In indent or
“normal” style, the first line of each
paragraph is indented. The typical indent is
.5”, but it can be modified to a different size
to make space. Typically, there is not a blank line
between paragraphs, but some writers do include a
line. Purists say that it is wrong to leave a blank
line between paragraphs if you are going to indent
them. Take a careful look at formatting examples to
make your own decision.
The hanging indent style
is not as widely used, but it occasionally appears.
While the procedure will
differ for each word processing program, the basics
are all the same. For the purpose of this blog post,
I am going to show you how to format text using
In order to have the fullest range of editing options, begin by going to Preferences, located in the TextEdit menu:
Make sure that Rich text
and Wrap to page are selected. This would also be a
good time to choose your font and text size. Now
begin your document, because these changes only apply
to your next document.
If you do your writing and then do your formatting, your text might look like this:
Notice that the only time
I used the Return key was when I wanted to begin a
new paragraph. Also notice that I did not add an
extra line between paragraphs. To add the formatting,
select all of your text. Then go to the document
toolbar and choose Spacing. Pull down to Other…
In the dialog box that
appears you can make several choices. The one that I
prefer to use is Paragraph spacing - after. Click on
the up arrow to increase the number of points. What
number you choose is really up to you and the amount
of space that is pleasing to your eye--or the space
that you need to fill.
In general, I prefer a number between 12 and 16, but I usually scroll to the end of my document and check to see where the last line falls. If I have only one or two lines on the last page, I will choose to either decrease the size of the text or I will choose a different font that is slightly narrower. If there is more text on the last page, I will try to make it fill at least half of the page by increasing paragraph spacing or increasing the text size or choosing a font that is larger.
If you prefer to use an indent at the beginning of a paragraph, you should select all of the text, and then use the icons on the ruler. The triangles pointing to the right are used to set tabs. Since they can get in the way, begin by dragging several of the triangles up on the ruler to make them disappear.
The first icon on the ruler is actually two separate icons. Drag the T-shaped icon to the right, away from the down-pointing triangle. You will see that the first word of each paragraph moves to the right, indenting it.
If you would like to use a hanging indent, move the down-pointing arrow to the right.
Choosing the amount to indent, once again, should be determined by the space needed to make your document visually pleasing.
While it is often easier to continue doing things the way you have always done them, using this method of paragraph formatting gives you the most flexibility. It also can prove to be much faster.
If you have never learned how to really use a word processing application, perhaps a one-on-one tutorial would be of value to you. At Bob LeVitus Consulting, we can not only help you fix a computer problem, we can also provide remote tutoring. Using our special software, we can not only “see” your computer, we can also control your keyboard and mouse.
Give us a call at 408 627-7577 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services.