Typesetting in Microsoft Word: Part 1. Getting Started

June 2005
by Jack M. Lyon

If you’re a small publisher, you may have wondered if it’s possible to set type in Microsoft Word. Why would you want to? Well, you probably do your editorial work in Word. And converting Word files into QuarkXPress or InDesign can be problematic. Besides, you may not be able to afford these expensive typesetting programs. An additional bonus: Word does automatic footnotes.

The truth is, you can do professional-quality typesetting in nothing but Word. Here’s how.

Setting Up

One of the keys in using Word for typography is to change a few of its little-known options, especially the one that makes word spacing in justified text contract as well as expand. This will greatly improve the look of your type.

To use it:

1. Click the “Tools” menu. On a Macintosh, click the “Word” menu.

2. Click “Options.” On a Macintosh, click “Preferences.”

3. Click “Compatibility.”

4. Put a check next to the option labeled “Do full justification like WordPerfect 6.x for Windows.”

(Caution: This option will not work correctly on a Macintosh in versions before Word 2004.)

While you’re looking at the “Compatibility” tab, put a check next to “Don’t expand character spaces on the line ending Shift-Return.” Then if you break a line with a soft return (Shift + Enter), the line will still be properly justified.

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