Guide to Using Bullets, Numbering, Headings, Tab
Stops, and Paragraph Styles in Microsoft Word®
Bulleted Lists Numbered Lists Headings
Paragraph Styles Paragraph Border Tab Stops
Margin Indent Back to Guides to Microsoft Word®

PLEASE READ BEFORE USING MICROSOFT WORD®
CREATING BULLETED LISTS
  • Microsoft Word will automatically place a bullet at the beginning of a list of words or a list of paragraphs and then align each line after the bullet with a hanging indent as you see in the bulleted lists below:

    • Bulleted Words or Phrases

      Bulleted List of Words or Phrases

    • Bulleted List of Paragraphs

      Bulleted List of Paragraphs

  • Follow this general rule for using bulleted and numbered lists: Use bullets for descriptions or a list of items or paragraphs that you wish to emphasize but whose order in the list does not matter. Use numbers for instructions or for listed items that should be counted or used in a sequence. To change your paragraph from the standard view to a bulleted list, follow these steps:

    1. If you know that you want your paragraph to be a bulleted one, you can click the bullet icon Bullets before you begin to type the paragraph. If you have already typed a paragraph and decide you would like to to be preceded by a bullet, move your mouse pointer to any point in the paragraph and then click the bullet icon. The paragraph will then be changed from the traditional layout to the bulleted one with a hanging indented lines after the first one.

    2. If you press your enter key at the end of the paragraph, the next paragraph will automatically be bulleted so that as you type the text, it will appear just as you see below:

CREATING NUMBERED LISTS
  • Microsoft Word will automatically place a number at the beginning of a list of words or a list of paragraphs and then align each line after the number with a hanging indent as you see in the numbered lists of words or instructions below:

    • Numbered Words or Phrases

      Numbered List of Words or Phrases

    • Numbered List of Paragraphs

      Numbered List of Paragraphs

  • Follow this general rule for using bulleted and numbered lists: Use bullets for descriptions or a list of items or paragraphs that you wish to emphasize but whose order in the list does not matter. Use numbers for instructions or for listed items that should be counted or used in a sequence. To change your paragraph from the standard view to a numbered list, follow these steps:

    1. If you know that you want your paragraph to be a numbered one, you can click the numbering icon Numbering before you begin to type the paragraph. If you have already typed a paragraph and decide you would like to to be preceded by a number, move your mouse pointer to any point in the paragraph and then click the numbering icon. The paragraph will then be changed from the traditional layout to the numbered one with a hanging indented lines after the first one.

    2. Each time you press your Enter key, the next paragraph will begin with the next number in the sequence.

      Note 1: If you want to move text to a subsequent line of a bulleted or numbered paragraph without starting a new number, as you see in this paragraph beginning with the word "Note," then hold down the Shift key at the end of a line while you press the Enter key. This action will move your insertion point (or text) to a new line after the number.

      Note 2: If you wish to add a new number 2 to a document, click in front of the first word in paragraph 2.

    3. Then and press your Enter key. You will now have a blank paragraph 2, and the original paragraph 2 will be numbered 3.

    4. You can then enter text to complete your numbered list:

      Numbered Paragraph

    5. If you want to use a second level of numbers in the middle of a numbered sequence, follow these steps to produce the list:

      1. Press the Enter key at the end of a numbered paragraph. Then click the Increase Indent icon to indent the paragraph. This process will change the numbered paragraph to a letter instead of a number.

      2. Press the Enter key when you wish to begin the next numbered paragraph.

      3. Then enter your text.

      4. When you have finished using this sequence and want to return to the original sequence, press the Enter key again. Then press the "Decrease Indent" button to change back to the previously numbered sequence.

    6. To return to text without numbers (or bullets), press your Enter key for a new paragraph and then click the Numbering (or Bullets) button. The numbering (or bullets) will then be turned off.

USING HEADINGS
  • Headings are useful in many documents to introduce a new section, as you see in this document. You should follow two guidelines when using headings:
    1. Use one style of headings for major headings and a different for minor headings, but be consistent with each type throughout the document, as in this document.
    2. Set the heading closer to the text it introduces than to the text that preceded it, as in this document.

CHANGING NORMAL TEXT TO A HEADING
  1. Move your mouse pointer directly over a paragraph that you would like to change to a heading. Click your left mouse button so that the insertion point (blinking vertical cursor) is located anywhere in that paragraph.

  2. Click the button to the right of Normal on your Formatting toolbar and click Heading 1 for a major heading.

    Note:

    1. If you have not written any text for your heading, type your heading text and press the Enter key at the end to begin a new paragraph. This paragraph will return to the Normal paragraph style. If you need a subheading after the text of the paragraph under Heading 1, then click Heading 2 at the beginning of the new paragraph.
    2. If you have already written text that you would like to change to a heading, that text will change to the Heading 1 style, and you can then click the next paragraph where you wish to continue your writing.
    3. If you wish to modify the Heading 1 style (font style and size, spacing between lines within a paragraph and before and after paragraphs throughout the entire document) whenever that style is used, then you should change the default settings for the style of the Heading 1 paragraph as explained in "Modifying a Paragraph Style" below.

