Formatting Paragraphs

Help Center Microsoft Word (XP) Formatting Paragraphs

Paragraph Attributes

Format a paragraph by placing the cursor within the paragraph and selecting Format > Paragraph from the menu bar.

[paragraph dialog box]

Moving (Cutting) Text [cut]

Highlight the text that will be moved and select Edit > Cut from the menu bar, click the Cut button on the standard tool bar, or press <Ctrl>X. This will move the text to a clipboard.

To move a small amount of text a short distance, the drag-and-drop method may be quicker. Highlight the text you want to move, click the selection with the mouse, drag the selection to the new location, and release the mouse button.

Copying Text [copy]

To copy text, choose Edit > Copy, click the Copy button on the standard toolbar, or press <Ctrl>C to copy the text to the clipboard.

Paste Text [paste]

To paste cut or copied text, move the cursor to the location you want to move the text to and select Edit > Paste from the menu bar, click the Paste button on the standard toolbar, or press <Ctrl>V.

The Clipboard

The last 24 elements that were cut or copied are placed onto Word's clipboard. You can view the elements on the clipboard by selecting View > Task Pane from the menu bar and then change the task pane to the clipboard using the arrowhead in the top menu bar of the task pane.


Place the mouse arrow over each element in the clipboard to view the contents of each item and click on an element to add its contents to the document. Click Paste All to add all of the items to the document at once. Click the Clear All button to clear the contents of the clipboard.

Columns [columns]

To quickly place text in a column format, click the Columns button on the standard toolbar and select the number of columns by dragging the mouse over the diagram.


For more column options, select Format > Columns from the menu bar. The Columns dialog box allows you to choose the properties of the columns. Select the number and width of the columns from the dialog box.

[Columns dialog box]

Drop Caps

A drop cap is a large letter that begins a paragraph and drops through several lines of text as shown below.

[Drop cap dialog box]

Add a drop cap to a paragraph by following these steps:

  1. Place the cursor within the paragraph whose first letter will be dropped.
  2. Select Format > Drop Cap from the menu bar.
  3. The Drop Cap dialog box allows you to select the position of the drop cap, the font, the number of lines to drop, and the distance from the body text.
  4. Click OK when you are satisfied.
  5. To modify a drop cap, select Format > Drop Cap again to change the attributes, or click on the letter and use the handles to move and resize it.
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