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Microsoft Word Tips and Tricks: Formatting

Tips and tricks to help you format your papers in Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is the most used document program. All of the campus computers have Microsoft Word installed. If you want to edit your paper later in a different program, make sure to save the document as Rich Text Format (.rtf), using the Save As option under the File tab.


Font and Paragraph Settings

Font Settings

Font settings are located in Font section of the Home Tab. When choosing your font, each name is written in that font, so you know what it looks like. Your font size is located right next to it. Most professors state that you must use size 12.


Microsoft Word Home Ribbon. Font and Paragraph sections highlighted

Paragraph Settings

Next to the font section is the Paragraph section.

  • On the top row is the Bullets and Numbering options. Clicking the dropdowns will allow you to choose how you want them to look. To go to the next level of the list, you can hit “Enter” and then “Tab” or use the Decrease Indent and Increase Indent options to the right.
  • Paragraph Alignments are located on the bottom row of the Paragraph section. Most of your papers will be set to Left Align, though titles are usually Center.
  • Line Spacing is located right next to the paragraph types. Unless stated otherwise, use 2.0 which is double spaced.


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Hanging Indents?

Hanging Indents?

Hanging indent is the paragraph format that both MLA and APA have you use for your citation list. To set hanging indents, click on the little arrow in the bottom right corner of the Paragraph section. Under Indentation, click on the Special dropdown and choose Hanging. You can also change your paragraph type, line spacing, and bullet points from here.

Microsoft Word Paragraph section.


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