Every type of savvy Assistant is working with a brand in one way or another. Being able to format and customise documents in Microsoft Word for consistency is a key skill.

If you are a self-employed VA or other assistant, part of your business is about developing a brand identity that helps you stand out in a busy marketplace. And another part is supporting the brand of the clients you serve.

As an employed EA or PA, you are going to be conscious of your organisation’s brand in all that you do for them.

A good brand has consistency in how it appears and sounds. Many organisations will have their own brand style guide – for writers, designers, UX professionals and assistants to follow.

Let’s take a closer look at how to achieve that brand consistency when creating professional documents in Microsoft Word.

Why Formatting Documents in Microsoft Word Matters

Formatting a Word document makes it more accessible to the reader, creates a good impression, and adds a professional look and feel to everything.

The document becomes a showcase for your brand or the brand of your client or employer. Even a dry-sounding document can be given a visual lift and readability boost with how the words (and images) look on the page.

Different types of document require a different approach. Board minutes will be created in a format different to that of a creative project proposal. Collaborating on documents can help to ensure the brand look and feel is right on the final version.

Formatting is also important because it can make a document more visually appealing and easier to read. You can create sections and put in headings and subheadings to ‘break up’ the body of text. This helps the reader to find what they are looking for, quickly see what each content section is about and to understand what is being said more easily.

What Elements of a Word Document Can you Format?

There are many ways you can change the look and feel of a Word document. You can select individual characters, a word, a whole paragraph or the full document and make modifications.

Format Text

In Microsoft Word, you can change the typeface (e.g. Times New Roman, Calibri, Helvetica), font size, font colour and font style (e.g. bold, italic, underline). Standard font size is typically 11-12pt for body text, 14pt for subheadings and larger for main headings.

If you want to use the formatting in a section of text in another section of text in the document, you can use the Format Painter tool to do that. Select the text, open the Format Painter then copy across to the desired block of text. Easy.

Format Paragraphs

Microsoft Word also allows you to adjust the line spacing, indentation and tabs. You can align the text to the left margin or right margin, have it centred or make it justified.

You can create lists, add bullets and change the style (e.g. black dot or square) or use numbering. You can also add borders or shading.

Format Document

And, of course, you can also change the margins, page size and page orientation for a whole document in Microsoft Word. Add a header and footer, page numbers or even create newspaper-style columns – to add supporting information or change how the page is read.

And that’s not all.

You can add a cover page to the top of a document and add an appendix at the end.

As you can see, there are so many potential variations of how your page and document can look. Putting it all together for brand consistency is made easier when you know how to use Templates, Themes and Styles in Microsoft Word.

The savvy Assistant who wants to create stunning documents knows the value of Microsoft Word Skills Mastery.

Save Document Creation Time by Using Templates in Word

When you have formatted your document in Word you have the option to save it as a template. The design elements you have included will all be in place ready for next time you want to create a similar document.

If you are creating a type of document for the first time in Word, you may want to use an existing template – from the options available within the application – to get started. Examples of templates, ready to go, include resumesinvitations, and newsletters.

Changing Text Formatting with Styles in Microsoft Word

I love working with Styles. It makes life so much simpler and I’m sure it will do the same for savvy Assistants around the globe.

Styles in Microsoft Word are a preset combination of font style, colour and size of text that can be applied to selected text. So, rather than making headings bold one at a time, in laborious fashion, you can use Styles to change all of the headings throughout your document in one go. There’s even a way to assign keyboard shortcuts to Heading Styles.

You can apply Styles to titles, headings, subheadings, lists and even quotations. Your chosen Style will be applied across the whole document. Such a time saver. It’s probably the most effective way to change text formatting fast in a Word document.

Simply open up the Styles section and make your selection.

Adding a Designer Look to Word Documents Using Themes

After working with Styles, you can apply a theme – with a coordinated combination of theme colours and fonts – to give your document a designer-quality feel and appearance. Themes sit under the Design tab in Microsoft Word.

You can also have a default theme, either for the type of document you create most or for consistent branding across all your documents. Some themes have a brighter, more colourful appearance – great for creative documents; other themes have a more typically ‘professional’ look – perfect for reports and more formal documents.

And if the Styles or Themes options provided in Word do not quite fit the bill, you can always tailor things your way.

Customisation of Styles, Templates and Themes in Word for a Tailored Solution

As I cover in my talks and training, using templates and themes to enhance documents in Microsoft Word is a smart way to go.

And I’ve talked above about why I love using Styles as my ultimate time-saver.

But the savvy VA, PA or EA is not restricted to using the pre-built options in Microsoft Word. They can customise Styles (using the Styles Pane), customise Templates and customise Themes. And once that’s done, the document can be saved as a template for future use.

What’s more, a theme in Word can be applied to documents in other Microsoft applications, such as Excel and PowerPoint.

This allows you to create a preferred and consistent brand identity across all your work – for your own business or for the client or employer you support.

Be a Master of Formatting for Efficiency in Creating Brand Documents

The savvy Assistant understands the power and importance of brand. And is able to deliver that brand quality in their work – for themselves, employers and clients.

Microsoft Word gives the skilled VA, PA and EA a wonderful platform for creating consistently strong brand documents. It gives you Templates, Themes and Styles to play with.

When you master the art of formatting in Word, you save yourself time and get tasks done more efficiently. Leaving your clients and bosses happy and leaving you with more time to get on with other things.

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