Being able to efficiently edit Microsoft Word documents is a skill that you most definitely need to have as a Virtual Assistant, however, at times Microsoft Word can be incredibly frustrating! We’ve all been there when a paragraph keeps jumping from one page to the next, or your lines are too close together and the document looks squashed!
The problem here is that Microsoft Word is too clever for its own good and, quite frankly, many people misunderstand it. If you take some time to get to know how Microsoft Word thinks and behaves, you’ll soon find that editing documents that other people have created really isn’t as difficult as you first thought.
Line and Paragraph spacing in Microsoft Word
Problem: you want a larger space between paragraphs and use the enter key to create them, causing uneven spacing throughout the document
Solution: think of the ‘enter’ key as an ‘add-a-new-paragraph-here’ key and don’t use it for anything else!
One of the biggest mistakes Word users make is to use the enter key to create space between paragraphs. This is not good practise! What you will end up with here is a document full of empty paragraphs that caused mass confusion for Word and will leave you with uneven gaps between your paragraphs.
The main thing to remember here is that paragraphs are the key component of a word document, so try to stop thinking in terms of line and spaces, and instead, start seeing your paragraphs.
To avoid having to use the enter key to create space, you should set line and paragraph spacing in the document settings on the home ribbon. Do this by going to: home tab > paragraph group > line and paragraph spacing icon > line spacing options
Here you can specify an exact width you would like at the beginning and end of each paragraph so that when you use the ‘add-a-new-paragraph-here’ key (i.e. the ‘Enter’ key), Word will automatically create the space without you having to do anything!!
You can also set line spacing options here to increase or decrease the space between lines. The usual line spacing is 1 or 1.15 lines.
To check that you have formatted your document correctly, show the end of paragraph marker by clicking the ¶ button on the Home tab. This marker will identify the places in your document where you have used the enter key to create a new paragraph. If you have any blank paragraphs they will be identified easily so that you can delete them and assign the correct paragraph spacing instead.