There is not a one size fits all when it comes to document formatting. Each document comes with different challenges for formatting as well as different specifications. Different types will require specific or relevant styles of document formatting. A news article will demand a different format compared to webpage content. Likewise, marketing articles or SEO content would be different. Official documents, reports or textual presentations, can have countless types of document formatting needs. Tables and textboxes, images and their descriptions, bullet points, numbers and everything from the index to the reference or bibliography, the formatting requirements will vary.
Here are some of the best practices that you can develop for document formatting.
One of the essential requisites of document formatting is to ensure that you set up the styles including headings and use the consistent formats from the beginning. This will streamline your document. The headings and sub headings will also enable an easy set up in the table of contents. In larger documents, the content should be indexed with a Table of Contents.
Pick a font and be consistent with it. You can use bold, underline or Italics. You can colour certain texts or highlight them but ensure a consistent font and sizings throughout the document. Constantly changing fonts will not only make the document look inconsistent but it would also disturb the flow.
Stick to the style you have picked. That begins with the layout. Don’t change the layout on every page and certainly not on the same page. This will keep the presentation of the texts, tables and images consistent. If you have to change the layout or the format due to some unavoidable need, such as opting for a centre text or different alignment than the typical one, then do so in the most subtle manner so the changes don’t appear to be out of place or not consistent with your branding.
If you are using bullet points and numbering, set up the numbering and bullet points from the start. Use the styles at the top or ensure consistency with the bullet points and numbers. By setting these up at the start will make for a much more streamlined document and will make it much easier to add in further down in a larger document.
Use Headers and Footers to ensure consistency throughout the document and will make each page the same. Include a logo, copyright, page numbers, website and other relevant information that is needed. If you are using a title page you can change the Header and Footer so that it does not show on the first page.
For more hints and tricks on formatting word documents, take a look at the Microsoft Word Tutorials here.