Format text in MS Word- Basic formatting tips for beginners

One of the vital features of any word processing software is to format text.

What is Format Text?

Ans:  Formatting means changing the way you view your document i.e. text design.Or you can say that changing the formatting information of the text.
It includes

  • Font style (Face)  of text
  • Size of text
  • Color of text
  • Bold, Italicize  and underline text
  • Change case of text
  • Effects on text
  • Clear formatting
  • Font dialog box


There are some basic formatting tools which are provided by most of word processing software. In this tutorial I am going to discuss how to format text:

  • What these tools do?
  • How to use tools?
  • How to clear formatting of tools?
  • Shortcut keys for doing all tasks.


Font: – Font tool is used to format text. It includes information about used font style. Some of the examples of font name are Arial, Times New Roman and Ms Serif etc.

Here is how to change the font of text using Home tab.

  • Select text.
  • Under Home tab select the font from the drop down list.

Shortcut Keys: You can also change the font of the text using keyboard. Here is how to do it.

  1. Select text using keyboard: To select text place the cursor in front of the text from where you want to select the text.
  2. Press Shift + Arrow key to select the text.
  3. After selecting the text use Ctrl+Shift+F key combination to select font drop down list.
  4. Using arrow key select the font and press enter key.


Font Size: Size of the text, as the name suggests this tool is used to change the size of the text. For this to take place follow the steps written below.
  1. Select text.
  2. Under Home tab, choose size from the size dropdown list.

Shortcut Keys: To change the size of the text press Ctrl+Shift+P

Alternate way to increase and decrease the text size is:

Click on A^ to increase the text size (or press Ctrl+> key combinations).

Click on Av to decrease the text size (or Press Ctrl+< key combinations).

Color of Text: Color is also a main constituent of formatting information of the text. Color includes text color and highlight color.

To change the text color

  • Select text.
  • Click on the text color button under Home tab.
  • From the color box choose desired color.

To change the highlight Color

  • Select text.
  • Click on highlight pen button under Home tab.
  • Select color.


Click on highlight color the pointer will convert into highlighter Pen.

Now drag pen over the text which you want to highlight and release the mouse button.

Bold, Italic and underline the text: – You can stylize the text using Bold, Italic and Underline tools.

To Bold the Text: Select the text and click on B button under Home Tab. To switch back to normal text selects the text and Press B button again.

Shortcut Key: Ctrl+B

To Italic the Text: Select the text and click on I button under Home Tab. To switch back to normal text select the text and Press I button again.

Shortcut Key: Ctrl+I

To Underline the Text: Select the text and click on U Button under Home Tab. To switch back to normal text selects the text and Press U button again.

Shortcut Key: Ctrl+U

Change Case of the Text: Case of the text includes capitalize each word, sentence case, lower case uppercase and toggle case. To work in particular case you can use caps lock button of keyboard but what you is typed in the whole document and then realized that it should be in capital, small or sentence case that is where this handy tool becomes important.

Here is how to use this tool

  • Select the text.
  • Under Home tab click on Aa button and choose the case of your choice or you can Press Shift + F3 key combination from the keyboard.
Effects on the text: – You can decorate text with outline, shadow, reflection and glow using text effects button in the font group under Home tab. You can apply inbuilt styles as follows:
  1. Select the text.
  2. Click on the text effects button (Glowing A button).
  3. It will show a list of text effects and click any one of your preference.

You can also create your own text effects by clicking on the Reflection, Glow, Outline or Shadow submenu. Under those menus you can work as follows:

Before applying text effects select the text.

  • Outline: – Click on the outline submenu under text effects button.

    It will show a sub menu with the following options:

    1. Outline Color: Choose the color of outline from the color box.
    2. No Outline: To remove outline color.
    3. Line weight.
    4. Line style: Solid and dashed etc.
  • Shadow: To give shadow to the text select this menu option and choose shadow style according to your choice.
  • Reflection: To give reflection to the text selects this option.
  • Glow: To make text glow choose this option. You can also change the color of the glowing light from this option.
  • You can also use these buttons to remove the effect by clicking on no outline, no glow, no shadow or no reflection option.

    Note: This Option will not work in the older version of MS Word (before 2010). If  the file created in old version and opened in new version then also this option will get disabled automatically.

    Using Font Dialog Box to Format Text

    You can change the font of the text using Font dialog box. Steps are as follows:

    1. Select text.
    2. Press Ctrl+D button from the keyboard or click on the tiny button at bottom right corner of font group under Home tab.
    3. Font dialog box will appear from which you can choose options accordingly and apply different styles to the text. Some of the options that are not present under font group are also present here. You can also create default font styles by clicking on set as default button on the font dialog box.
    Clear Formatting: You can also clear formatting and switch to normal mode by clicking on clear formatting button in the font group under Home tab or simply by Pressing  Ctrl+Spacebar


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