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Formatting Papers: Basic Formatting

Basic Formatting

Page Setup and Format


  • To adjust the margins of your Google Doc click "file" and then click "page setup" at the bottom of the drop down menu. Enter the desired margin size in the fields on the right.
  • To put your text in multiple columns click "format" and then click "columns." Select "more options" to customize your columns by adding a line between them or modifying the spacing.
  • You can also adjust the line spacing in this menu to choose a standard option, a custom spacing, or insert a space before or after paragraphs.



Insert Menu

  • To insert a page break click "insert" and then click "break." You only have the option to insert a page break or a column break, if you have columns. Section breaks are not available in Google Docs.
  • To insert page numbers click "insert" and then click "header & page number." Now you can select which option of page numbers you want.
    • You do not have as many customizable options for your page numbers, but two of the default options will allow you to start your page number 1 on the second page of your document if the first page is a title page.
    • You can also edit the header and footer by double clicking on the top of bottom margin of the page. If you click the header or footer on the top page a box will appear for you to check if you want a different first page header/footer. Check this box if you want to include any information on the first page that you do not want to appear throughout the document.
  • You can use the insert menu to add special characters to your document. This is mostly used when you're writing in a different language.
    • When you click "special characters" a new window will open. The left modifier menu will be on "symbols" by default. Click this menu and select the alphabet that the character you're looking for belongs to.
    • Note that most Romance languages and the Western Indo-European languages use the Latin alphabet.