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Using Other Features


To get good-looking typography in Microsoft Word, using the WordSetter program isn’t enough. You’ll also need to employ such built-in features as hyphenation, kerning, and exact line spacing, and you’ll need to learn and apply all of the principles of good typography.

If you’re typesetting a document in Microsoft Word, try the following:

1. Learn about and use Word’s Page Setup and Section Layout features to set up different sections of your document in the way you need them.

2. Turn hyphenation on. Click the Layout menu, then “Hyphenation,” and set the hyphenation zone to about half an inch or the equivalent. (You may need to experiment with this.) Limit consecutive hyphens to 3 or 4. (The more consecutive hyphens you allow, the better Word can adjust your justified text—but you’ll also get more word breaks.)

3. Make sure that styles allow hyphenation to occur. For each paragraph style, click Layout/ Style/ Modify/ Format/ Paragraph/ Text Flow and make sure the box labeled “Don’t hyphenate” is unchecked; also make sure the box labeled “Widow/Orphan Control” is turned on.

4. Turn on kerning for all text. For each paragraph style, click Layout/ Style/ Modify/ Format/ Font/ Character Spacing and make sure the box labeled “Kerning for Fonts” is checked and the box labeled “Points and Above” has a value equal to the smallest point size in the document (usually 8 points). This is probably overkill, but that’s okay.

5. Set line spacing to an exact point size. For each paragraph style, click Layout/ Style/ Modify/ Format/ Paragraph/ Indents and Spacing/ Line Spacing and set line spacing to “exactly” the amount specified in your design. This is usually 120 percent of the character point size. If your character point size is 10, for instance, you should probably set your line spacing to 12 points.

6. Adjust all of your styles to fit your design. This even includes such styles as Footer, Header, Footnote Reference, and Page Number, which shouldn’t be left with their default formatting.

7. Adjust your right and left margins to set an easily readable line length. One rule of thumb is that lines in body text should be roughly as long as an alphabet and a half in the current font and point size, like this:



If you want to use a longer line than that, you should also increase your line spacing so the reader’s eye can “track” more easily from the end of one line to the beginning of another.

8. Run WordSetter’s Word Spacing program. Click WordSetter/ Set Word Spacing and adjust word spacing for each style until the spacing looks just right—reasonably tight but comfortably readable.


At this point, your text should look pretty good, but you can make it even better by applying other principles of typography and design. You can learn these by studying good books on the subject, such as:

Desktop Publishing with Word for Windows, by Tom Lichty.

The Printed Word, by David A. Kater and Richard Kater.

The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst

The Art of Desktop Publishing, by Tony Bove, Cheryl Rhodes, and Wes Thomas.

The Non-Designer's Design Book, by Robin Williams.

The PC Is Not a Typewriter, by Robin Williams (for beginners only).