  3. Your heading text will now appear with a bold and larger font.


MODIFYING FORMAT
  1. When you buy a new copy of Microsoft Word and begin typing, all of your text will appear in the Normal style, which is 10-point Times New Roman in single-spaced paragraphs. Microsoft Word gives you three options for changing that default style or format of your text:
    1. Modifying the format of a block of text, whether that block is one letter, one word, or several lines.
    2. Choosing a different paragraph style.
    3. Modifying a paragraph style throughout an entire document at once.
  2. Choose the technique you prefer from the sections below.

CHANGING THE FORMAT OF A BLOCK OF TEXT
  1. First select or highlight the block of text. You can select or highlight the text in one of two ways:
    1. Click your mouse at the beginning of the text and then hold the left mouse button down and drag the mouse to the end of the text you wish to change. When you release the mouse button, the selected text will be highlighted.
    2. Use the arrow keys to move your cursor to the beginning of the block of text. Then hold down the shift key and use the arrow keys to move across and down your text until it is all selected (highlighted).
  2. If you want to select all the text in an entire paragraph, follow this shortcut:
    1. Move your pointer to the left margin of the first line of the paragraph. When your pointer changes from an I-beam to a right-pointing arrow, double click your left mouse button.
    2. When you have thus selected your paragraph and all the text is highlighted, click Format on the menu bar and then Paragraph from the menu to open the Paragraph dialog box and make changes to the line spacing before, after, or inside the selected paragraph. You can also change the left and right margins and tab settings within the same Paragraph dialog box.
    3. By clicking Format and then Font you can change the font style, font size, color of the text, and even the spacing between each character in a word or in an entire paragraph as was done in the title of this document.
  3. If you wish to change the font style, click the button in the Times New Roman Font box and then select another style of font. If you want the selected text to be bold, italic, or underline, click the buttons labeled B, I, or U to boldface, italicize, or underline the selected text.
  4. Click the Font Size button and then click a different font size to make the selected text larger or smaller.
  5. Click the number in the Font Size box. When it appears highlighted, type a different number and press the Enter key to modify the point size of your font.

MODIFYING A PARAGRAPH STYLE
  • As you read this document, notice that each section is preceded by a heading that is bold and larger than the rest of the text in a paragraph. One way to create the larger bold headings is to type the words in the heading, such as "Modifying a Paragraph Style" used in the heading for this paragraph. Then use you mouse to select the text in the heading as described above to modify the font size. The problem with this technique is that you would have to repeat the process through the entire document for every heading. An easier process is to change the style of the text in the heading from Normal to Heading 1. You can also modify the style of Heading 1 if you want the text to be larger than the default font or a different color or size. Follow these steps to modify Heading 1 style to the format illustrated throughout this document:

    1. Type the text that you want to use for a heading. Then press your enter key and type the text of the next paragraph. Next, use your mouse to click on the paragraph that has the heading text. (Note: You can also change the text to a heading for you press your enter key by following the steps below.)

      Heading 1

    2. Click the button in the Normal Style box and then Heading 1.

      Heading 1

    3. You will see the font type and size change from the Normal of 12-point Times New Roman (or whatever size and style have been set for Normal) to 16-point bold Arial.

      Heading 1

      If you like this font and size, then you are through with this process. Then anytime you want a heading that is in that style, simply click on a paragraph that is a heading and follow the steps above. If you want to modify the font and size of Heading One, follow the steps below:

    4. Click Format on the menu bar and then Style….

      Select Styles and Formatting on Format Menu

    5. In the Styles and Fomratting dialog box on the right of the screen, click "Heading 1" and then "Modify:

      Modify Heading 1
    6. When the Modify Style dialog box appears, click the Format button at the bottom of the screen and then click Font on the pop-up menu.
      Modify Style Dialog Box

    7. When the Font dialog box appears, click 16 to change the default font size from 16-point to 14-point. Then click the "Small Caps" checkbox. (All the text will be printed in small upper case letters unless you press the shift key to make the first character of a word larger as in the headings in this document.)
      Modify Font Style

    8. Click the OK button, and you will return to the Modify Style dialog box.

    9. When the Modify Style dialog box appears, click "Format" at the bottom of the screen and then the "Paragraph" checkbox.
      Modify Paragraph Style

    10. The Paragraph dialog box will appear, as shown below. Under the Indents and Spacing tab, locate the Spacing box. Click the down arrow in the Before box once to change the line spacing before Heading 1 from 12 pt to 6 pt.

    11. In the Spacing box, click the down arrow in the After box once to change the line spacing after Heading 1 from 3 pt to 0.
      Set Paragraph Style

    12. Click the OK button. When the Modify Style box appears, click the OK button. When the Style box appears, click the Apply button. You will then return to you document where you can continue writing.

