User login

Paragraph Format, Page Breaks & Section Breaks

Paragraph Format: Why is this Important?


Most of us did not learn a computer before a typewriter. As such, we really like the ENTER button. It is reminiscent of those noisy hard returns. However, in today’s day and age, the ENTER button is over-used and creates problems when editing. It is not really a formatting tool, the way it was on the typewriter. By using Paragraph Format, you can format your document cleanly and professionally. Once the hard habit is broken, this is a much more efficient way of adding white space and your editing will be easier.


Examples:

You are formatting a brief using a numbered outline to make your appropriate case. The spacing between the outline-numbering section and the paragraph section is off. Paragraph format can help you fix that.

You are drafting a contract that has many terms and conditions. It is much easier to format the document using Paragraph Formatting than the ENTER button to add space in between paragraphs and sections.

You are writing a report or grant. You have headers that show large title text in large font. You do not want the space after the large text to be the same size as the text. You want it smaller. This is especially helpful if you do not want the white space to be the same height as the text.

 

How to Use Paragraph Format

  • Place your cursor in the paragraph.

  • In Word 2003: From the Format menu, select Paragraph.
    In Word 2007:
    Click on the "show Paragraph dialog box" button in the lower right corner of the Paragraph box in the Ribbon bar.

  • The Paragraph dialog box appears.

  • Select the Indents and Spacing tab

  • In the Spacing section, from the Line spacing pull-down list, make the desired selection. Options include Single, 1.5 lines, Double, At least, Exactly, and Multiple. The At least, Exactly, and Multiple options require that you enter the amount of space between lines in the At text box.

  • Click OK

 

Application: Adjusting Paragraph Spacing

Instead of pressing extra returns, add additional space before and after paragraphs by adjusting the paragraph spacing. This can be especially useful when you do not want a blank line the same height as the text.

  • Place your insertion point in the paragraph

  • In Word 2003: From the Format menu, select Paragraph
    In Word 2007:
    Click on the "show Paragraph dialog box" button in the lower right corner of the Paragraph box in the Ribbon bar.

  • The Paragraph dialog box appears.

  • Select the Indents and Spacing tab

  • In the Spacing section, in the Before text box, type the amount of space (in points) that you want to appear before the paragraph.

  • In the After text box, type the amount of space (in points) that you want to appear after the paragraph.

  • Click OK

 

Formating Your Document with Breaks

Word has two main features for controlling pagination, paragraph format and page breaks.

 

Using Paragraph Format for Breaks

Paragraph style pagination options can be found in both Word versions in the Paragraph dialog box you've accessed above. These are set against the paragraph style, which include the following options:

  • Widow/Orphan control - Prevents Word from placing the last line of a paragraph by itself at the top of a page (widow) or the first line of a paragraph by itself at the bottom of a page (orphan).

  • Keep lines together - keeps all lines of a paragraph together and will prevent a page break from occurring within a paragraph.

  • Keep with next - keeps the paragraph with the paragraph following it, and prevents a page break occurring between this paragraph and the one following it. This is typical for a heading where you want the heading to always keep with at least the first paragraph of body content.

  • Page break before - forces a page break before the paragraph. This has limited use, but is useful if you want every "Heading 1" or "Heading 2" to start a new page.

 

Page Breaks
Manual page and Section breaks allow you to change aspects of page formatting in different places in a document. In Word 2003 breaks are defined by the Insert > Break setting. In Word 2007 you can define breaks by going to the Page Layout menu and choosing Breaks from the Page Setup box on the Ribbon bar.

 

To Use Page Breaks

  • In Word 2003: Click Insert, then Break.
    In Word 2007: Click Page Layout, then Breaks.

  • In the Break window under Break types, click the Page break option button, then OK.

  • You can also add a manual page break by pressing CTRL + Enter.

Page breaks are most appropriate when you want to ensure the page ends after a particular section of text or an image. Page breaks help to format a document so that a reader can follow the flow of the text.

 

For example, in a brief with enumerated sections it may be appropriate to place a page break at the end of a section to ensure the next section begins at the top of the next page (rather than having a heading at the bottom of the page with the text beginning on the next page).


Using Section Breaks
Section breaks are most appropriate when you have special formatting for different sections of a document.

 

For example, if the page layout, margins, page orientation or headers and footers change from one section to the next, inserting a section break allows you to format each section differently. In addition, some pleadings require specific captions or formatting only on the front page, you can format the front page as necessary and then insert a section break after the front page and have the rest of the document formatted differently.

 

To Use Section Breaks:

  • In Word 2003: Click Insert, then Break.
    In Word 2007: Click Page Layout, then Breaks.

  • In the Break window under Break types, click one of the Section Break options.

    • Next Page: Word breaks the page at the section break. The new section starts on the next page. Use this section break if you want to apply different page numbers, headers and footers, orientation, vertical alignment, or paper size to the sections in the document.

    • Continuous: Word inserts a section break and begins the new section on the same page. If the two sections have different settings for page size or orientation, the new section begins a new page even if you select Continuous. Use this section break if you want to have different column formatting or margins on the same page.

    • Odd Page: Word begins the new section on the next odd-numbered page. This section break is often used for chapters that begin on odd-numbered pages. NOTE: If the section break falls on an odd-numbered page, Word leaves the intervening even-numbered page blank.

    • Even Page: Similar to Odd Page, but Word begins the new section on the next even-numbered page.

(Show Paragraph symbols to view the double dotted line Word inserts to show where section breaks occur.)