The first thing to do is make sure the main part of your text is in the ‘Normal’ style. You’ll find that on the top toolbar, highlighted with a yellow box if your text is ‘Normal’. If you can’t see a box saying Normal, try clicking on the Change Styles tab shown in the picture below and choose ‘Default’. The Normal box should appear as one of the Style options.
The beauty of setting up your main text properly is that you can change fonts, change sizes, change indents, paragraphs and justification all in one action in the Style menu.
It’s worth playing around with this feature to get a feel for it before you try it on something terribly important. Copy and paste a chunk of text into a fresh Word page. Make sure it’s ‘Normal’. Now select a couple of lines and change the font and size. Now go to the yellow-edged Normal box in the Style toolbar, the one that the red arrow is pointing to in the picture. Right-click to give a drop-down menu which has as its top line ‘update Normal to match selection’. Select that, and watch your whole page of text change font and size to match the chosen lines.
Easy-peasy! So much better than trying to highlight the whole book to change the font, or battling the Find and Replace menu to alter the format.
You use the same process to choose your paragraph type – whether indented (no space between paragraphs) or block paragraphs with no indent and a space between them. You don’t have to put in a space manually – Word will do it for you, and it can be undone easily if you change your mind and want to use indented paragraphs instead.
Here’s the tab to choose your paragraph style – this post is written in block style with a space after the paragraph, as is common in non-fiction writing. Most fiction is written with indented paragraphs with no space between. Add or remove the space to suit. And hey, look, here’s the line spacing option too. Really handy to alter it back and forth to see how it changes the page count and readability.
That’s enough to get your head around today. Come back next week for a look at headings, and some great labour-saving options that Word provides.
And remember, ‘normal’ is just a style – not a judgement of your brilliant, sparkling, innovative and far-from-normal writing!