USING TABS
  • Microsoft Word carries default tab settings of ˝ inch. Each time you press the Tab key at the beginning of a paragraph, for example, the first line will be indented ˝ inch. When you are writing essays or research papers, you should use the Tab key rather than the space bar to indent the first line of a paragraph. This procedure will ensure that the text begins at the same point, ˝ inch indent, in the first line of each paragraph.
  • If you are typing a memo, press the Tab key after the headings at the beginning of the memo rather than the space bar to ensure even spacing between the heading and the text that follows, as shown in the example below:
      TO: Technical Writing Students
      FROM: McDuff, Inc.
      DATE: August 17, 1999
      SUBJECT: Using the Tab Key

SETTING TAB STOPS
  • If you want to set tab stops at a point other than the default settings of every ˝ inch, or if you want to use decimal tabs or dots between the tab and text such as in a table of contents, follow these steps.
    1. Choose the style of tab.
      • At the left side of the ruler line you will see the left tab button Left Tab. This stands for a left tab that begins at the left margin and moves text to the right to the point where a tab stop is set. (This is the style of tab stop that was set to align the memo headings displayed above.)
      • When you click the left tab button, you will change to the center tab stop Center Tab. The center tab button is used to set a tab to center text on either side of the center tab stop.
      • When you click the center tab button, you will change the tab option to the right aligned tab stop Right Tab. This tab style option is useful for aligning text on the right side at the point where you have set the tab stop, such as aligning a column of whole numbers that are not followed by decimals.
      • If you click the right tab option, the decimal tab stop Decimal Tab will be displayed.The following numbers have been aligned with a decimal tab stop:
         $1,253.47
         759.52
    2. Set the tab. Use your mouse to click the gray bar on the ruler at the point where you want to set the tab.
      Set Tab on Ruler

      When you click on the gray bar, the tab symbol will appear on the bar and a dotted line will extend vertically down your desktop screen. Without releasing the left mouse button, you can move the tab by dragging it left or right. When you drag it, you will see a dotted line extend down your page of text. This tool is helpful for setting and aligning tabs later in your document. Later, if you want to move the tab stop again, you can click on the tab stop symbol and drag it left or right. When you press the Enter key to begin a new paragraph, the tab setting will continue with the new paragraph. You may set different styles of tab on a single line or within a paragraph. If you want a dot or dash leader extending after the tab as you see below, click Format on the menu bar. When the Format menu appears, click on Tabs....
      Format Menu

    3. After you click on Tabs, the Tabs dialog box will be displayed:
      Tabs Dialog Box

      In the Tabs dialog box, click the location of the tab you have previously set and then click the type of alignment, which is right in the example below. Then click on the type of leader—in this case, leader #2. Then click the Set button. Finally, click the OK button:

      • John Smith............................................695-1000

    4. To remove a tab, click its symbol on the ruler, drag the symbol off the ruler line, and release the mouse button.
      Remove Tab

CHANGING THE LEFT MARGIN with the Increase Indent Button
  • Please note the preceding paragraph that lists John Smith's telephone number. The entire paragraph, even though it is only one line, has been indented. Notice also that most of the paragraphs in this document begin with either a square bullet or a numbered list. The left margin of the bulleted lists is indented under the headings, and the left margin of the numbered lists is indented under the bulleted lists.
  • If you want a paragraph to begin with a bullet or a number but you want the left margin of that entire paragraph to be indented, you need to tell Microsoft Word to indent the left margin, not just the first line of the paragraph. If you do not do this, the bullet or number may not appear where you want it. To move the left margin of the paragraph as in the memo headings above, follow these steps:
    1. Click the Increase Indent button Increase Indent (located to the right of the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar). The entire left margin of your paragraph will be moved to the right by 1/2 inch each time you click the button. If you click the left indent button (the button with the arrow pointing left), the left margin of the entire paragraph will be moved back to the left 1/2 inch each time you press the button.
    2. If you want the left margin to be less or more than 1/2 inch, click Format on the menu bar and then Paragraph if you want to change the amount of the left margin (or right margin) indention.
    3. Click the up or down arrow in the Left Indentation (or Right Indentation) box.
    4. Then click the OK button to close the dialog box and return to your newly aligned paragraph.

CREATING PARAGRAPH BORDERS
  • Follow these steps to place a border around a paragraph, such as a CAUTION or WARNING in instructions:

    1. First select the paragraph by clicking and dragging to highlight it.

    2. Click Format on the Menu bar and then click Borders and Shading....
      Format Menu Borders and Shading

    3. When the Borders and Shading dialog box appears, click the Line Style button and click the size line you prefer (A 1/2 or 3/4 point width is usually fine to outline 10-12 point font styles).
      Borders and Shading

    4. Final Step
      Under the Borders Setting tab in the Borders and Shading dialog box, click on the box image to the left of the word Box and then click the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box to place the border around the text you have selected (highlighted) with your mouse, as illustrated here.


©Copyright 2007 by Rick Lewis
Sandhills Community College