In this day and age, almost every assignment a student turns in is going to be typed.
It might not even be printed out – it’s more likely to just be turned in online!
Most probably use Microsoft Word but if you aren’t sure how to do it, formatting that essay can be difficult.
With this guide, creating a perfect paper will seem much less intimidating.
Choosing a Font
The first thing to determine when starting a paper is the typeface. There are two goals in this choice: make it look clean and easy to read.
For this purpose, most recommend using a simple font. Don’t get creative with elaborate fonts such as Wide Latin or even colors other than standard black.
Instead, opt for something simple. Most recommend Times New Roman which is standard. This is a serif font – one with small marks on the ends of letters – making it easier to read.
Most college essays are written according to APA table format.
This format calls for 12-point Times New Roman font.
Fully understanding the details of different styles can seem complicated at first.
Don’t be afraid to look to academic resources for help. This could include on-campus tutoring or even places where you can order your essay online.
The margins on a paper refer to how far the text is away from the edges of the paper. By going to the “Page Layout” tab and click on “Margins”.
Once you click that, a list of options comes up including the creation of one-of-a-kind margins. Most styles call for the first option on the list of 1-inch margins all around.
- On the “Home” tab, there exist options for how to align a paper.
- The default adjustment – left alignment – is usually best.
- Some professors may call for justified alignment but, generally, left aligned has the highest readability.
However, if you are directly quoting something that is four lines or more, it should be centered in a paragraph of its own.
- As you may know, it’s important to use the “Tab” key to indent paragraphs to make them easier to read.
- A practice many writers do is pressing “Enter” to create an empty line between paragraphs.
- While this is okay for some writing styles, it’s not best when it comes to essays.
- There is also line spacing to pay attention to.
- An academic paper should use double-spacing.
- The command for this is on the “Home” tab on a drop-down menu labeled “Paragraph Spacing.”
Consider a 1,000-word paper with nothing breaking it up – just paragraph after paragraph.
Likely, you’d have trouble comprehending and navigating it. This can separate information and organize it in a way that will make the essay look less dull.
It also helps the audience when they are looking for a specific piece of content instead of reading the writing as a whole.
This is particularly useful in longer and more complex styles.
Save Your File as a PDF
Finally, it’s important to save the finished file as a PDF. This is because when someone opens a Word document, the appearance might change.
This is especially true if there are two different forms of Microsoft Office are in use.
Saving something as a PDF locks formatting into place.
- To do this, choose “File” then “Save As.”
- Below the box in which you name the file, there is a drop-down menu.
- Click the arrow to open the type of save file options. Change the file type from “.docx” to “.PDF”.
This guide explains how to save a document in different ways.