Writing a paper for a school assignment can be a confusing task if you are not familiar with the word processor you're using. It can be frustrating to try to figure out how to carry out some of the simplest necessary steps. This tutorial will help you navigate through the process of writing a paper in Microsoft Word 2007.
When you first open the program you may be prompted to select a template. Choose a blank document.
There are many types of essays and other assignments, and each type of assignment will require different elements. For example, a narrative essay or a short story may consist of a few simple elements, such as the text of the essay or story, your name and date, and a title.
Other writing assignments may require additional elements, like in-text citations, a bibliography, page numbers, and a table of contents. Before you get started, you should have a clear understanding of the elements your paper should contain. Ask your instructor if you are unsure about the following requirements:
- Title page
- Table of contents
- Page numbers
- Footnotes or endnotes
Microsoft has attempted to make the process of creating a document easier by grouping related tasks under individual tabs. The tabs are HOME, INSERT, PAGE LAYOUT, REFERENCES, MAILINGS, REVIEW, and VIEW. When writing an academic paper you would be most concerned with the following:
- HOME: For choosing font style and size, and establishing the parameters of your layout.
- INSERT: For inserting page numbers or making "page breaks" between sections of your paper (after a title page or other).
- PAGE LAYOUT: For changing margins, creating columns, or changing page orientation to insert an image.
- REFERENCES: For inserting citations and notes.
- REVIEW: For proofreading and checking your word count.
Setting Your Margins
It is very common for an instructor to specify that your paper should have one-inch margins on the left and right and the top and bottom. You will probably find that your settings are pre-set for one-inch margins, so your settings should not need any adjustments.
(By the way, instructors usually specify margins so students won't try to stretch a paper by creating big fat white edges!)
To check or change your margin settings, go to the tab entitled Page Layout. Click on the small arrow in the Page Setup box. This will create another box which contains margin measurements. You can change these measurements by typing in the numbers you desire.
Typing the Text
Now that you're staring at a clean blank page, you can begin typing the body of your text. The words will flow from one line to the next as you type. You do not need to hit return or enter until you're ready to start a new paragraph.
When you do begin a new paragraph, you may notice that the first line of the paragraph has not indented. You can pres the tab button to indent your paragraph.
It is a good idea to continue typing the text of your paper and worry about formatting and inserting page numbers later, once the first draft of content is pretty complete.