Technical Writing



Word Formatting

This will be helpful for the rest of the class and the rest of your career.

Currently, I'm sure most you create blank lines with two returns and multiple tabs as needed. That stops now. It's poor control of the word processor and as a technical communicator, you must learn to control your tools, rather than letting the tool control you. As a technical writer, you must control your tools (the word processor) it must not control you. Most people have no clue on how to really use Word's features, but use it as a fancy typewriter.

All assignments done in the course should use the formatting methods you learn here. I'll mark the places you don't.

Learning to control Word paragraphs (turn this one in)

This is a formatting exercise, not an editing one. There is no need to rewrite any text.

  1. Download SunSpace.doc.
  2. Format the file to look like the this example.
    There are is no place that has more than one tab, one space, or one carriage return in a row. When you get done, your document will also be like this.
  3. Save the file with a filename of "lastname-sunspace.doc" and email it to me as an attachment. (Be sure to put your last name in the file name. I have trouble keeping track of a bunch of files all names SunSpace.rtf.). Making sure you can handle sending files as attachments is also part of this assignment.

Answer key: how to do the word formatting

Some examples of poorly formatted documents. Note that the paragraphs marks are turned on.



Show paragraph marks

As a first step, turn on paragraph marks. You want to do this so you can see where Word is breaking the paragraphs and to help control all of the paragraph level formatting. I always have it turned on and it make any forced formatting very obvious. (Forced formatting will be marked and you'll be expected to fix it as part of revising a draft.)

More paragraph mark help

Show paragraph marks.

Show and hide paragraph marks


Hard page breaks

Never make a page break by pressing the return key until you get to a new page.

You can get the same thing with Ctrl+Enter




More formatting concepts

Basic Formatting

Making Word less helpful

Track changes



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