12 Apply Character Formatting
Before You Begin
Type Text into a Document
Apply Paragraph Formatting
When you want to make a point, you can format your text to modify the way it looks. Common character formatting styles are underline, boldface, and italicized text. Word offers several additional character formats you can apply to your document’s text.
One of the most common character formats you can apply is to change the typeface (loosely called a font in general discussions) in your document. The typeface determines the way your characters look, whether artsy or elegant. Fonts have names, such as Courier and Times New Roman. The size of a font is measured in points. As a rule of thumb, a 10- or 12-point size is standard and readable for most word-processed documents.
As you type and move the insertion point, Word displays the current font name and size on the Object bar, as well as showing whether the current character is boldfaced, italicized, or underlined. Word also enables you to change the color of your text.
When you’re using character formatting, express but don’t impress. Too many different kinds of characters make your documents look busy and distract the reader from your message.
Select the Text
When you want to format characters, select the characters first. You can select a single character, an entire word, a sentence, a paragraph, or multiple paragraphs. Whatever text you select before applying a format is the text that will take on the character formatting you apply.
When you select text with your mouse, Word displays the mini toolbar (see Edit Text). Most of the common character formats are available on the mini toolbar, which makes quick formatting changes simple and quick. Just click a button, such as the Bold button, and Word applies boldface to your selected text.
You can also apply a character format to text before you type it. Instead of selecting text first, pick a character format and then type the text. The text you type will have those character format attributes.
Choose a Format
Click the Boldface, Italics, or Underline button on the Font section of your Home ribbon to apply any of those formats. You can click two or all three to combine the character styles. Other formats appear on the ribbon’s Font section, including strikethrough, subscript, superscript, and color.
Select a Font
To change a selected text’s font (or text that you’re about to type), click the drop-down arrow to the right of the ribbon’s Font Name box and drag your mouse through the font names. As you do, your selected text will change to reflect that font, showing you exactly what your selected text will look like if you stop at that font name. (This live font preview was never before available in Word until Office 2007.)
After you click to select a new font, your selected text will change to that font.
Change the Point Size
To choose a new point size for the selected text, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Point Size list. You’ll also see a live preview of the font size change if you selected text before changing the point size. When you click to select a size, your selected font will change to that size.
You can also click the Grow Font and Shrink Font buttons to the right of the Font Size list box to increase or decrease selected font sizes by one point each time you click the button.
Apply a New Color
To change the color of selected text (or text you’re about to type), click the Font Color button on the ribbon. A Colors dialog box showing a palette appears if you want to select a color that doesn’t show on the drop-down color choice. Click a color on the palette to change your selected text to that color. You can change the background color as well by selecting from the Text Highlight Color tool on your ribbon’s Font section.
Display the Font Dialog Box
Instead of using the ribbon to apply character formats, you can set such formats in the Font dialog box. Display the Font dialog box by clicking the Font Dialog button at the lower-right corner of your ribbon’s Font section.
Select the Formatting
The Font dialog box enables you to select common character formats such as the font name, bold, italics, and the size. The Preview section shows what your changes will look like when you apply them to your text.