If you are used to writing documents often or occasionally, how to make them attractive or readable might have crossed your mind. Formatting is among the choices you make to achieve the objective. Formation ensures that your document has a structure and carries exciting visual elements. A clear structure also makes it easier for the reader to pass through the document and get the main points. But how can you format documents conveniently? The best way to achieve the objective is by working with preformatted templates. They make work easier and can be customized to different needs.
What is a document format?
Document formats mean the way a file is laid out or organized. Formats address aspects like font size, margins, indentation, spacing, the overall presentation of the document, and many more. Formatted documents have a clear layout and come with consistent mechanics. They are good at creating quick impressions and ensuring your audience remains interested in your message.
Why is formatting important?
Imagine reading an unformatted file that stretches over several pages but has no clear structure. You are likely to face difficulties perusing through it. That gives a glimpse of why formatting a document is important. Let’s find out more.
Improves the visual appeal
Formatting gives documents a coherent structure with clearly labeled sections, headlines, etc. That gives the documents a professional look and appeals more to the readers. You can carefully add other eye-catching items, such as the company logo and images, to enhance the visual appeal of the documents further.
Format formatting keeps the writing consistent if you write regular reports for the same client. If you know a document's format, you can maintain the style and replicate it in other files. Others get used to that style and use it to interpret your documents. As a result, there is clarity regarding interpreting your message when you hand over your report
Ensures information is perceived better
Formatting is all you need to create documents that make an impact. Making a nice document shows others you care about what you are presenting to them. Others appreciate that you took the time to organize the information.
Shows that you follow the instructions
Sometimes, formatting is not a choice you must make – it is a requirement. Such cases can include when drafting an academic paper or a legal document. A professional document format acts as a guide to draft files that adhere to prescribed rules or guidelines.
Improves text readability
Consider the importance of elements such as a line break or section headings to your text. Including them in your text makes switching from one section to another easy. With a document file format, you maintain an easy-to-follow layout.
Can make a big difference in your career
Writing well-formatted documents enhances your reputation as a diligent and organized worker. To an employer, it means you go the extra mile to get the work done. Such small details can make a difference in your career by earning you strong performance ratings.
Applying a business document format leaves little room for human errors. That's because, with some formatting styles, you simply apply pre-designed templates and layouts. For example, if you are formatting an academic paper, you could use software to reorganize the information. So, there is little room to make errors, ensuring you generate high-quality documents.
How to format a word document to look professional?
Proper formatting helps you maintain professionalism in the documents you write. If you want to format a word document and stand out from the rest, there are a few tips to add to your writing:
Create a coherent structure with headings and subheadings
A structure is your blank canvas for document formatting. Structure describes a skeleton of how you are going to organize the information. It helps in ordering your thoughts before drafting a document. When creating a structure, think of the different headings and subheadings. For example, if you are creating a report or a research paper, you could organize your document into the following subheadings:
Table of contents
Conclusion and Recommendations
List of sources
Note there is no single structure for every document. So, it is important to understand your subject or audience, etc., when creating one. Nevertheless, headings and subheadings are crucial for better perception, visual appeal, and readability of your documents.
Use different fonts for headings and text
Do you want to create a professional document with excellent visual appeal? Then there is a range of fonts to explore. Do not limit yourself to the default fonts. For instance, if you use Times Roman font in your body text, you could apply Calibri for the headings. You can also ensure that the font sizes for the headings are larger to distinguish between different headline levels or from the normal text. However, do not use the fonts for the sake of it. Instead, change to one that fits your style and the purpose of the document you are writing.
Maintain standard font sizes and colors
A business document format allows you to play around with the font. But do you know that most document texts have standard font sizes and colors? It is a good idea to stick to this range for simple reasons. Going beyond the recommended font makes your file unprofessional and sloppy. Conversely, a minor point can cramp your document, and the audience may need help reading it. Similarly, ensure that your colors are the standard ones permitted under your writing practice.
Use standard margins and page sizes
MS Word documents have a default margin at the top, bottom and all-round that applies to many file formats. Consider sticking to it. If you are to adjust the default margin, make sure it fits the size of your page well. Doing so enhances readability and supports other text manipulations, including printing it.
Ensure line and paragraph spacing is right
What is the right document spacing for lines and paragraphs? The truth is that there isn't any right spacing, and it depends on the requirements. However, it is never a good idea to use spacing that makes your text difficult to read because the information needs to be more congested. Or use a spacing level that makes your words or paragraphs wide apart. Your readers may need to be more interested in a poorly arranged text stretching over numerous pages. Therefore, it is common to see most documents written at a single, 1.5, or double spacing.
Apply images and accessibility guidelines
Are you considering adding images, charts, tables, and graphs to your document? Adding images is recommended to enhance text readability for allowable documents such as reports. A proper way to add the images is to center-align them. Also, put them in between paragraphs and ensure they are of a size that syncs well with the text. It is an excellent way to ensure the images do not compete for attention with your text.
If you are writing for readers of diverse abilities, consider how to make the text accessible to them. Using color contrasts can make all the difference for people with color blindness. Using alternative texts can help an audience with low vision and many more.
Keep it simple
We might go into further depth on the exciting elements or measures for professional formatting of documents. However, there is always one constant – keeping the document simple. The content should be the main thing and every visual and aesthetics used should enhance the main message. So how do you make your document simple? Do not use elements that distract the reader from the main text. Declutter your texts by avoiding unnecessary images, exaggerated fonts, and colors. Also, maintain easily palatable paragraphs and keep your words short and straight to the point.
Use automated formatting
As you have noticed, formatting is a lengthy process and errors can be made along the way. Therefore, you can use automated systems for professional document formatting. To format quickly and save time, you can sample online for web platforms that provide ready-made templates. Lucky for you since we have an easy way out. ElegantDoc.com offers free preformatted templates you can use to create good-looking documents quickly. There are templates for creating and customizing academic papers, reports, invoices, flyers, and many more on the web-based platform.
In a world where everyone wants to stand out, proper formatting becomes your best shot for writing documents that make a difference. Rather than toy with how to make your document appealing, why can’t you consider automated formatting? This consists of ready-to-use document templates where you simply fill in the information in a preformatted file. ElegantDoc is the best web platform to let you create quality documents conveniently. The main takeaway for formatting your documents is focusing on the content. It is the unwritten rule to keep everything simple and in a manner that enhances the message of the entire document.