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Chapter 4. Formatting and Layout > DIRECT FORMATTING


Control Formatting When You Paste

The Annoyance:

When I paste material from another part of the document or a different document, Word sometimes carries through the formatting and sometimes doesn't.

The Fix:

Two separate things are happening here.

First, if the text that you paste includes a paragraph mark, it brings its style along with it. So, normally, when you paste one or more complete paragraphs, you get the styles that were applied to those paragraphs. You can override this behavior by choosing Edit → Paste Special, selecting the "Unformatted text" option, and clicking the OK button. This makes the paragraph you paste take on the style of the paragraph into which you paste it, which is what happens if you paste material that doesn't include a paragraph mark.


To make Word display paragraph marks, choose Tools → Options, click the View tab, and check the "Paragraph marks" box. To toggle the display of all formatting marks (including paragraph marks, spaces, and tabs), click the Show/Hide ¶ button on the Standard toolbar.

Second, the smart-cut-and-paste feature in Word 2003 and Word XP tries by default to apply the appropriate style when you paste a paragraph of text. Choose Tools → Options, click the Edit tab, check the "Smart cut and paste" box if it's unchecked, and click the Settings button to display the Settings dialog box. Uncheck the "Smart style behavior" box if you want to handle the styles manually. Uncheck the "Merge pasted lists with surrounding lists" box if you want to ensure that Word doesn't change the style of list items that you paste within another list.

If you leave these boxes checked, you can quickly change the formatting of text you've pasted in Word 2003 or Word XP by clicking the Paste Options Smart Tag and choosing the appropriate option from the pop-up menu (see Figure 4-2).

Figure 4-2. Use the Paste Options Smart Tag to adjust the formatting of text you've pasted in Word 2003 or Word XP.

Bring Spaced-out Pasted Text Down to Earth

The Annoyance:

Here's a problem I run into all the time when I'm in either Word 2003 or Word 2004 for the Mac. Let's say I'm surfing the Web and find something really interesting. I select the text I want, copy it, open a Word document, and paste it in. Regardless of whether I use Paste Special or just plain Paste, the formatting is way off on every line—I get all sorts of weird tabs and spaces. This also happens with text from PDF files, Notepad, Text-Edit, and occasionall-y older versions of Word. Why can't I just paste in the text without any formatting?

The Fix:

Choosing Edit → Paste Special and selecting the "Unformatted text" option should give you plain text. If not, on Windows you can try bouncing the text through Notepad first: paste it into Notepad, copy it again, and then paste it into Word. That should get rid of any formatting nasties.

If the text still contains extra spaces and tabs, they're probably included in the PDF or web page for layout purposes. To remove them, either Alt-drag to select the column of unnecessary tabs or spaces (see "Hack Out Columns of Tabs or Spaces" in Chapter 3) or replace whitespace (^w; see "Find Any Character, Digit, or Letter" in Chapter 3) with a single space or tab, depending on the layout.

Copy Intricate Formatting Instantly

The Annoyance:

After some intensive work in the Font dialog box, I've finally got this word formatted exactly right. Now I need to apply the same formatting to five other words in the document. Groan!

The Fix:

Swallow that groan. You can fix this annoyance easily in any of three ways:

  • Select the word you've formatted, double-click the Format Painter button on the Standard toolbar (it's the button with the paintbrush icon), and then drag over each of the words you want to format, in turn. Press Escape (or click the Format Painter button again) when you've finished.

  • Copy the formatted word, paste it in over the first of the other words, select the pasted word, and retype the required word. Repeat as necessary. This method isn't as good as using the Format Painter button, but it's sometimes useful.

  • Create a character style from the formatted word. Select the word, click in the Style listbox at the top of the Style drop-down list, and type the name for the new style. You can then apply the style to selected text from the Style drop-down list.


Word offers enough formatting options to stop a Humvee in its tracks—and more than enough to waste plenty of your time. Here's what you need to know:

  • A style is a collection of formatting for a regular paragraph, a list paragraph, a table cell, or one or more characters. For example, a Heading 1 style for top-level headings might use a different font than normal body text, a larger font size, different indentation, and extra space before and after it. Word 2003 and Word XP support four types of styles: paragraph styles, list styles, table styles, and character styles. Word 2000 and earlier versions have only paragraph styles and character styles. If you use a version of Word that supports list styles and table styles but need to work with people who use Word 2000 or earlier versions, it's best not to use list styles or table styles. Styles are the preferred way of applying almost all formatting in Word, because you can quickly find or change a style globally in your documents.

  • Direct formatting is formatting that you apply directly to an object, such as a word or paragraph. For example, you might apply bold or italic formatting to a word or change the alignment or line spacing of a paragraph. When you use direct formatting, which you should do seldom rather than as a rule, use it in addition to applying a style (rather than instead of applying a style).

