How to Format Word Documents Like a Pro: 5 Handy Tips

How to Format Word Documents Like a Pro: 5 Handy Tips

Every passing day brings us closer to the time when digital solutions would replace papers completely, so being able to create Word documents is a skill everyone needs. However, formatting them can be quite challenging, especially when you need to convert other kinds of text files into .docx. The good news is that you can use several tricks and tools to ensure formatting goes smoothly.

1. Split The Document Into Sections

Microsoft Word is the most popular text processing app in the world, and one of the main reasons for this is its formatting flexibility. Word allows you to shape the text however you like, and even apply different format styles[1] within a single document.

To apply various format styles, you need to insert section breaks, which would split the page into parts that can be formatted separately:


Page Layout → Page Setup → Breaks

You can set up formatting for every even/odd page, as well as format starting from the next page, or on the same one, but directly after the section break.

2. Use Specialized File Conversion Tools

There is no need to copy the text by hand when you need to transform a document of non-Microsoft Office formatting into Word. Today, you can find a specialized tool for every type of file.


Students working on their dissertations use the Word to PDF[2] and PDF to Word conversion[3] most often, since a majority of schools require papers to be submitted as PDF files. However, the actual formatting guidelines (MLA, APA, etc.) are all designed for Microsoft Word. If you are a student, be sure to use the exact formatting rules set by your school, and find out if they offer a custom conversion solution.

3. Use The Source Document Formatting

When you work with documents for a living, you often need to produce a text in the same format as the original; Word allows you to do this easily, since it has a built-in feature of adopting the source’s format when you copy-paste a piece of text. This approach might have some issues when copying from non-Word documents, but they are easier to fix than re-setting the format from scratch. Note that you can use the Keep Text Only feature[4] when copying the text to transform it into your default formatting from the start. You can change the Copy/Cut/Paste settings through Help → Options.

4. Fix Your Current Styles Scheme

Creating your specific set of Word styles allows you to apply the proper type of formatting in a single click. However, every time you make a change in some document, the style would be updated by default; in order to disable this feature, go to:


Home tab → Styles → Choose your style → Modify → Uncheck Automatically Update

5. Unleash the Power Of The Find And Replace Feature

The Find and Replace feature of Microsoft Word is an invaluable helper that makes your life easier. However, not everyone knows that aside from replacing specific characters, this feature can also change formatting. Of course, the exact list of formatting adjustments Word can make via this feature is limited, but it can still be helpful; for example, you can use it to replace all underlined text with bold.

Set the Right Word Formatting And Stick To It

Word is a highly versatile program, and you definitely need to spend a few days studying all its useful features and creating your formatting styles gallery. Once you’ve completed your formatting styles gallery, you would be able to apply a specific style for any type of document, so you’ll only need to make a few small changes to make it perfect. Using various built-in Word formatting features[5] and special document conversion tools makes this easier.


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Melissa Burns


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Last Updated on August 21, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. Hello promotion, here I come!
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. No, thanks Alzheimer’s; you and I are just not a good fit.

So how to train your brain to learn faster and remember more?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.


Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new.

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.” Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!


But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).


Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.


I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via

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