Unit seven


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Unit contents

What does formatting mean?

Formatting refers to the appearance or presentation of your essay. Another word for formatting is layout. Most essays contain at least four different kinds of text: headings, ordinary paragraphs, quotations and bibliographic references. You may also include footnotes and endnotes.You also have to consider the fonts that you use and page numbering.

Why is formatting important?

Formatting is important for two reasons:

  • It makes your essay look like an essay (rather than a letter or a note to a friend).
  • It helps to make your essay more readable.

Lecturers do not usually give extra marks for the formatting of an essay. They are more interested in the content. But all readers are influenced by the presentation of a text. If your essay looks like an essay and is easy to read, the reader will be more likely to have a favourable attitude to what you have written.

How can Microsoft Word help me with formatting?

Microsoft Word has several tools to help you with formatting:

  • The items on the Format menu, buttons on the toolbar and shortcut keys help you to format text quickly and easily.
  • Styles allow you to define formats for different kinds of text and apply them quickly and easily.
  • Templates allow you to define all the Styles that you use for a particular kind of writing (e.g. an essay or a letter).

You will learn more about the Format menu, Styles and Templates as you work through this unit.

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