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Word skills for essay writing

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Short written pieces

Writing a basic essay using Word is straightforward but understanding a few tools can make your life much easier.

Basic essay writing tips including

    • Showing hidden formatting
    • Using Page Breaks
    • Adding page numbers
    • Using the Format painter
    • Changing line spacing
    • Changing margins
    • Adding comments
    • Saving in OneDrive

Have a look at our short video on Basic formatting and tools for essay writing in Word (4'00)

Longer writing including dissertations

As soon as you want to include a table of contents in your writing then you need to use heading styles to automate its production. It is a good habit to get into as it makes your work more accessible to screen-readers as well.

Headings and Table of contents

Take control of your headings and create a table of contents automatically by reading our help sheet: WORD HEADINGS AND TABLE OF CONTENTS (PDF, 0.3MB) or watching our short video: Heading styles and tables of contents in Word (2'48")

Changing page numbers mid document

Often a requirement for dissertations and longer pieces of academic writing are to have the page numbers in roman style for the introductory pages and then restarting Arabic numbers from the first chapter.



Quick accessibility tips in Word

To add accessibility to Word documents use the heading styles and table of contents as shown in the section above. This video contains a couple more tips to make documents more accessible.

Note there are many more things you can do to make documents more accessible. Why not book onto one of our Making accessible documents courses.


Video: Quick accessibility tips in Word (1'33")

PhD writing skills

Even a long document such as a PhD starts with the basic principles outlined above. Other useful skills include handling tables of figures, cross references, and making sure all of your page numbers update automatically. Digital Training can also help with using track changes and all of the other advanced features in Word 

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