Please don’t! Basics in Microsoft Word

April 29, 2020

Have you ever received a Microsoft Word document that you found hard to read because of its design or format? Personally, I have such an experience more than often. Sometimes, while working in a team, I can’t help but notice how others use Microsoft Word and how they structure their content. Of course, for every task, different steps can be followed. The street artist Bansky stated that “if you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission”.

However, when it comes to Microsoft Word, I think that we could make our lives easier, if we followed some specific guidelines. Here’s my list with some good practices for Microsoft Word.

Avoid using different fonts.

When you start writing a document, choose a font from the very beginning. Sometimes, people have the willingness to create stylish documents and for this reason they change fonts with every chance they have. However, documents like those usually cause frustration to the people who read them.

Don’t use Comics Sans for professional reasons.

There are two kinds of people: Τhose who love using the Comics Sans font and those who love to hate it. In whichever category you belong, I would advise you to avoid using Comics Sans for formal documents.

Insert a page break

If you want to start a new chapter or you just want to change page, don’t press the Enter button multiple times. Type Ctrl + Enter.

Don’t underline everything

If you want to highlight specific points in your document, you can underline them. However, don’t overdo it. If you underline too much content, then your audience will not distinguish what’s important and what’s not.

Pay attention to punctuation.

  • Between words click the “Spacebar” only once.
  • End your sentence with a punctuation mark exactly after the last letter of the sentence. Don’t type space between your last word and the punctuation mark (Only some languages, like french, don’t follow this rule).

Indent paragraphs.

If you want to indent the first line of the paragraph, I would advise you not to click the Spacebar 3-4 times. Prefer one of the following ways:

Put your cursor at the beginning of the paragraph and:

  • move the top ruler marker to the right to the desired indent length.
  • press the tab key.
  • select increase indent from the ruler.

Name your document properly.

Losing a Word document is not uncommon, especially if we haven’t spent some time to name it properly. If you have seen documents with the name “final”, “finalfinal”, “final3” etc, probably you know what I mean. I would suggest you to save your documents, adding the date during which you made your last changes (for example assessment_31.03.2020 or assessment_31032020). In this way we can back up our documents more easily without mistakes.

All the above, are some principles that I follow when I write documents using Microsoft Word. Of course, every person is different and, thanks to programs like Microsoft Word, we can create something in various ways.


Hi! My name is Ifigeneia and I am an instructional designer, UX writer, usability consultant and content strategist. I have been designed learning experiences for various contexts, including Higher Education, K-12, Human Resources, Technical & Corporate contexts. I have also been trying to bring an instructional and gamified tone to technical and UX writing through e-learning.