What Is a Paragraph in Microsoft Word?

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Microsoft Word is a word processing program in use around the world. It allows you to not only compose documents, but also style and print them from within the same program. Paragraphs are word-filled parts of all text-based documents. You may also intersperse them with visual elements, such as pictures, tables or charts.

Paragraphs

  • A paragraph, for Microsoft Word's purposes, is any single uninterrupted block of text that you type without pressing the "Enter" key. If you choose "Show Paragraph/Formatting Marks" in your version of Microsoft Word, you'll see a "¶" symbol at the end of each block of text that Word considers to be a paragraph.

Formatting Paragraphs

  • One of the options for formatting and style in Word is to apply everything to paragraphs. If you select no text prior to changing formatting, Word applies your changes to the entire document. If you only want these changes to apply to a single paragraph or a single portion of a paragraph, however, simply select what you want to change beforehand. To select text, hover the mouse cursor over where you want to start, then press the left mouse button down and hold it. Move the mouse to highlight the text you want to change while holding the left mouse button. Release the button when you get to the end of the text you want to select.

Considerations

  • Paragraph formatting may include things like line spacing, word spacing and list formatting, including starting individual list items with bullets and numbers. This differs from document formatting, which includes things like margin width, pagination and alignment. Also, any word block at all is considered a paragraph by Word --- whether or not your English teacher would consider it a valid paragraph. That's why it's always important to proofread your Word documents before submitting them, whether it's for school or work.

Don't Panic

  • When you highlight a paragraph, you might accidentally hit another key on your keyboard while you're moving the mouse around. If you do, whatever you've highlighted disappears, leaving the mark of whatever key you've hit in its place. For example, "eeeeeeeeeeee" might appear if you held the "e" key down. If you hit the "Backspace" or "Delete" key, you might simply erase the text you've highlighted. Don't panic in this situation. In either case, simply hold down the "Ctrl" key and press "z." That reverts your text to its previous state, meaning that your precious paragraph reappears just as it was before your unfortunate typing mishap.

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