Word 2013/2016: How documents are organized

Updated 2013.06.06


·        To learn how Word documents are divided into characters, paragraphs, and sections.

How Word documents are organized: characters, paragraphs, sections

You can apply Word formatting commands to any of the following units:

Individual characters (or groups of characters like words, sentences, etc.)

To apply formatting to individual characters, simply select the characters before applying the command. Types of commands (on the Home tab, in the Font group):

·        Font name

·        Font size

·        Font color

·        Font style


A paragraph is the text between two carriage returns (Description: Description: http://www.briarcliff.edu/departments/cis/Word/Resources/How%20Word%20subdivides%20a%20document_files/image003.jpg). Carriage returns can be made visible by clicking on the Home tab, then clicking on the Show/Hide button Description: Description: http://www.briarcliff.edu/departments/cis/Word/Resources/How%20Word%20subdivides%20a%20document_files/image004.jpg in the Paragraph group. Types of commands for paragraphs:

·        Alignment (left, center, right, justified)

·        Line spacing (single, double, 1.5)

·        Margins (left, right) and indentation

·        Spacing before and after the paragraph


A section is a unit of a Word document that is usually larger than a paragraph. You must divide your document into sections if you want to change one of the following in the middle of your document:

·        Page orientation

·        Number of columns

·        Header or footer

·        Page margins

Entire document

The entire document (select it using <Ctrl>+A)