It’s midnight, and all the
cubicles are dark except one in the back corner, where you’re struggling to
standardize the formatting of all the subheadings in your document. You select
one with your mouse, click Format –> Font, and select Arial, bold, and 14
point. Then you click the Character Spacing tab and set spacing to be condensed
by one point. Finally, you click Format –> Paragraph and set alignment as
centered. And then you realize: You’ve done only 100 pages of this 500-page
book. Isn’t there a better way?
Yes, there is, and that way is
called styles. Using styles is easy. Instead of selecting every subheading and
going through all those steps, all you have to do is this:
1. Put your
cursor somewhere in the text you want to format—in a subheading, for
Format –> Styles and Formatting.
3. In the
list on the right, find a style that fits what you need. For example, Heading 3
is great for formatting subheadings because it leaves Heading 1 for part
headings and Heading 2 for chapter headings.
the style you want to use.
The paragraph where your cursor
was resting will be formatted automatically with the style.
Now repeat steps 1 and 4 for all
your subheadings. Click a subheading, click a style. Click a subheading, click
a style. Isn’t that easier than selecting each subhead and drilling through
half a dozen dialog boxes?
But there is a potential problem:
What if you don’t like the formatting in that style? What if you want
Baskerville instead of Arial? Just do this:
your mouse at the right side of the style in the list on the right. A dropdown
arrow will appear.
the arrow and click Modify.
Formatting, set the font as Baskerville.
Your subheading will now be
formatted in Baskerville. In fact, all the subheadings to which you’ve applied
Heading 3 will be in Baskerville—and you had to make the change only once
instead of selecting and changing each subheading. Magic!
You’ll want to format all your
text elements in a similar way. Body text is styled by default as Normal, and
you’ll probably want to modify the Normal style to use justified paragraph
Take Advantage of
Once you’ve formatted the styles you
want to use, you should save your document as a template so you can use it with
other books in the future. Here’s why:
Just as styles have this
relationship to paragraphs—
Styles –> Paragraphs
—so do templates have a
similar relationship to styles:
Templates –> Styles
And just as you can modify a
paragraph’s formatting by applying a style, so can you modify all a document’s
styles by applying a template:
your document using Word’s built-in styles, such as Heading 3. Don’t worry if
the formatting doesn’t look the way you want. All that is about to change.
Format –> Theme.
the Style Gallery button.
4. In the
Template list, select a template that looks interesting. You’ll see a preview
of how your document will look if you use that template. Select a few other
templates and watch the preview change.
5. If you
find a template you like, click OK to copy the style formatting from the
template into your document. This will automatically format all your styled
text to match the formatting used in the template. Note that the style names
used in your document must match the style names used in the template, which is
why I suggested using Word’s built-in styles.
Don’t like any of the templates?
You may be able to find just what you need from Microsoft:
Or, you can make your own:
your document with styles, using the typeface and other settings you want.
your document as a template (File –> Save As –> Template).
From then on, that template will
be available to apply to other documents—very handy if you have a series
of books you want formatted in the same way.
Sometimes it’s the small things
that make a big difference in good typography—things like typographical
dashes and quotation marks. The dashes include the en-dash (used between
numbers, as in “pages 2–4”) and the em-dash, used to signal a break in
thought—like that. On a typewriter, em-dashes were set with double
If your numbers are separated by
hyphens rather than en-dashes, you can fix the problem like this:
Edit –> Replace.
2. In the
Find What box, enter this: ([0–9])-([0–9])
3. In the
Replace With box, enter this: 1^=2
the More button.
5. Put a
check in the checkbox labeled “Use wildcards.”
the Replace All button.
All your hyphens between numbers
will be turned into en-dashes.
If you’d like to learn more about
wildcard searching (very useful!), download this paper:
Now let’s look at those quotation
marks. Back in the days of typewriters, there was only one
choice—straight quotation marks, which looked “like this.”
Typeset text, however, should use curly quotation marks, “like this.” You can
fix them, along with double hyphens used for em-dashes:
Format –> AutoFormat.
the Options button.
3. On the
AutoFormat tab, uncheck everything except these two options:
“Straight quotes” with “smart quotes”
(–) with dash (—)
the OK button.
sure “AutoFormat now” is selected.
the OK button.
You should now have curly
quotation marks and real em-dashes. Your book is starting to look
professionally typeset already.
While we’re talking about professional-quality
typesetting, let me mention one other problem: double spaces between sentences.
These are a holdover from the days of the typewriter, when the only typeface
was a monospaced Courier, and double spaces made it easier to keep sentences
separate. In typesetting, you’ll be using proportionally spaced typefaces, and
double spaces just make type look, well, as if it were done on a typewriter.
To get rid of them, use Word’s
Find and Replace feature to search for double spaces and replace them with single
spaces. Rinse and repeat until Word can’t find any more.
Fixing Bad Breaks, Widows,
Orphans, and Loose Lines
As a final touch, manually look
for and fix bad word breaks, widows, orphans, and loose lines.
To force a word to break at a
certain spot, press CTRL + HYPHEN.
To keep a word from breaking,
click Tools –> Language –> Set Language –> Do not check spelling or
To keep two words together, select
the space between them and press CTRL + SPACE.
What about widow and orphan
control? Word can do that automatically (Format –> Paragraph –> Line
and Page Breaks –> Widow/Orphan control), but it will throw off your
beautifully aligned pages.
Robert Bringhurst, author of <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>The Elements of Typographic
Style, explains, “Balance facing pages not by adding extra lead
or puffing up the word space, but by exporting or importing single lines to and
from the preceding or following spreads. The same technique is used to avoid
widows, and to extend or shorten any chapters that would otherwise end with a
meager few lines on the final page. But this balancing should be performed with
a gentle hand. In the end, no spread of continuous text should have to run more
than a single line short or a single line long.”
In other words, a little editing
may be in store. You may have to remove a few words here, add a few there, and
maybe break or join existing paragraphs. Once you do, you’ll have
professional-quality typesetting, using a program you already have—good
old Microsoft Word.
Next time: converting to PDF for
Jack M. Lyon is proprietor
of The Editorium (www.editorium.com), which provides macros to automate
publishing tasks in Microsoft Word. He’s also managing editor of a publishing
house in Salt Lake City and co-author of a business book, <span
class=8StoneSans>Managing the Obvious.
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