Chances are you choose your attire based on the occasion. For example, usually you’ll wear sneakers to a baseball game and formal attire to a wedding, not the other way around. You choose fonts the same way — bold type is usually used for headings and regular type for paragraphs.
Whichever effect you choose, you apply it in the same way — by highlighting the letter, word, sentence, or paragraph you wish to format and then choosing the effect.
Microsoft Word has various time-saving shortcuts for quick highlighting. Double-click in the middle of the word instead of dragging the cursor over it to select the word quickly. To select a line, move the cursor to the left margin until it becomes a right-pointing arrow and then click once. To select a paragraph, either triple-click within the paragraph or double-click when the right-pointing arrow is in the left margin.
The Formatting Toolbar
If fonts are your document wardrobe, the Formatting toolbar is the closet where you’ll find many of your outfits. If you don’t see the Formatting toolbar, as shown in Figure 1, you can access it in the View menu under Toolbars.
Figure 1: The Formatting toolbar
Changing the Font
The font is the shape of your type. In general, choose a serif type such as Times New Roman for the paragraphs in a document and a sans serif such as Helvetica for the headings. Typesetters traditionally have set paragraph text in serif type because it is easier to read, and headings in sans serif type because it stands out.
Highlight the text you wish to format. Then, you can choose the font in one of two ways. Click in the Font box on the Formatting toolbar, as shown in Figure 2. Type the name of the font — Times New Roman, for instance — and press Enter. The highlighted text now has a Times New Roman font.
Figure 2: The Font box
Sometimes you don’t know the exact name of a font, or you want to experiment with different fonts in your system. In this case, highlight the text you wish to format, and then click the arrow next to the Font box to reveal the Font list, as shown in Figure 3. Click the desired font. The highlighted text becomes the selected font.
Figure 3: The Font list
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Another consideration is the size the fonts in your documents will be.
Generally, your headings will be larger than the text. Text is usually 10 or 12 points in size and headings are usually a little larger. Don’t fall into the beginner’s trap of selecting too many kinds of fonts and type sizes in one document. Choosing one font and size for headings and another for text is sufficient to spiff up your document without making it look overdressed.
Highlight the text you want to resize. Then, you can choose the size in one of two ways. Click in the Font Size box on the Formatting toolbar, as shown in Figure 4. Type the desired size — 12, for instance — and press Enter. The highlighted text is now 12-point type.
Figure 4: The Font Size box
Sometimes you don’t know the exact font size you seek, or you want to experiment with different sizes. In this case, highlight the text you wish to format, then click the arrow next to the Font Size box to reveal the Font Size list, as shown in Figure 5. Click the desired size. The highlighted text becomes the selected size.
Figure 5: The Font Size list
To carry the clothing metaphor a bit further, once you choose your outfit, you can then dress it up with accessories like a belt or a tie. Similarly, once you choose a font, you can dress it up by making it bold, italic, or underlined.
Highlight the text you want to format. Then, on the Formatting toolbar, click “B” for bold, “I” for italic, or “U” for underlined. To remove the formatting from the text, highlight the text again and click on the related formatting button on the Formatting toolbar.
Other font effects such as superscript, subscript, strikethrough, small caps, outline, and all caps reside in the Format menu. Highlight the text you want to format. Click Format, then click Font, and then click the Font tab, as shown in Figure 6. Select the check box next to the effect you wish to apply to your highlighted text, and then click OK. To remove the effect, click in the check box again to deselect it.
Figure 6: The Font tab in the Format menu
Leave the Formatting to Us
Word can format text for you based on documents similar to yours.
In the Format menu, click AutoFormat. The AutoFormat dialog box, as shown in Figure 7, appears. You have a couple of options. You can allow Word to automatically format the document by clicking AutoFormat now, or you can oversee each change by clicking AutoFormat and review each change. Next, click a document type to apply the most appropriate formatting, and then click OK. Word proceeds to automatically format your document.
Figure 7: The AutoFormat dialog box
Nobody likes to be inappropriately dressed for any occasion. By applying font and text effects, your Word documents will be well suited for even the most fashionable inboxes.