  • Page layout formatting controls the overall layout of the page: the paper size and orientation (portrait or landscape), the page margins, the header and footer position, and so on.

  • Section formatting controls the layout of a particular section (subdivision) of a document. The page layout of a document can vary from one section to another.

  • A theme is a suite of canned elements (such as a background image, bullets, and icons) and styles (for headings, the Normal style, and hyperlinks) designed to give a document a particular look. The styles in a theme override those in the document's template. The main purpose of themes is to make web pages created using different templates share the same look, but you can also use themes in other documents if you choose.

Here's the best way to apply formatting:

  1. Create a template that contains the styles you need.

  2. Apply a paragraph style to each non-list and non-table paragraph, as your primary means of formatting. Apply a list style to each list paragraph and a table style to each table paragraph or cell. (If your documents need to be fully compatible with Word 2000 or earlier versions, use paragraph styles rather than list styles and table styles.)

  3. Apply a character style when needed to pick out a particular element in a paragraph. For example, if a word must be bold and italic, you might apply a Bold Italic style that you have created (as described in "Get Started with Styles," later in this chapter).

  4. Apply direct formatting only when absolutely necessary. If you need to apply the same direct formatting to multiple items in the same document, create a style for it.

Apply Sets of Formatting Instantly

The Annoyance:

It's taking me hours to format all these paragraphs by hand.

The Fix:

You need to use styles. See "Styles," later in this chapter, for details on how to save yourself many hours of effort.

Change Capitalized Text to Small Caps

The Annoyance:

In every document my boss types, he formats THE HEADINGS IN ALL UPPERCASE instead of using a heading style. The Caps Lock key must be his best friend. I need to change all the headings to regular capitalization and small caps. I almost wish he were dictating instead.

The Fix:

Sorry, there's no one-click fix for this one. In Word 2003 or Word XP, select the first offending heading, then hold down Ctrl as you select each of the other headings in turn. With all of them selected, choose Format → Change Case to display the Change Case dialog box (see Figure 4-3). Choose the Title Case option, and click the OK button. Then press Ctrl+Shift+K to apply small caps. (Alternatively, choose Format → Font, check the "Small caps" box, and then click the OK button.) Word 2000 sadly doesn't support multiple selections, so you'll need to treat the headings one at a time.


Selecting Title Case in Word's Change Case dialog box makes the first letter of each word uppercase and the remaining letters lowercase. This drives writers and editors up the wall, because words such as conjunctions and short prepositions should usually be lowercase in headings. You can create a macro that applies proper capitalization to most of the words in the headings, though; see "Apply Proper Capitalization" in Chapter 8.

Figure 4-3. The Change Case dialog box is the quickest way to change uppercase text to Title Case.

Replace Spaced Indents with Real Indents

The Annoyance:

One of my "traditional" colleagues just loves to put four spaces at the beginning of each paragraph. I think it might be a typewriter thing. Anyway, I need to replace those spaces with a first-line indent, but I can't figure out how to do so, as there are other instances of four or more spaces in the document.

The Fix:

This sounds like a double-replace job. Replace ^p and four spaces with ^p and a distinctive string—for example, ^pfirstlineindent. Then replace firstlineindent (or whatever) with nothing but the paragraph formatting you need: delete the contents of the "Replace with box," choose Paragraph in the Format drop-down list, specify the indentation level, click OK, and click Replace All. Alternatively, once you've deleted the whitespace (by replacing ^p and four spaces with ^p), you can use a style to apply a first-line indent to all of the paragraphs. See the "Styles" section later in this chapter for more on using styles in Word.

Reveal Formatting and Codes

The Annoyance:

Help! I'm a (maybe) recovering WordPerfect user, and I'm finding it hard to see which formatting is applied to a word. Why is there no Reveal Codes option?

The Fix:

Because—in theory—you don't need Reveal Codes in Word. There are other ways of checking the formatting applied to an item:

  • To check font formatting, choose Format → Font and check the settings in the Font dialog box (or look at the status of the controls on the Formatting toolbar).

  • To check paragraph formatting, choose Format → Paragraph and check the settings in the Paragraph dialog box. (Again, you can look at some of the buttons on the Formatting toolbar for settings such as alignment.)

  • To check tab formatting, look at the ruler or choose Format → Tabs and check the settings in the Tabs dialog box.

  • To check the style, display the Style area at the left of the document window (choose Tools → Options, click the View tab, and set a suitable width—say, 1"—in the "Style area width" box). The Style area is available only in Normal view and Outline view.


