A left-aligned paragraph, for example, begins at the same place as the left margin, as shown in this text. However, you may choose to indent one or more paragraphs, shifting their position in respect to the left and/or right margins. For example, if you want to indicate that the second paragraph provides a brief introduction to the first, you could leave it slightly indented.
There are three primary settings for paragraphs: alignment, indentation, and spacing. The most prevalent is alignment. It moves the paragraph to the left, right, or center. Indentation creates a space within the text for emphasis. This can be accomplished through using tabs or spaces in your document. Spacing allows you to specify how far apart words or lines should be.
Alignment has two main categories: horizontal and vertical. With horizontal alignment, characters or objects on the page remain aligned with each other as you change the width of the text box. With vertical alignment, the characters or objects stay upright as you vary the height of the text box.
Indentation uses tabs or spaces to create blank lines within the text to show where sub-paragraphs begin and end. These indents can be used to make reading the text easier by giving it a natural hierarchy even though there is no parent-child relationship between paragraphs. Tabs are more commonly used for indenting because they can be changed later if needed but spaces would also work.
Spacing specifies the amount of space between words or lines. This is done with both single words and whole sentences. There are two types of spacing: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Depending on the alignment you select for your Word documents, each paragraph begins in reference to the right and left margins by default. In the initial line of a paragraph, just the first line is indented. The other lines are left aligned.
With indentation, each line of text within a paragraph receives its own horizontal space. So, increasing or decreasing the amount of indentation will change the appearance of the text without affecting any other attributes.
Text alignment, on the other hand, affects how the whole paragraph is aligned with respect to the margin or page break. Left-aligning a paragraph means that it starts from the left edge of the margin or page break. Right-aligning a paragraph starts it from the right edge.
The easiest way to distinguish alignment from indentation is to think about which one you want to use when writing long sentences. If you want to keep the sentence short, then use indentation. But if you want the sentence to take up a lot of room, then use alignment instead.
There are four possible alignments: Align to the left This is the paragraph alignment that is used by default. It places the left end of each paragraph line to the left page margin or indent. As a result, the left edge is straight while the right edge is ragged.
Align to the right This option is the same as the default setting except it puts the right end of each paragraph line to the right page margin or indent. As a result, the right edge is straight while the left edge is ragged.
Center This option centers the text in the paragraph on both the left and right pages.
Justify This option justifies the text in the paragraph across both pages. The entire paragraph will be flush with the left and right margins.
You can change the default alignment for new paragraphs by selecting Reset from the Paragraph section of the Text Formatting dialog box. To change the default alignment for all paragraphs on one page, such as those in headers or lists, select All from the Page section of this dialog box.