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Microsoft Word

Our Microsoft Word Web based tutorial provides the help you need to develop your Microsoft Word skills. It covers text entry, formatting, spell check, bulleting, numbering, tables, and much more.

Lesson 5: Working with Paragraphs

Open Microsoft Word. In the lesson that follows, you will learn various ways to format a paragraph. When you are formatting a paragraph, you do not need to highlight the entire paragraph. Placing the cursor anywhere in the paragraph enables you to format it. After you set a paragraph format, subsequent paragraphs will have the same format unless you change their format.

You will need text to work with to perform the exercises for this lesson, so type the following exactly as shown. End paragraphs where you see the end-of-paragraph marker (¶). Press Enter once to end the paragraph, but do not leave spaces between paragraphs. You will set the space between paragraphs during the exercise. Do not press Enter to move to a new line -- Microsoft Word automatically wraps at the end of a line.

Sample Paragraphs ¶
We will use this paragraph to illustrate several Microsoft Word features. It will be used to illustrate Space Before, Space After, and Line Spacing. Space Before tells Microsoft Word how much space to leave before the paragraph. Space After tells Microsoft Word how much space to leave after the paragraph. Line Spacing sets the space between lines within a paragraph. ¶
We will use this paragraph to illustrate some additional Microsoft Word features. It will be used to illustrate first-line indent. With first-line indent, you can indent the first line of your paragraph. We will also look at indentation. Indentation enables you to indent from the left or right margin of your document. ¶ 

Space Before and Space After

Space Before sets the amount of space before the paragraph. Space After sets the amount of space after the paragraph. Following are the sample paragraphs with Space After set to 12 pt. The exercises that follow give you a chance to see how Space Before and Space After work.

Example -- Space After

Sample Paragraphs ¶ 

We will use this paragraph to illustrate several Microsoft Word features. It will be used to illustrate Space Before, Space After, and line spacing. Space Before tells Microsoft Word how much space to leave before the paragraph. Space After tells Microsoft Word how much space to leave after the paragraph. Line Spacing sets the space between lines within a paragraph.¶ 

We will use this paragraph to illustrate some additional Word features. It will be used to illustrate first-line indent. With first-line indent, you can indent the first line of your paragraph. We will also look at Indentation. Indentation enables you to indent from the left and/or right margins of your document. ¶ 

Exercise 1

Space Before

Highlight the title of the sample text: "Sample Paragraphs."

  1. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  2. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  3. Enter 18 pt in the Before field.
  4. Click OK. You now have 18 points before "Sample Paragraph."

Space After

  1. Highlight all of the text you typed (the title and both paragraphs):
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Enter 12 pt in the After field.
  5. Click OK. You now have 12 points after each paragraph.

Line Spacing

Line Spacing sets the amount of space between lines within a paragraph. Single spacing is the default. The spacing for each line is set to accommodate the largest font on that line. If there are smaller fonts on the line, there will appear to be extra space between lines where the smaller fonts are located. At 1.5 lines, the Line Spacing is set to one-and-a-half times the single-space amount. For double-spaced lines, the line spacing is set to two times the single-space amount.

Exercise 2

  1. Highlight the first paragraph you typed, starting with "We will use" and ending with "within a paragraph."
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click to open the drop-down menu on the Line Spacing field.
  5. Click 1.5 Lines.
  6. Click OK. Your line spacing for the paragraph is now 1.5.

First-Line Indent

This exercise demonstrates how you can indent the left side of the first line of your paragraph, as in the following example.

Example -- First-line Indent

      The first-line indent feature indents the first line of the paragraph. The amount of the indent is specified in the By field. The remainder of the paragraph is indented by the amount specified in the Indentation field.

Exercise 3

  1. Highlight the second paragraph you typed, beginning with "We will use" and ending with "of your document."
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click to open the drop-down menu on the Special field.
  5. Click First Line.
  6. Enter 0.25" in the By field.
  7. Click OK.
The first line of your paragraph is now indented .25 inches.

Special Note: To remove the first line indent:

  1. Place the cursor anywhere in the paragraph.
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click in the Special pull-down menu; then Click None.
  5. Click OK.

Indentation

Indentation allows you to indent your paragraph from the left or right margin. The following examples show different types of indentation.

Example -- Indentation

We will use this paragraph to illustrate several Word features. We will illustrate Space Before, Space After, and Line Spacing. Space Before tells Word how much space to leave before the paragraph. Space After tells Word how much space to leave after the paragraph. Line Spacing sets the space between lines within a paragraph.

We will use this paragraph to illustrate some additional Word features. We will illustrate first-line indent. With first-line indent, you can indent the first line of your paragraph. We will also look at Indentation. Indentation enables you to indent from the left or right margins of your document. 

