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Hour 7. Formatting Paragraphs > Applying Paragraph Formatting

Applying Paragraph Formatting

Just as Word makes some assumptions about font formatting, it also sets default paragraph formatting for you. The most obvious of these default settings are left alignment and single spacing. While you're exploring the different formatting options, keep these four points in mind:

  • Paragraph formatting affects individual paragraphs. If you want to apply paragraph formatting to only one paragraph, you simply place the insertion point in that paragraph before applying the change. Word alters just that paragraph and no others.

  • If you want to apply a paragraph formatting feature to more than one adjacent paragraph, you have to select them first. (Actually, you just have to make sure that at least a portion of each paragraph is included in the selection.) As you know, Word considers any text followed by a paragraph mark to be a paragraph. So, for example, a three-line title contains three paragraphs. If you want to center the title, you have to select all three lines first. By the same token, if you want to make an entire document double-spaced, you have to select the whole document first.

  • Each new paragraph you begin takes on the paragraph formatting of the previous paragraph. So if you want to apply the same paragraph formatting to several paragraphs that you haven't yet typed, you can just type and format the first one, and then continue typing the remaining paragraphs. The formatting you applied to the first paragraph carries down to the others.

  • As with font formatting, the options in the Formatting toolbar show you the paragraph formatting that's in effect for the paragraph containing the insertion point. The same is true with the settings on the horizontal ruler. To quickly see what paragraph formatting has been applied to a paragraph, you can simply click in it, and then look at the options that are turned on in the Formatting toolbar and the ruler. For another way to check both font and paragraph formatting, see “Checking the Formatting of Your Text” at the end of this hour.


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