How to Format Paragraphs in Word 2013

By Faithe Wempen

Office 2013 allows you to format paragraphs in Word in the following ways. If you apply paragraph formatting when no text is selected, the formatting applies to the paragraph in which the insertion point is currently located.

Paragraph formatting is formatting that affects whole paragraphs and cannot be applied to individual characters. For example, line spacing is a type of paragraph formatting, along with indentation and alignment.

If you apply paragraph formatting when text is selected, the formatting applies to whatever paragraphs are included in that selection, even if only one character of the paragraph is included. Being able to format paragraphs this way is useful because you can select multiple paragraphs at once and then format them as a group.

To set the paragraph formatting for the entire document at once, press Ctrl+A to select the entire document and then issue the paragraph formatting commands.

Apply horizontal paragraph alignment

The horizontal alignment choices are Align Text Left, Center, Align Text Right, and Justify. This figure shows an example of each of the alignment types.


Horizontal alignment refers to the positioning of the paragraph between the right and left margins.

Each of those is pretty self-evident except the last one. Justify aligns both the left and right sides of the paragraph with the margins, stretching out or compressing the text in each line as needed to make it fit. The final line in the paragraph is exempt and appears left-aligned.

If you apply Justify alignment to a paragraph that contains only one line, it looks like it is left-aligned. However, if you then type more text into the paragraph so it wraps to additional lines, the Justify alignment becomes apparent.

  1. In Word, open your document that you want to format.

  2. Select the lines or paragraph that you want to format, as shown in the figure, and click the Center button on the Ribbon’s Home tab or press Ctrl+E.


  3. Click on a body paragraph that you want to format, and click the Justify button on the Home tab, labeled in the figure.

    The paragraph changes to Justify alignment.


  4. Save the changes to the document.