Common Formatting

in MS Word 2007 - 2010

Microsoft Word Tutorial

Well, Microsoft did it again! They waited patiently for the world to learn how to use Microsoft Office, and then they changed it! So, all those night school courses you took, and all those seminars your boss paid for end up being an almost complete waste of time.  If, however, you are just learning for the first time, you might be at an advantage. On the other hand, if you don't feel that you have the time to start all over again, and want to put you previous knowledge to good use, I would strongly consider using OpenOffice Suite This is a complete package sponsored by Sun Microsystems, and has pretty well everything you would expect to find in MS Office Suite.  Best of all, it's Free! Visit:

If you still insist on using MS Office, here are some pointers on some of the more frequent operations:

When you first open Microsoft Word 2007...

instead of the conventional File Edit View... menu bar that seems to have become the International standard of familiarity, this is what you see across the top of the screen. The conventional Toolbars have been replaced with tabs and icons.

Creating a New Document  

To open a new document click on the round 'Office' button at the top left corner.

This is much the same as a "File" button in former MS Office versions and most other programs. The layout is a little different - the Recent Documents is to the right instead of at the bottom.

Click on New to create a new document.

In the New Document window that appears you can easily preview several available templates.

Choose Blank and Recent to create a new blank page.

This tutorial will take you through several common MSWord formatting options. For the exercise I am going to do a résumé makeover for Mr. Winnipeg Edward Bear, (Winnie, to his friends).  Although the end result of this tutorial may be a presentable résumé, it is NOT a résumé tutorial. Please DO NOT model your résumé after this one without some modifications. You might not get the job.

I have started with a page of information with very little formatting.  This is about how far you would get with an old-fashioned typewriter.


Back to Top

Headers and Footers

Microsoft Word can use Headers and Footers to place information that will be re-appearing on more than one page. It is also handy if you want to create a "letterhead" or template page that you plan on using over and over again.

I'm going to Cut and Paste the header information from the main page into an actual page Header.

Cutting and Pasting

Highlight the header information as shown. From the Home tab use Ctrl + X,(Command + X on a MAC) or the Cut button.  The information disappears, but is actually placed into the 'clipboard'.

Cut/Paste Shortcuts:

Cut Ctrl + X Command + X
Copy Ctrl + C Command + C
Paste Ctrl + V Command + V

From the Insert tab choose the Header icon. From the drop-down window choose Edit Header.  This will highlight the header section of the page. ;Use Ctrl + V to paste the previously cut information into the Header, (Command + V on a MAC).

Back to Top

Modifying Text Style

Go back to the Home tab to modify the font, style, size, and the Justification, (left, center, right alignment) of the header information. Once you are done you can hit the Esc key to return to the main body of your document.

Font: The overall design of a set of characters

Size: Size of text in points. Originally measured by typesetters as a fraction of a millimetre, has been rounded to 72 points per inch.

Style: Bold, Italic, underlined

Justify: Text alignment can be set to align on the left, (normal), right, centered, or justified on both sides like a text book.

Color: Click here to bring up a color drop-down chart.

If you don't see the text formatting options make sure you have selected the Formatting Toolbars.

Back to Top

Borders and Shading

Under the Page Layout tab --> Page Borders you can choose from a variety of styles of boxes or underlines.


The Border selection box is similar to previous versions of MS Word. With Custom selected I chose a double solid underline 1 1/2 points in thickness.

Under Apply to: you have the option of applying to just the individual words, or to the entire line or paragraph. I chose Paragraph to place the border lines underneath the entire line.

In the Preview pane you can select individual  sides of the box. Notice that I have only the bottom box selected.


Back to Top

The example to the left shows a complete box surrounding the paragraph. Make sure you have the correct Paragraph or Text selected under "Apply To".
Once you are done you can hit the Esc key to return to the main body of your document.

Spelling and Grammar

Spelling and Grammar is found under the Review tab. Select the Spelling & Grammar icon. Spelling errors are underlined in Red. Grammatical errors are underlined in Green. Be careful when accepting suggestions, and don't use this as a substitute for proof-reading. A word can be spelled correctly, but used entirely out of context and it would not be caught by the Spellchecker.

You can add new words to the dictionary, but make sure that you spell them correctly!

Since this is a résumé of sorts, I am adding a bit more style. A résumé should not look like a newspaper article.  Key information should be readable at a quick glance.  Accentuating the headings and adding bulleted paragraphs can help to visually arrange groups of information.
To demonstrate, I highlighted all the  headings  in light blue, and the  paragraphs  in yellow.

To make the headings stand out I changed their size to 16.  I changed the rest of the text to 14 pt. This is  pushing the limit for a font size on a résumé, but I wanted to balance the white space across the entire document rather than have a large blank space on the bottom. (See Brochure Basics about white space).

I put a border line above each of the headings except the top one. Remember that Borders are accessed under the Page Layout tab and select the Page Borders icon.

Remember that font size and styles are accessed under the Home tab.


You can apply formatting to multiple objects at the same time by holding down the Shift key while selecting the objects. I selected all of the headings first, then applied the border style.

Bullets and Numbering

Forget about what you learned about always making complete sentences - bullets are a good way of accentuating important points in concise statements

To make a bulleted list first highlight the list of lines, then select Bullets under the Home tab. The first two icons let you choose a bulleted list or a numbered list.

If the pre-defined ones don't suit, choose Define New Multilevel List and fine-tune the settings.

Back to Top

The Define New Multilevel List settings allow you to choose a different font and size, or an image to use for your bullet. Don't use anything too fancy for a résumé. It's also not a good idea to use too many font faces on a single document.

The Align and Text Indent settings will allow you to change the indent of the bulleted list, and the spacing after the bullets.

Paragraph Formatting

A résumé is probably one the best mediums to demonstrate the importance and effectiveness of the ability to apply paragraph formatting. The example to the left is a complete résumé.  There is an obvious large amount of white space at the bottom of the page, but unfortunately, Winnie doesn't have anything else to add.  This white space gives the appearance of being incomplete.

How do you build a full page résumé without adding superfluous information, or in the case of a résumé that carries over into a second page, removing critical information. With creative line spacing you can expand or condense a given amount of text so that it appears to completely fill the page.

To begin, select either a single line or multiple lines.

Select Paragraph under the Home tab.



In the Paragraph window you can selectively choose the amount of space before and after each line. Formatting to this degree allows you to create balanced, professional looking documents.

The Spacing boxes increase by increments of 6pts, (6, 12, 18 etc.), but you can manually type in in-between values for 'fine-tuning' the spacing between lines.

Back to Top

In the case of a résumé, one or two pages is considered ideal for most people.  What if you have 1 1/2 pages? 1 1/2 pages could look like you ran out of things to say and couldn't make two pages, or you were trying for one, but rambled on too much. With creative formatting you may be able to either condense down to one page, or inject some balanced white space and creative font re-sizing to bring 1 1/2 pages up to two 'complete' looking pages. Of course, it is always a judgement call. Don't make it look crowded.



  The End Result

Back to Top


Résumés often contain lists of point-form information that can easily be converted into columns. This is a good way of condensing a two-page document down to one without crowding. To put information into columns highlight the text and choose Columns from the Page Layout tab.

To customize your columns choose More Columns.

In the Columns window you can create equal width columns by default, or by un-checking Equal Column Width  you can change column widths individually.  Spacing changes the space between columns.

This has been a basic Microsoft Word tutorial. There are many more features available, but the preceding should be enough for the average user. Keep checking back for more tutorials.