    If you work with the Style area displayed, you can double-click a style name in the Style area to open the Style dialog box with that style automatically selected.

  • To check the language, choose Tools → Language → Set Language and look at the setting in the Language dialog box.

  • To check the page setup, choose File → Page Setup and look at the settings in the Page Setup dialog box.

In other words, the settings are all over the place, and you need to know where to turn to learn particular pieces of formatting information.

Word 2000, in response to 10 or so years of complaints (from Word users as well as WordPerfect users), introduced another option for getting formatting information: the "What's This?" feature. You choose Help → What's This? or press Shift+F1, the mouse pointer displays an arrow with a question mark, and you click a paragraph to display details of its formatting (see Figure 4-4). Click further paragraphs as necessary, and then press Escape to restore the pointer to its normal self. This is better than the previous options, but not much.

Figure 4-4. The "What's This?" formatting pop up is the precursor to Word 2003 and Word XP's Reveal Formatting task pane.

Word 2003 and Word XP improve matters a little with the Reveal Formatting task pane (see Figure 4-5), which you display by choosing Format → Reveal Formatting. This task pane provides a breakdown of the font, paragraph, and section formatting, plus any other relevant formatting—for example, table formatting if the selection is within a table. You can click one of the links to reach the relevant dialog box for more details.

If Word's Reveal Formatting task pane doesn't show you enough detail on which formatting is applied to which object, try CrossEyes ($49.99), by Levit and James (http://www.levitjame-s.com/crosseyes/CrossEyes.html). CrossEyes (see Figure 4-6) provides a pane at the bottom of the document that shows you all the details of the formatting.

Adjust the Conversion from WordPerfect

The Annoyance:

My WordPerfect document got horribly mangled when I opened it in Word.

The Fix:

You need to adjust the conversion parameters for WordPerfect. Choose Tools → Options, click the Compatibility tab (see Figure 4-7), and select the appropriate version of WordPerfect in the "Recommended options for" drop-down list—for example, "WordPerfect 6.x for Windows." The "Recommended options for" setting makes Word check the appropriate boxes in the Options list.

Figure 4-5. Word's Reveal Formatting pane is no substitute for WordPerfect's Reveal Codes feature, but it's the best that Word offers.

Try opening the WordPerfect document again with those settings in place. If you can identify particular problems, display the Options dialog box again and check or uncheck the appropriate boxes in the Options list manually. This will take some experimentation and may be worth doing only if you have a handful or more of WordPerfect documents that you need to convert. Otherwise, it may be easier simply to fix any mangled formatting.

Figure 4-6. CrossEyes lets you see exactly which formatting is applied to which part of a document.

Figure 4-7. Word's Compatibility options can help you correctly import documents in other formats, but you may need to tweak the settings manually to get near-perfect results.


Word and most versions of WordPerfect are destined to disagree on formatting matters because they use different means of marking the formatting. WordPerfect considers a document to be a stream of characters flowing from the start of the document to the end of the document, and it embeds formatting codes at the appropriate places in that stream. For example, if a word in a WordPerfect document should be bold, there's a bold-on code, the text of the word, and then the bold-off code, all within the same text stream.

Word looks at formatting differently. In Word, each document is built of section, paragraph, and character units. The text of a Word document is saved more or less as plain text, with the formatting kept separate at the bottom of the file in a property table stored in the default section break. (If a document is divided up into sections, the property table for each section is stored in the section break that marks the end of the section.) The location of the formatting is stored using pointers to the appropriate locations in the text. This is why, if a Word document becomes corrupted (or simply too complex, as happens with master documents), the formatting can shift dramatically, or disappear altogether.

Property tables are a more efficient way of implementing formatting, but you can't simply look at the document stream and see which code is placed where. Word and WordPerfect include converters that do a good job of translating each method of formatting into the other method, but they may be unable to handle very complex formatting.


If Word's conversion of your WordPerfect document is still less than acceptable after you've tweaked the conversion options and you still have access to WordPerfect, open the document in WordPerfect and save it in Rich Text Format (RTF) or HTML format. Word will probably be able to read those formats more accurately, but you may lose advanced WordPerfect formatting and features in the conversion to RTF or HTML.

Embed Fonts in Documents You Send to Others

The Annoyance:

I spent a while formatting our family newsletter so that it looked just perfect. But when our friends opened it on their computers, the fonts were all wrong: bland fonts were substituted for the ones I used. Worse, the font changes had messed up the layout.

The Fix:

You've probably figured out what's wrong: your friends' computers don't have the fonts you used, so Word substituted other fonts. When the substitutes take up different amounts of space, the layout can change. The combined effects can be distressing.

