1. Jhunter
    Offline

    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Southern California

    Stupid Question About Microsoft Word

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Jhunter, Apr 7, 2013.

    I always see that a manuscript should have .5 indents, but I never took the time to figure out what exactly that is. I have just been pressing the spacebar five times when I indent :)p).

    So anyways, I Googled this, but just got even more confused. Can anyone tell me how to format all my indents at once? And then possibly set it up to auto-indent the correct amount? Should it be indented on both sides by .5?

    Helppppppp. :(

    Here's a picture of a frog to show my appreciation in advance.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    Just hit the space bar five times rather than let MS screw with your head. But be sure to hit the enter tab after each paragraph to keep it in that format though.
     
  3. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Are you talking about margin settings? Or just indenting the first line of a paragraph?

    If you mean indenting the first line of a paragraph, you can just click on a paragraph of the style you want to format (the style is usually called Normal or Body Text) and select Format Paragraph (available from the top menu or the right-click menu). There's an option there for indenting the first line of a paragraph, and by how much. You'll also see options for line spacing, etc. Make your changes, and click Save. It'll probably ask you whether you want these changes applied to the whole document - say yes. You should be away to the races after that.

    I haven't done this in a while, because I set up Word the way I wanted a long time ago and haven't had to format paragraphs since. So I may have gotten something wrong. Give it a try, though.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Mithrandir
    Offline

    Mithrandir Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    In the general vicinity of the Atlantic Ocean
    I'll assume you have a recent version. Click on the arrow to the left of were it says paragraph. This will be in the same area were you chose line spacing. (It will be the third box on the top from the right, with Clipboard and Font before it.

    A window will come up. In the indentation section, chose first line under 'Special.' Then set .5 in the "By" section just to the right.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Jhunter
    Offline

    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Southern California
    Sweet, thanks everyone. Is there by chance a way to format all paragraphs at once? And should the margins be set to something special?
     
  6. Mithrandir
    Offline

    Mithrandir Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    In the general vicinity of the Atlantic Ocean
    I would keep the margins the same. I think that all the paragraphs after you set it will have it automatically, and you can always use the select button in the top right to select everything.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    For margins, find the Page Setup dialogue. In Word 2010, it's on the Page Layout tab.

    Margins are a page property. You can do something similar with paragraph properties, or by wearing out your space bar, but that's doing things the hard way.

    First line indent is a paragraph property, as minstrel and Mithrandir pointed out. So is double vs single spacing, and the vertical space between paragraphs. If you set these in the paragraph style you use for the entire story or novel, you can change it for the entire piece at once in a few seconds.

    Clealy, it's not a stupid question. It never hurts to spend a little time learning how to use your tools as they were designed.
     
  8. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    Yeah but on mine, I have to do that every time I create a new document. And who cares about the space bar wearing out, you can buy used keyboards for a buck and a half at the thrift store.


    *beside it's always the 'E' that wears out first.
     
  9. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    That's why you should also check Word Help about document templates. Every new document is created from a template, usually from the default template. I have document templates I created for short story and novel manuscripts, among others.
     
  10. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I've been using word for years and never saw the book templates DOH! (using 2010 office pro by the way) It's well hidden - go into new and follow these steps - New - Books - Other Books - Book manuscript

    When it opens fill in your name and personal details, book title etc, it will give you tips - then just copy and paste your work into it. It will do all the spacing for you!

    Thanks for the heads up - no such thing as a stupid question :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. Nee
    Offline

    Nee Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    23
    Okay...I'll check that out. Again.

    Though, I think i just have a warped one.
     
  12. Jhunter
    Offline

    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Southern California

    As always, your wealth of knowledge is much appreciated.
     
  13. Darkhorse
    Offline

    Darkhorse Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    3


    Jhunter, Cogito's got it spot on. However, if you edit a finished ms, you will still have the unfortunate task of deleting the 5 spaces at the start of every paragraph.
     
  14. John Eff
    Offline

    John Eff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Well, you live and learn. I had no idea those book ms templates existed, and like an idiot I never thought to make my own. duuur. Until now I've been adjusting the 'properties' of each document and indenting using the ruler.

    What a loon.

    Thanks for the pointers!
     
  15. Krishan
    Offline

    Krishan Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2012
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    37
    If you've formatted a manuscript using manual spaces and a line breaks and want to reformat it to make use of paragraph properties instead it is possible to use the "Find And Replace" function. If you open the tool and go to "More >>" then "Special" you can select and replace, for example, every instance of two manual line breaks in a row.

    I've done this a couple of times when I've opened up an old manuscript and found it laid out laboriously with spaces and paragraph breaks. Once it's done I can make future changes to the whole manuscript in a couple of seconds.
     
  16. TimHarris
    Offline

    TimHarris Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    May I hijack the thread for just a moment? What is the point of indenting a paragraph? Does it serve some specific purpose? Or is just just because "that's the way it is"?
     
  17. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    The purpose of indenting is to clearly demonstrate a new paragraph. It also (for me, at least) makes for easier reading. It prevents us from seeing a huge block of text and makes things appear more ordered. I've been presented with the opportunity to read huge blocks of text with no paragraph separation, and I can say that it was not an enjoyable experience at all.
     
  18. TimHarris
    Offline

    TimHarris Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    I was under the impression that is what you used the return key for?
     
  19. Mithrandir
    Offline

    Mithrandir Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    In the general vicinity of the Atlantic Ocean
    You're not supposed to have more space between paragraphs than there are between sentences. (Unless you change scene in the next paragraph.)
     
  20. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    In manuscript, the entire page is double-spaced. If you placed additional blank space between paragraphs, it would too greatly impact how much text goes on each page, especially in a passage containing several short paragraphs.

    Therefore, indenting the first line of every paragraph is the only way to visually identify the start of a new paragraph in manuscript.

    In other types of layout, if vertical space is used to separate paragraphs, first line indent is not generally used. Usually it's one or the other.

    But manuscript format is a submission standard, and all serious writers should be familiar with it, and use it for drafts as well as submission copies. Manuscript format is best for editing, especially in hard copy.
     
  21. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ...here's the easiest/simplest way to have a properly formatted document ready to use with a quick double-tap of your mouse:

    ...now your document is set up in the proper ms format and all you have to do every time you start something new is to open that and start typing...

    ...every time you start a new document, click on 'file' and 'save as' then give it a name and save it to your desktop for easy access while working on it, or save it to a file folder on your desktop, if it's part of a project that will consist of mulitiple documents...

    ...this will leave the 'blank document' ready to use next time and keep all of your current work handy for quick access, with only a couple of clicks...

    [mods... if you feel this will be useful as a sticky, please save it]
     
  22. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    I've always used tab for indenting my paragraphs? I'm surprised no one's mentioned that yet. Seems to be the easiest - you do it for one paragraph, and then Word usually automates the rest.
     
  23. Thornesque
    Offline

    Thornesque Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    71
    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    This is usually what I do, as well. I just set it to the spacing that I want, and from there I use tab until Word starts doing it on its own.
     
  24. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Using tab is little better than using five spaces. You have to do it to every paragraph. Worse yet, the indenting is then sensitive to the tab ruler currently in effect, which can turn your document into a mess that will drive you right up the wall.

    Setting the page properties and the paragraph properties really is the easiest, even factoring in the very short time required to learn it
     
  25. Jhunter
    Offline

    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,233
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Southern California
    Thanks for the continued information sharing everyone. You are all godsends.

    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page