Whether you are composing a business letter, your resume, a recommendation letter or even a letter to mom, I feel it should always look professional as though it is to be read by a dignitary.
Let’s open Microsoft Word. Now, I stress that I will try to give you exact instructions, but there are small variations between Office 2007, Office 2010 and Office 2013. There is even an online version, Office 365, which may differ as well. Luckily, most of the features are named the same thing, but may be found in a different location. Just be prepared to explore a little if this happens.
At the top of the ribbon, go ahead and click “Page Layout.” Next, click the little arrow in the right corner of the “Page Setup” box. In the popup, you’ll see “Margins,” “Orientation,” “Pages” and “Apply to.”
“Margins” are the white space from the edge of the text, to the edge of the paper. Typically, as it states, a 1-inch margin on all four sides is normal. This is what most businesses expect for most documents. Rarely do they want you to squeeze your margins on your resume or cover letter so you can fit more on one page. It is better to rewrite than to decrease the margins. Like all the features I show you here, you can see what it looks like in the Preview box below.
“Orientation” is where you can position your document in “Portrait” (8.5-inches wide by 11-inches tall) or “Landscape” (11-inches wide by 8.5-inches tall). Most letters are in the “Portrait” orientation.
“Multiple pages” gives you the opportunity to use preset options in the drop-down menu. Most of the time, you’ll use “Normal.” Take a look at the preview while you select each menu item to see how it changes the document.
If you find you use the same settings for most of your documents, after you set them, you can click “Default” and then you can choose to allow it to affect all your new documents.
At the top of the box, you’ll see three tabs: “Margins,” “Paper” and “Layout.”
Click the “Paper” tab and under the “Paper size” you can select the size of your document by its name in the drop-down menu. For example, if you select “Letter,” which is the default setting, it will show you the standard size of 8.5 inches-wide and 11-inches tall. Go ahead and select the other names of documents in the drop-down menu while watching the preview below so you can see the names and associate the size with them as well.
Next week, I’ll cover more under the “Layout” tab such as “Headers” and “Footers” and “Vertical alignment.”
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 13 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@MicroScottPro.com.