Managing Fonts in MS Word

Consistency in using fonts is one of the keys to good design whether you’re designing a webpage, a document or any sort of publication.

Let’s take a look at how some of the tools in Microsoft Word help to manage the use of fonts when working on a document.

MS Word comes with many powerful features. Using predefined headings instead of simply formatting as you go allows you to create a dynamic table of contents based off of those headings. The headings also help to maintain font consistency throughout the document. Word comes with default styles and headings that you can use or you can set up your own styles.

To create your own style, first type “This is my headline” and format it using a specific attributes such as font, size and color that you would like to use for your headlines throughout your document.

Next, highlight it with your mouse, go to the “Format” menu at the top of the menu bar. Choose “Styles and Formatting”. A pane opens up on the right side of the screen. You’ll notice the specifics in the box that’s labeled “Formatting of selected text”. Click on the “new style” button and give it a name. Choose “add to template”. You can also specify the style to follow the headline so that each paragraph after the headline uses the same style. Again, this helps to maintain consistency throughout the piece.

Choose “automatically update” so that if you change your mind later and change an attribute such as size, all instances of the heading will be changed throughout the document. To make a change once you have named and saved the style. Go back to the “Styles and Formatting” pane and right-click on the named heading. A menu opens and offers the choice to modify. This opens the property dialogue box where you can go in and make changes.

Not only can you change the font style, you can change paragraph spacing, tab stops, border style, language, framing, numbering and create a shortcut key.

Now that you have defined your headline style, do the same for any sub-headings and the body of the text. If this is a style you plan to use over and over again, you can save the document right now as a template. In the future, you can begin a new document from this template and have the same formatting available.

Once you have defined all the styles you will be using in the document, it’s time to begin. Type your headline and choose the named style from the formatting pane (or drop down menu on your menu bar). If you created shortcut keys when you created the headline, you can simply use the shortcut key combination, for example “Control + H” for headline, to assign the appropriate style to the text.

If you assigned your body style to follow the headline, your next paragraph will be automatically formatted to your body style. If not, you will need to choose it from the list or use your shortcut keys to change the formatting.

Continue assigning the styles as you create your document. When you are done, you can be assured that your fonts and styles are consistent throughout and if desired, you can even make a table of contents based on your headings.