Module 2, Lesson 1:  Formatting basics (PC)

If you use a Mac, click this link to go to the Word 2016 for Mac module.

The following are some basic tips to keep in mind when drafting your Word document.

Layout of content

  • Divide content into manageable blocks of text to make it easier for users to navigate the document.  Include headings and sub-headings to divide text into related paragraphs and sections. 
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists to display lists instead of using lengthy sentences.

Language used

  • Use language appropriate to your target audience.  
  • If using abbreviations or acronyms make sure to provide the fully-expanded definition the first time you use them in a document.

Font type

  • Stick to using standard fonts that are available on the end user's device.
  • Documents with only one, or only a few font faces are usually easier to read. Using too many font faces can create a confusing visual layout, which is bad for all users, but may be especially difficult for users with reading disorders, learning disabilities, or attention deficit disorders.
  • When in doubt, use Verdana.  It has a simple, straightforward design, and the characters are not easily confused. For example, the upper-case "I" and the lower-case "L" have unique shapes, unlike Arial in which the two characters may be easily confused (see example below).                                                
                                              Verdana vs. Arial


Text color

  • Some users cannot perceive certain colors (green and red).  Therefore do not rely on color alone to emphasize text in a document.  
  • Underline or bold text that you wish to emphasize.


  • Use a high contrast between text and background colors. 
  • Use dark text on light backgrounds and light text on dark backgrounds.


Next: Module 2, Lesson 2: Styles (PC)

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