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Chapter 4. Learning Basic Formatting Tec... > Getting an Overview of Formatting in...

Getting an Overview of Formatting in Word

The rules of formatting in Word follow a strict hierarchy of characters, paragraphs, and sections. Let’s start with paragraph formatting because it is used most often. Strictly speaking, a paragraph is anything that ends with a hard return. (You may recall that a hard return is inserted when you press Enter.) The date at the top of a letter is considered a paragraph because it ends with a hard return. The same goes for a five-line paragraph—both end with a hard return, both are considered paragraphs, the length is irrelevant.

So, if you want to format anything from a single line up to a multiline paragraph, you apply the formatting to a paragraph. In contrast, you apply character formatting when you don’t want the formatting to affect the entire paragraph. For example, you might want to apply bold to several words on a line, but not to the entire line.


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