Exercise 4

  1. Highlight the second paragraph, beginning with "We will use" and ending with " of your document "
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Type 1" in the Left field.
  4. Type 1" in the Right field.
  5. Click OK. Your paragraph is now indented one inch from both the left and right margins, as in the example.

Alignment

Microsoft Word gives you a choice of several types of alignment. Left-justified text is aligned on the left side. It is the default setting. 

Example -- Left-Justified

Sample Paragraph

This is a sample paragraph. It is used to illustrate alignment. Left-justified text is aligned on the left. Right-justified text is aligned on the right. Centered text is centered between the left and right margins. You can use Center to center your titles. Justified text is flush on both sides.

Right-justified text is aligned on the right side.

Example -- Right-Justified

Sample Paragraph

This is a sample paragraph. It is used to illustrate alignment. Left-justified text is aligned on the left. Right-justified text is aligned with on the right. Centered text is centered between the left and right margins. You can use Center to center your titles. Justified text is flush on both sides.

Centered text is centered between the left and right margins.

Example -- Centered

Sample Paragraph

This is a sample paragraph. It is used to illustrate alignment. Left-justified text is aligned on the left. Right-justified text is aligned with on the right. Centered text is centered between the left and right margins. You can use Center to center your titles. Justified text is flush on both sides.

Justified text is flush on both sides.

Example -- Justified

Sample Paragraph

This is a sample paragraph. It is used to illustrate alignment. Left-justified text is aligned on the left. Right-justified text is aligned with on the right. Centered text is centered between the left and right margins. You can use Center to center your titles. Justified text is flush on both sides.

The following exercises demonstrate how to justify text.

Exercise 5

Right-Justify

  1. Return to the first paragraph you typed, beginning with "We will use" and ending with "within a paragraph." Highlight the paragraph.
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click to open the Alignment pull-down menu.
  5. Click Right.
  6. Click OK. The paragraph is now right-aligned.

Left-Justify

  1. Highlight the first paragraph you typed, beginning with "We will use" and ending with "within a paragraph."
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click to open the Alignment pull-down menu.
  5. Click Left.
  6. Click OK. The paragraph is now left-aligned.

Alternate Method -- Right-Justify by Using Keys

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Press Ctrl-r. The paragraph is now right-aligned.

Alternate Method -- Left-Justify by Using Keys

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Press Ctrl-l. The paragraph is now left-aligned.

Alternate Method -- Right-Justify by Using the Icon

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Click the Align Right icon Right-align. The paragraph is now right-aligned.

Alternate Method -- Left-Justify by Using the Icon

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Click the Align Left icon Left-align. The paragraph is now left-aligned.

Center - Using the Menu

  1. Highlight the first paragraph you typed, beginning with "We will use" and ending with "within a paragraph."
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click to open the Alignment pull-down menu.
  5. Click Centered.
  6. Click OK. The paragraph is now centered.

Justify - Using the Menu

  1. Highlight the first paragraph you typed, beginning with "We will use" and ending with "within a paragraph."
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. Click to open the Alignment pull-down menu.
  5. Click Justified.
  6. Click OK. The paragraph is now justified.

Alternate Method -- Justify and Center by Using Keys

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Press Ctrl-e. The text is now centered.
  3. Press Ctrl-j. The text is now justified.

Alternate Method -- Justify and Center by Using the Icon

  1. Highlight the text.
  2. Click the Center icon Center-icon. The text is now centered.
  3. Click the Justify icon Justify-icon. The text is now justified.

Hanging Indent

The hanging indent feature indents each line except the first line by the amount specified in the By field, as shown in the example.

Example: Hanging Indent

Hanging Indent:

The hanging indent feature indents the first line of the paragraph from the margin by the amount specified in the Left field, all subsequent lines are indented by the amount specified in the Left field plus the amount specified in the By field.

Exercise 6

When you begin typing the following paragraph, you might find that your paragraph is indented one inch on both sides. When you start a new paragraph in Microsoft Word, the setting from the previous paragraph carries over. If you wish, you can reset the indentation. If you choose not to reset the indentation, it will not affect your ability to perform the exercise.

  1. Type the following:
    Hanging Indent: The hanging indent feature indents the first line by the amount specified in the Left field. Subsequent lines are indented by the amount specified in the Left field plus the amount specified in the By field.
    Highlight the paragraph you just typed.
  2. Choose Format > Paragraph from the menu.
  3. Choose the Indents and Spacing tab.
  4. In the Special field, click to open the pull-down menu.
  5. Click Hanging.
  6. In the By box, type 2.0".
  7. Click OK.
  8. Place the cursor after the colon following "Hanging Indent."
  9. Press the Tab key.
  10. Notice how the indentation changes.

Save File and Exit Microsoft Word

Save your file by following these instructions:

  1. Choose File > Save As from the menu.
  2. Specify the correct folder in the Save In field.
  3. Name your file by typing lesson5.doc in the File Name field.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Choose File > Exit from the Menu.