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Three good things to remember in Microsoft Word

Most people think they know Microsoft Word.  But just following a few simple rules makes a huge difference.

Use styles

Don’t just highlight some text and make it bigger and change the colour. Use the style buttons. That way every heading 1 will be the same. There are also a few helpful settings in the style which you wouldn’t immediately notice.

Image of Microsoft Word home tab on the ribbon

Beware section breaks

You’d think Section breaks would be quite straightforward. You have a new section in your document so you add a section break – seems obvious. Not quite.

Sections have a particular meaning in Word and can cause lots of complications. They allow you to do clever things such as having different headers and footers or insert a landscape page in a portrait document so they can be very useful. However, they are easy to put in but tricky to remove.

A section break in a Microsoft Word document

Don’t use double returns

Double returns are a legacy of typewriters. To get extra space between paragraphs you added a carriage return.

In Microsoft Word, you use the paragraph style to add extra space when you hit the return key. By using the spacing in the styles you can make sure for example that a heading can’t get split from its associated paragraph when the two fall at the bottom of one page and top of the next.

Below there is an extra line return (we would say an empty paragraph) after the heading. Note how the following text has gone onto the next page:

Now there is no line return (empty paragraph) after the heading so it has kept the heading and the text linked together: