to start a new line, paragraph and page and indent a paragraph correctly in Word.
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