Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
Paragraph formatting works a lot like font formatting but with a twist. It's applied to entire paragraphs of text. Here is a quick rundown with examples of some of the paragraph formatting you might want to apply in your Word documents. I've got them all laid out here in this document and I'll start off with Alignment. Alignment is the position of text between the left and right indents and I've got four examples here. This is Left aligned, Centered, Right aligned and Justified.
When it says Left aligned its showing here that this text is aligned to get to the left side of the indent and that's normal alignment in Word. If you look over on this side you'll see that the edges are kind of ragged. The words are not aligned up here. They're just left to end wherever they need to end. In Center there's really no alignment. It's centered in between so the edges are ragged on both sides, you can see that here. especially on this line here. It's just short because it's centered right in the middle and then over here it's exactly the same.
It's a mirror image, basically, of the other side that's because it's centered. In this example, it's right aligned so its aligned on the right edge and the ragged edges are on this side, especially on this last line because it's really, really short and then in this final example it's Justified. Justified means full aligned, aligned on both sides, and sure enough you can see that this line here is aligned and this side here is aligned. Now what I want to point out is when you use full justification or justified text the way it makes it justified is it adds additional spaces between words where it needs to just stretch the whole thing out. If you look at the word spacing on the second line and you compare it to the word spacing on the fourth line, you'll see that there is a lot of extra space in here whereas in this line here it's pretty tight.
The thing to remember about this is if you use full alignment or a full justified text in narrow columns like you might find it a newspaper or magazine, if you've got long words you could make some awkward looking breaks between words. So just keep a lookout for that. Let's go down to next example in the next page and that's indentation. Indentation is the amount of space between the text and the margin. So in this first example here, this paragraph has indentation set with all lines flush with the margins.
In other words, it's not indented at all. Now this second paragraph here has a 1/2 inch of indentation on the first line only. That means on the left side, this side here, there is a half an inch of space on this first line but all the other lines go right out to the margin. In this next example, it's got a 1/2 inch hanging indent. A hanging indent is when the first line hangs out to the left more than the remaining lines, so there's this one goes right up to the margin where these are indented a half an inch.
In this next example here it's also a 1/2 inch hanging indent but the difference here is that we've put a bullet character out at the hanging indent and then used the Tab to move in. When you set up a hanging indent with Word, Word automatically puts in a tab stop to align it up with the rest of the text in the paragraph. So if you type in a bullet, you press Tab, it is going to automatically align you up with the rest the text. In this last example here, it's got 1-inch indentation from both the left and the right sides, so there's an inch of space right here on the left and there is an inch of space right here on the right.
This is commonly used for quotes in a document or to set off text within the document from other text in that document. Next up, we've got paragraph spacing. Paragraph spacing is the amount of space between the top or bottom of the paragraph and the previous or next paragraph. So what I have got here are four paragraphs total, after this first one. This one here has Normal spacing and this one here has Normal spacing. This one here has paragraph spacing with 18 points of space above it but no additional space below it, so there's 18 points of space in this area right here.
And then this paragraph here has 4 points of spacing after it but no additional spacing above it, so again there's no additional spacing between these two paragraphs but there is 4 points of spacing here. People commonly use paragraph spacing to have additional space between paragraphs, without pressing Return to get that extra blank paragraph. So you can get the spacing without the blank paragraph. We'll scroll down to the next one, which is Line Spacing. Line spacing is the amount of space between the baseline of one line of text and the baseline of the next.
Some examples here. This is single spacing, which is the default spacing in Word, this is 1 1/2 line spacing, so there's a half of a line height of blank area between these two lines. This is double spaced. That means there is a full empty line of space in between. These last two paragraphs have special spacing, custom line spacing. This first one has custom line spacing of at least 22 points. Now it's says at least 22 points. The text size is set to 12 points for most of the paragraph but there is some text you with 36 point text.
Now because this is set to at least 22 points, Word has put 22 points of spacing between the baselines but when it gets to this text here, what it has done is it has increased the line height to accommodate the text. This paragraph is setup a little differently. Instead of having at least 22 points, it has exactly 22 points. So you get the same kind of line spacing here but in this particular area where the font size is set to 36, Word is not going to increase the line height to accommodate it. You told Word that you wanted exactly 22 points.
So in that case, it's not making the change and it's cutting off the top of the text. So that the difference between Exactly any At least. And finally, I want to talk about list formats and these are bulleted or numbered paragraphs of text. Word does this automatically for us with a bulleted list, a numbered list and then in this case it's a multilevel bulleted list. In each case, these are separate paragraphs of text and Word has created hanging indent formats.
So that it looks like a nice and neatly formatted bulleted list or numbered list, and in this multilevel format you've got different bullets for each level. There is also a three levels in this example here. So back up to the beginning of this document. I do want to mention that tabs are another type of paragraph formatting but they're involved enough to get their own chapter. So I'll cover them in later videos. But because paragraph formatting is applied to paragraphs of text, it's important to know where a paragraph begins and ends.
That's why it's a good idea to work with non-printing characters displayed while dealing with paragraph formatting. So I am going to turn that on by clicking this button to up here in the toolbar. What that does now is it shows me the paragraph markers. A paragraph ends at a paragraph marker. That's where you press Return at the end of a paragraph. In this document, we have lots of paragraphs, including some empty ones. So this first line is a paragraph, here is an empty one, another line, a paragraph, empty, a longer paragraph, you get the idea.
Now you can apply paragraph formatting the same way you apply font formatting, either as you type or after typing. Let's take a look at how this works by opening up a new document and typing some text. I want to start off this document with a heading and I what that heading to be centered. So, what I'll well do is I'll click the Centered button on the Ribbon and that automatically move the insertion point to the middle. Makes Centered formatting here and I'll type in some text that will be centered. Now If you recall, when I'm applying font formatting, I can turn off a formatting option to continue typing without it but you got to remember that's for individual characters of text. Right now I am formatting paragraphs. If I click the Left align button now what it will do as it will affect the entire paragraph so I can't do this because I'll be turning it off for the current paragraph.
Instead, I've got to press Return to end that paragraph and go to the next paragraph and then if I want this paragraph to not be centered, I can use that Left align button and type in some more text. Now the other way to format paragraphs is to do so after they've been typed. What you need to do is just select the paragraph and apply the formatting but I want to point out that it's not necessary to select the entire paragraph, if you only want to format one paragraph. I can click anywhere in that paragraph and then make the change I want and it'll apply to the whole entire paragraph.
So I am going to click the Right align button just as an example and you'll see it shifts out to the right. Now if I want to apply paragraph formatting to multiple paragraphs I have to select them. I can either select the entire paragraphs by just dragging right through them or if I want to I can select part of one and part of the next. As long as something in that paragraph is selected, the entire paragraph will be formatted with the change. So, for example, I've got half of this half of that, I can click this button here and they're both reformatted.
Now, in the following videos we'll take a closer look at the different kinds of paragraph formatting that you can apply with Word's Ribbon, Ruler and the Paragraph dialog.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
82 Video lessons · 97652 Viewers
80 Video lessons · 141103 Viewers
59 Video lessons · 59448 Viewers
52 Video lessons · 72766 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.