Better Type in Word and PowerPoint for Marketers

For all the marketers who are non-designers, but who also need to make your docs look good, here’s some simple typography tips that will make your Word docs and PowerPoint presentations look better.

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I’m going to focus on line and paragraph spacing only, but I could easily do an entire post on the bullets and indentation setting as well. We’ll be using the new spacing standards we just went over above but adjust them for bulleted text.

Bulleted Text Line Spacing: the normal settings for “line spacing” are set to single “line spacing” with no space between the bulleted lines (no space before or after). Plus the box labeled “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” is checked. This box causes there to be no space between the bulleted lines and will not let you add space in any way. The first thing to do is uncheck this box.

First you want to adjust your “line spacing.” You’ll want the line spacing here to be tighter than your body text. If your body text is 12pt text with a 1.15 multiple “line space”, you’ll want to change the “line space” to 1.0. This will make each separate bullet read as it’s own block of text.

Next, add “space after” to the bulleted text. How much will depend on the size of your text and the amount of “space after” you are using for your normal text. Typically you want the space between bulleted text to be less than the normal body text. You want all the bulleted text to read as it’s own block. If your space after for 12pt text size is 12pts, you might make your space after 9pt or 10pt for your bulleted text. You’ll make this adjustment and then adjust further based on feel. I know, I know, what does that mean. Trust me, you’ll understand this when you start to use these adjustments.

Bulleted Text SampleYou can make these your default settings — but that’s a lesson for another day. Microsoft loves to make changing default settings wildly complicated.

Don’t be afraid to try these both in Word and in PowerPoint. They basically work the same across the two programs. The main difference in PowerPoint is you’re usually using larger text sizes. Once you use these new settings people will start to ask: “Why do your docs and presentation look so good?” Once that happens, you’re on your way to becoming a type geek!

Author: Patrick Fultz

Patrick Fultz is the President/CCO of DM Creative Group, a creative marketing firm producing work across all media. He’s an art-side creative, marketing strategist, designer and lover of all things type. His credentials include a degree from Parsons School of Design with 15 years of teaching at his alma mater, over 40 industry creative awards, and he previously served as President of the John Caples International Awards. Always an innovator, Fultz was credited with creating the first 4-color variable data direct mail piece ever produced. He continues to look for innovative ways to tap the powerful synergy of direct mail, the web, digital and social media.

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