Tag Archives for " text formatting "

37 Fixing funky character spacing in justified text in Microsoft Word

I have a confession to make: I love the look of fully-justified text. It’s just so darn … neat. It’s got those nice, straight margins on both sides, not that ragged right margin that looks like it could have been typed on a Selectric.  It makes a document looks so much more polished.

Except when this happens:

Example of a character spacing problem

When I first saw this in my draft, I just thought I’d made a typo — inserted a space in the middle of the word “and.” But when I went back to the document, it looked like this on the screen:

How the same text looks on the screen

“Well, that’s weird,” I thought. “What on earth could be causing that?”

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“But I don’t want to lose my WordPerfect formatting!”

One of the tactics I regularly recommend to users when transferring content from an old WordPerfect document is to use Paste, Special, Unformatted Text instead of just the plain Paste or CNTRL-V commands:

Paste, Special Dialog Box

The advantage here is that Paste Special clears out all of the formatting so the newly-pasted text doesn’t mess up your nice Microsoft Word document.

The disadvantage?  Well … it clears out all the formatting.  And this can be a pain to re-do, particularly if you’ve got a long document with lots of case citations, etc.

What to do?  Here are three tricks to keep in your Microsoft Word skills arsenal.

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1 Copying formats using Format Painter

If you’ve ever been working in a document (particularly one that’s been constructed with a lot of “cut and paste” from other documents) and wanted to make this paragraph (or this line or this heading) look just like that other one, here’s a simple trick.

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5 Using Styles & Formatting

Got a long brief or other document that has lots of headings, subheadings, etc.?  You need Styles, baby.

No, not style -- Styles.

The Styles function in Word is a handy tool for, among other things, setting up headings for different sections of a document.  These styles serve a dual purpose: not only do they help keep document formatting consistent (i.e., all paragraph and subparagraph headings at a particular level, for example, will be consistent through the document), they can help later when you create a Table of Contents, since Word can use these styles to create the levels of your Table of Contents.

There are a couple of different ways to use Styles & Formatting (as the feature is formally known) in your document.

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Beyond Bold, Italic & Underline: Special Formatting in Microsoft Word

While boldface, italic and underline will get you through most character formatting challenges, Microsoft Word has more in its arsenal for formatting text (as opposed to inserting special characters or formatting with styles) via the Format Font dialog box (accessible via Format, Font on the menu bar):

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