Life’s easier with breaks and indents

One of my biggest pet peeves of Microsoft Word misuse is flagrant overuse of the Enter key and the Tab key. Useful in their own right, but NOT to be used in place of indents and page breaks.

So today, I’m going to help you give your keyboards a rest. We’re going to talk indents and page breaks.

Let’s start with indents. Remember how we set paragraph styles last time? Right-click on your paragraph style and click Modify to open the dialog box again. At the bottom of the box, click Format, then Paragraph.


That will open up your paragraph formatting box. In the Indentation section, on the right, there are two drop-down menus for special indents. Select First line, then decide how big of an indent you want.

first-line indent

So here’s the thing. When you hit Tab, it gives you a 0.5″ indent, which is HUGE. You’ll never see that big of an indent in a book. As you can see above, I like to set my indent at 0.2″. If you want a little more of an indent, you can go up to 0.3″, but I wouldn’t go any bigger than that.

Voila! You now have an automatic indent that will appear every time you hit Enter while typing in this paragraph style.

Okay, next point. I see SO MANY people who, when beginning a new chapter, just press Enter until they get to the next page. But what happens if you change your font? What if you add a line? Or remove a line? You have to adjust your number of blank lines EVERY TIME.  Pain.

So be more efficient! Use page breaks! So easy, so effective. One step. Ready?

On the menu bar, click Insert, then Page Break. Aaaand you’re done.

page break

Seriously, isn’t that easier than hitting Enter a billion times? I just saved your pinky finger from overexertion. You’re welcome.

Next time, we’ll get into setting up the actual page–making it look like a book! Happy weekend, everybody!


Weeeeee did it!

I survived October! Can I get a cheer and some virtual brownies? Holy cow, guys, NaNoWriMo is going to be a piece of cake after this crazy month.

I finished my close edit of Stone Alliance earlier today and even started on the interior layout, since Scout was still sleeping when I hit the end. I love doing layout, guys. So much joy. And honestly, relief at focusing on how the words look instead of what they say. It’s a nice change.

Now it’s time to curl up, eat Scout’s trick-or-treating candy, and finish my NaNo outline while watching Arsenic and Old Lace. Happy Halloween, everyone–and good luck with the first day of NaNo madness tomorrow!