Tips for Formatting Documents in Word

If you teach upper elementary students or older, you are probably creating documents on the computer with students and need tips for formatting the documents in Word. I have six word processing functions that are essential for my students in order to edit and publish documents more easily. We use Microsoft products and PCs at my school, and days where we have the whole class set of computers out at the same time can be excruciating unless the students are familiar with some basic commands.

Student help pages for Formatting in MS Word

Student Tips for Formatting Documents

1. Save As

  • Designate one folder where a student saves his documents all the time. Every document a student types is saved into the same folder. Using the Save As feature, I show them how to navigate to the designated folder.
  • Set up a folder for a student’s writing assignments ONLY and teach how to save in the same place every time.
  • Set up a specific naming system. In my class, students always save documents as their name followed by key words from the project (Name Lemonade War or Name Aslan Essay).

2. Double Space

  • Double space the entire document at one time. Students like to type a little, then play with formatting, then have mismatched spacing and fonts. After the entire document is finished, change the spacing at one time. I recommend the Select All function to highlight the entire document, then choose the double space (2.0) line spacing.

3. Tab Button

  • Always use the Tab button to indent when starting a paragraph. When students use the space bar, words are out of alignment and look messy. I dislike messy.

4. Ctrl+c (copy), Ctrl+x (cut), Ctrl+v (paste)

  • These are the 3 most valuable shortcut keys in my opinion. Rather than messing with right clicking which inevitably ends up de-highlighting text, I teach my students these 3 shortcuts. I also use these shortcut keys for copying, cutting, and pasting images.

Student help pages for Formatting in MS Word

5. Formatting Button

  • This is a teacher’s best friend. If students have words jumping all over the page, turn on the formatting tool (it’s in the home tab and looks like a backwards letter p). It shows all the background buttons a student has pushed in the document. If a student pressed the space bar a thousand times to move something to the center, it shows little dots. If a student hit enter multiple times, a paragraph symbol (backwards looking P shows up). If a student hit  the tab button, an arrow appears. I can fix a lot of funky formatting in a student’s document by turning on the formatting key.

6. Undo Typing

  • And finally, when all else fails, hit the counterclockwise arrow and undo the most recent typing!

You can grab a free printable version of MS Word Student Tips from my Teachers Pay Teachers store by CLICKING HERE.

Student help pages for Formatting in MS Word

One thought on “Tips for Formatting Documents in Word

  1. Pingback: How to Create a Graphic Organizer | TheRoomMom

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