3.1. Formatting Basics
Word deals with formatting on three levels encompassing small and specific on up to big and broadthrough characters , paragraphs, and sections. You apply different types of formatting to each of these parts . Character formatting includes selecting a font, a font size, bold or italics, and so on. At the paragraph level, you apply indents, bullets, and line spacing. For each section of your document (even if there's only one), you set the page size , orientation, and margins, as described in the previous chapter. Sometimes it helps to think of the parts of a document as Russian nesting dolls : Characters go inside paragraphs, which go inside sections, which fit inside your document.
Each type of formatting has its own dialog box, giving you access to all possible settings. You can also apply most types of formatting via the ribbon, the mini-toolbar, or the keyboard shortcut.
Characters . Use the Font dialog box (Alt+H, FN) to format characters. Letters , numbers , and punctuation marks are all printable characters and, as such, you can format them. Once you select a character or a group of characters, you can apply any of the formatting commands on the Home tab's Font group (Alt+H). You can choose a font and a size for any character in your document. You can make characters bold, underlined , superscript, or change them to just about any color of the rainbow.
Note: Prior to the use of computers, groups of letters, numbers, and punctuation of a certain style, such as Helvetica or Bodoni, were called typefaces . The term font was more specific, referring to variations within a typeface such as bold, narrow, or italic. Today, the terms are interchangeable. Word uses the term font , probably because it's shorter and therefore easier to fit into a dialog box.
Paragraphs . Use the Paragraph dialog box (Alt+H, PG) to format paragraphs. You can set formatting for text alignment, indents, line spacing, line breaks, and paragraph breaks. You don't have to select a paragraph to format it; just click to place the insertion point within a paragraph. Because characters are part of paragraphs (remember those Russian nesting dolls), every paragraph includes a basic font description. When you select characters within a paragraph and change the font settings, you override the basic font description in the paragraph's style.
Sections . Use the Page Setup dialog box (Alt+P, SP) to format sections. When you change margins, page orientation, page size, and the number of columns per page (all described in Chapter 4), you're formatting the section. Many documents have only one section, so when you make formatting changes to a section, you're actually formatting the entire document.