Advanced Page Layout in Word 2007

November 12, 2008

For the occasional page designer, there’s really no need to buy a full desktop publishing solution.

Full-featured desktop publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign CS4 or QuarkXPress 8 are a must for truly professional page layout work, but Word 2007 can take you reasonably far and give you highly satisfying results. We’ll show you how.

Prepare the Workspace

Grid Settings

To begin, if you’re not already in Print Layout view, switch to it via the View tab—you need to see what the page really looks like as you work. Also on the View tab, in the Show/Hide group, click Ruler to help you position and measure objects, then Thumbnails to give you a running view down the side of what your pages look like. When you determine your page requirements, come back here and click Gridlines; these help you position objects on the page. To change the grid spacing, click the Insert tab and add an object to the page (a shape, for example), yielding the Format tab, and then on the Format tab click Align | Grid Settings .

Use Text Boxes

Text Box Gallery

Instead of Word’s standard page, employ text boxes to hold your text, tables, and graphics files. To do so, click Insert and choose Text Box in the Text group. Word reveals the Text Box Gallery , which offers numerous choices, but for now choose Simple Text Box. Enlarge the box to whatever size you want, then type or paste inside it.

Layout Example

Add tables, clip art, or graphics files , all of which integrate into the text box (although Shapes do not). When you have as much material in the text box as you want, drag it wherever it belongs on the page, using the rulers and the grid to help position it. Repeat the process, adding as many text boxes as necessary (you can even overlap them).

Text Control

Paragraph Dialog

Fine control over text is available from the Paragraph and Font dialogs. In the Paragraph section (on the Home tab), use the Spacing controls to exercise precise control over (among other things) the distance between the lines of text—you can adjust the Before and After spacing via the arrows or by typing in a point size, and you can set exact line spacing as well.

Font Dialog

In Font , the Character Spacing tab gives you control over how the letters, numbers, and symbols appear. Select the text in the document and scale it, expand or contract it by specific point sizes, and raise or lower it on the line, again by specific point sizes. The dialog displays the result before changing the actual document.

Word offers numerous other layout options, including page color, page border, and a wide variety of built-in galleries, but the major tools for text layout are those encountered here, which allow precise control of placement, spacing, and appearance.

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