There are two things you can do about this. First—yes, you've guessed it—you can simply stick to the fonts that everybody has, such as Arial, Times New Roman, and Tahoma. Documents that use only those fonts can look pretty bland, though. The second (and probably preferable) option is to embed the fonts you use in the document so that they'll be there for your friends to see. Here's how:

  1. Choose Tools → Options and click the Save tab.

  2. Check the "Embed TrueType fonts" box to embed the complete character sets of all the TrueType fonts you've used in the document.

  3. Embedding the complete character sets bulks up the file size and is necessary only if you want your friends to be able to edit your document. It's usually best to also check the "Embed characters in use only" box to keep the bloating down a bit. If you use Word 2003 or Word XP, you may also want to check the "Do not embed common system fonts" box; your friends should have these fonts on their PCs.

  4. Click the OK button.

  5. Save the document. Check the file size before sending it via email; if you've used a lot of fonts and embedded the full character sets, it could be pretty hefty.

Make Word Display All Your Fonts

The Annoyance:

I've installed a load of fonts, but Word's Font drop-down list and Font dialog box offer me only Device Font in three different sizes: 10cpi, 12cpi, and 17cpi. I figured out that "cpi" stands for "characters per inch," but that doesn't really help me. How can I introduce Word to my fonts?

The Fix:

Word has somehow been set to print with a Generic/Text Only printer. You'll get similar effects (see Figure 4-8) if you've installed a very limited printer, such as a dot-matrix printer.

Figure 4-8. If most of your fonts disappear from the Font drop-down list, it usually means that you've got a Generic/Text Only printer installed.

Choose File → Print, click the Name drop-down list in the Print dialog box, select another printer, and click the Close button. Back in the document, check the Font drop-down list or the Font dialog box; your fonts should have flocked back, ready for use.


Unless you, another user, or a macro has selected the Generic/Text Only printer or the limited printer in Word, chances are that it's set as your PC's default printer. To change the default printer, go to Start → Printers and Faxes, right-click the appropriate printer, and choose Set as Default Printer.

If the Name drop-down list in the Print dialog box doesn't contain any other printers, go to Start → Printers and Faxes and click the "Add a Printer" link in the Printer Tasks list. (If the Printers and Faxes item doesn't appear on the Start menu, go to Start → Control Panel → Printers and Other Hardware → Printers and Faxes.) Follow the Add Printer Wizard to add whichever printer should be installed.

If your fonts still don't show up, make sure they're in your Fonts folder. The easiest way to get there is to choose Start → Control Panel → Appearance and Themes → Fonts. If your fonts are missing, you'll need to reinstall them.

Turn Off Automatic Style Updating

The Annoyance:

I applied bullets to two paragraphs I selected—but Word applied the bullets to every paragraph in the document.

The Fix:

First, click the Undo button or press Ctrl+Z to remove the bullets. Then check out these two possibilities:

  • Your paragraphs aren't really paragraphs, but rather continued paragraphs with "soft returns" (Shift+Enter) between them. To check, click the Show/Hide ¶ button on the Standard toolbar to show formatting marks, and see if the paragraphs end with a mark rather than a ¶ mark. If so, choose Edit → Replace, enter ^l in the "Find what" box and ^p in the "Replace with" box, and then click the Replace All button.

  • Word has decided automatically to update the style—and either it's the style that you've applied to all the paragraphs in the document, or it's the style on which all the styles you've used are based (in a default document, heading styles and some other styles are based on the Normal style). If the paragraphs aren't soft returns, this is probably what's wrong. In Word 2003 or Word XP, choose Format → Style, click the paragraph's style in the Styles and Formatting task pane, click the drop-down arrow, and choose Modify to display the Modify Style dialog box. Uncheck the "Automatically update" box and click the OK button. In Word 2000, choose Format → Style to display the Style dialog box, click the style name in the Styles list, and click the Modify button. In the Modify Style dialog box, uncheck the "Automatically update" box, click the OK button, and then click the Apply button in the Style dialog box.

Stop Word from Changing the Language

The Annoyance:

Word keeps changing the language, even if I tell it to ignore special characters. I set it to English Australia, and it changes to English US, English UK, or, worse, French!

The Fix:

Turn off automatic language detection: choose Tools → Language → Set Language, then uncheck the "Detect language automatically" box in the Language dialog box.


Automatic language detection increases the amount of processing power that Word requires, so it's a good idea to turn off detection if you don't need it.

To adjust the languages that Word tries to detect automatically as you work, open the Microsoft Office Language Settings application (for example, for Office 2003, choose Start → All Programs → Microsoft Office → Microsoft Office Tools → Microsoft Office 2003 Language Settings) and use the options on the Enabled Languages tab. You'll need to restart all the Office applications before your changes take effect.

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