Formatting Documents

By Erin Arnoux

The words in a document are the only things that matter when it comes to formatting.  If the document is visually appealing you will capture the reader, and this affects the way the reader digests the information.  It is crucial when working on Legal documents that they are well formatted.

A key component to editing and formatting your document is to know your audience. Whether it be for your professor, boss, colleague, or an Attorney, having a correctly formatted document will capture your thoughts as well as stand out. 

How do you format a document in Word?

  • Select the text you want to format. To select a single word, double-click it. To select a line of text, click to the left of it.
  • Select an option to change the font, font size, font color, or make the text bold, italic, or underline.

As a rule, the top margin should be two inches and the bottom margin should be one inch. Most legal documents use 1.5 or double-spacing.

The standard font size for Legal documents is 12-point font. This font is large enough for the reader to be able to read and small enough to include all of the information to fit on a single page.

When working on Legal documents for any professional, it is important that the information be displayed neatly and comprehensible. The recipient should be able to review the document that the Administrative Assistant or Paralegal completed and understand the information presented without any confusion.  If the Admin or Paralegal is using the same format, this also makes it easy for the recipient to compare current and previous documents by reference as well as help the Firm/Company save time and energy from explaining the format method.

Microsoft Word is a very popular, highly competent pro text editor and many professionals fail to use all of the components that it offers.  As you can imagine, this can lead to more mistakes being made as it isn’t being used to its full potential.

A style in Microsoft Word is a set of formatting rules that apply to texts, tables and lists.  When using styles this can manipulate the document.  There are multiple styles to choose from and you will want to select and use the same style for an entire document without exception.

To select the specific style, you will need to locate the “home” tab and right click any style in the styles gallery and select “modify”.   This will allow you to make any formatting changes that you might want, such as font size, color, alignment, spacing or indentation.  Choose a style whether the style change pertains to the current document and or all future documents. 

The Legal Support team at Amata Law Office Suites can assist with formatting Legal documents for Attorneys as well as for any professional.  To have a document prepared and formatted, please send an email to paralegal@amataoffices.com.  Everything we write is tailored in a proficient, comprehensive, and informative way.

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