Microsoft Word 2016 / 2013 - Paragraph Formatting and Alignments

In this Microsoft Word Tutorial, we
will talk about Paragraph Alignment. Paragraph alignments are used to give a
feel good look to your documents, or to improve readability. Here we have a
document with two pages, where the first page contain document heading, and the
second page have descriptive text with two sets of paragraph.

As you can see in the first page that,
the text is aligned to left. The default alignment in Microsoft Word is left
alignment, which means your text goes from left to right, and is properly
aligned with left margin. If you want to change the alignment of the text,
let’s say that you want to align those headings to the center of the page, then
you don’t need to do it manually by adding some spaces or tabs. You can easily
accomplish this by just selecting the text, and then choose a desire text
alignment from the Paragraph Section of Home tab.

In the Paragraph section, you have
four paragraph or text alignment options. The first one is left, which is
selected by default, and indicates that your current selected text is aligned
to left, which is mostly used for body text, but as these two lines are our
documents headings, you might want to make them in center of the page. So, what
I do is, I click the second button which is for Center Alignment. In an instant
you can see that both lines are aligned exactly to the center of the page. The
best way of aligning text in your document is to use these paragraph alignment
options, instead of manually aligning your text by adding spaces, or tabs. This
is because, say if later I decrease or increase the text size, you can see that
according to the text size and available paper space, text is still getting
automatically aligned to the center of the page.

Now, let’s move to second page of the
document. In this page, I want to align the last two closing quote lines to the
right side of the page margin. So, I first select both of them, and then click
Right Align button from the paragraph section. If anytime you want to change
the alignment, just select the text, and change the alignment as required.

Now let’s come to the paragraph
alignments, for which we have two paragraphs here. The fourth option for text
alignment is justify. Before I tell you about the Justify alignment, let me
first tell you about what Paragraphs are? In Microsoft Word, each enter that
you press in the end of a line, is counted as a paragraph. Usually we assume
text as a paragraph which has more than one line of text. Like in this page,
you might be counting the whole page having only two paragraphs, but actually
there are a total of eight paragraphs. Don’t believe me? then check this out.
As I said earlier, Word count each enter in the end of a line as beginning of a
new paragraph, so if I check the Readability Statistics of this page, then it
will show you that this page is having a total of eight paragraphs. Then the
question arises, how and why?

To understand this, you need to turn
on a Microsoft Word feature called, “Show or Hide” paragraph marks, which is
also available in Paragraph section. Click this button and Word will start
showing you all the paragraph marks in your document. So, this mark indicates
the ending of the current paragraph. If you count all these marks, there are
nine in total. In newer versions of Microsoft Word, Word does not count empty
paragraph marks, that you use to add more line spacing. So there are actually a
total of eight paragraphs counted by Word.

Now, let’s talk about paragraph
justification. If I select the first paragraph of this page, and then click the
Justify button from paragraph section, then you can see that Word has evenly
distributed your text to the both left and right side of the page margin, which
gives a crisp look to your paragraph. Word does this by adding extra spacing
between words, which is not easily visible in those paragraphs having a large
number of words.
On the other hand, if I do the same
for the second paragraph, you can see that Word has not aligned or justified
the text. This is because, you have added line or paragraph breaks by pressing
Enter key in the end of each line. Do remember, paragraph justification does
not work on those paragraphs, which have, paragraph or line breaks. So, if you
want to justify a paragraph, make sure that, there are no line breaks.

The last thing that I would like to
discuss about paragraph justification is, why people add paragraph breaks in
the end of each line, even there is no need to do this, because when your text
cover all the available spacing in a line, then your cursor automatically moves
to the next line. But still I have seen many people, who press enter key in the
end of each paragraph line. This could be because they want to shorten the
width of the paragraph. But this is not the right way because if you add line
breaks then paragraph justification will not work. The right way of doing this
is to, use all the available space while writing the paragraph without adding
line breaks, and later, use Right Indent if you want to shorten the width of
the paragraphs.

So, this was all about using four
different paragraph alignment options. There are much more paragraph settings
options available in Microsoft Word, that we will discuss in our next videos.

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