Stick to the facts. Organizing information in groups what each witness told you, what actions you did, what evidence you collected has two important benefits: A widespread and mistaken notion in law enforcement says that passive voice guarantees objectivity and accuracy. These 10 tips can transform your report writing, making you more professional, more up-to-date, and more efficient.
Choose one or two to focus on until they become second nature; then go on to one or two more. When report writing improves, everyone, especially you, benefits. I am representing myself in a Federal Tort against the VA and researched concise report writing to focus my objective. I found my writing style too complex for the average reader. I included my opinion and conclusions where only objective factual information presented in a timeline was needed.
I appreciate your time and tips refocusing my writing and SF report. I can tell just from your message that you have exceptional writing skills! You might ask if you can read some actual reports at your agency and then see if there are other practices you can adopt.
Read More that can be an original in the stack. Save it as a template or easily change the design on the fly. Good readers scan first and then dive deep. A table of contents provides the waypoints that help both. Also, you can easily keep it updated when you want to change something. There are also templates you can download and fit it around the nature of the content. We show you how to create your own table of contents in four easy steps. Create the outline and use heading styles to organize the hierarchy.
Apply the automatic TOC tool to the heading styles. Word searches for those headings and then inserts the table of contents into your document. Then you can automatically update your TOC if you make changes in your document.
For more hands-on control, you can also use the Manual Table of Contents style. Word inserts placeholder text and you have to insert and format each content in the list. Headers and Footers are important in reports as the main purpose is to provide information about the report on every page. They are the common display areas for page numbers. The header of the document should contain the title of the report, and possibly the name of who created it.
The title of the current section is helpful. The footer, on the other hand, should include the page numbers, date of publication, and other administrative information that is required. We show you what you need to know about footnotes. Select Insert , then select either Header or Footer from the group. The built-in gallery shows you several options you can choose from. The header and footer space is inserted in your document with placeholder text or table. You can start with a blank header and footer.
Master the header and footer space if you want to create custom letterheads for your organization. You can use brand elements like company or organization logos at the top and neatly formatted footnotes at the bottom. I selected Facet from the gallery.
The final look took two minutes to put together with simple text effects and an icon sourced from the Microsoft Office icon gallery. The header and footer are in place.
But, how do you know where you are in the document? Insert page numbers as the next important signpost. Page numbers look best in the footer unlike in the header as in the image above. You can also add it from the Design tab that appears when you add the header and the footer.
You have a lot of control over page numbers. Choose from a wide range of number formats and customize them to your needs. In this case, we are adding the number to the footer, but you can put them at the top or even at the margins. In this example, I have placed the page number at the bottom left.
But, I would like to change the default look and the format. Select the page number. From the drop-down menu, select Field. You can also reach the Field dialog from the Header and Footer Design tab.
Choose NumPages from the long list of field names. From the box on the right, you can pick a specific format. I selected the usual 1, 2, 3. Now all you have to do is add your text such as Page X of XXX, and change the look of the numbers with the usual text formatting tools available from the Home tab. Design the look on any page number in your document and Word updates all the remaining automatically. Page numbers are the most common elements in a footer, but it can also hold any other information like the header.
From the options in the Insert group, you can add the date and time, document info, pictures, and more to your header or footer. Formatting is also an essential step for a document that flows well. So, you must focus a lot of energy on picking the right font, paragraph space, and the colors. Even, the artistically challenged will find this part easy because Microsoft Word comes packaged with default themes and visual styles.
We show you how to add that final touch in Microsoft Word. Read More not only determines how the text stands out but also how it is printed. You want both for maximum impact. You can apply a typeface i. All font choices are available from the Home tab.
The default font in Microsoft Word is Calibri. Look beyond that as you have lots of others to choose from. So make sure you choose a font that is easy to read and suits the report.
Baskerville and Georgia are good alternatives to the over-used Times New Roman. Try different font pairing for the body text and Headings and Subheadings. Several websites like FontJoy and TypeWolf will help you experiment with font pairings.
You can download and use custom fonts too. But remember the thumb-rule — never use more than three different typefaces in a document. How do you create a drop cap in a Microsoft Word document?
Let's go through the simple creative process. If you want to have your lines double spaced, or single spaced, you need to change the format of the paragraphs. To change the paragraph for the whole document, it is best that you select each block of text; otherwise, if you are using headers in your report, they will change too.
Another better option is if you customize the particular style you are using to format the paragraph. Right click on the style you want to change and select Modify. Now, change the spacing, indentation, and alignment for the paragraph. Click OK to close the dialogs. Right click on the highlighted text and select Paragraph. The same dialog box as above will appear. A page break — by its very name — splits a continuous block of text across two pages. Page breaks are important structural elements for long documents.
Word automatically inserts a page break at the end of the page. But in a long document, you can place page breaks where you want them. But what if you want to keep a bunch of lines together on a page or column and not have them separate because of a page break? The layout is in your control. Click the tiny arrow you see in the bottom right of the Paragraph group. Select from these four pagination options: This application features a surprising number of underused tools and options.
We have unearthed seven and will show you how to use them. But I think you should use them at every opportunity to save a lot of time. But what is the difference between a theme and a style? Themes provide a quick way to change the overall color and fonts. If you want to change text formatting quickly, Word Styles are the most effective tools. So, as themes control the general look with color, effects, and fonts — start with a good theme for your document first.
Then , use Styles to dig into the specific portions you want to change the appearance for. Go to the Design tab. Pick a theme from the gallery. You can see previews of what the color combination is like. Select the part of the text you want to change. Go to the Styles group on the Home tab. You can see previews of what they look like. Choose the Style that is suitable for your content. For instance, choose a heading style for the headings in your document.
Or, a particular style for any quotes. You can also modify an existing style and create new styles from scratch. Every picture, chart, or illustration needs a caption to clearly describe it. It is a single line of text, usually located below a graphic. Captions are also an important reference when you need to mention them in another place. Many documents omit this small detail. It is easy to add a caption.
Right-click the illustration you want to add a caption to. In the dialog box, add your caption text and configure the remaining options. Captions can be automatically referenced in Word. Professional documents can get repetitive. This is why you should start using Quick Parts for boilerplate content you reuse all the time.
Or, some introductory information. Instead of repeated copy-paste, save them as Quick Parts and re-use them again and again. Quick Parts is also a type of building block. You can see the gallery of all reusable blocks of content in the Building Block Organizer.
Place your cursor where you want to insert a selection from the Quick Parts Gallery. Then click the sentence, phrase, or other saved selection you want to reuse.
Word has retained the old AutoText feature. It works like Quick Parts for any block of text that you use a great deal. A note you want to use with every document.
A set of constant properties that you can include with every document. Company name or author. These are predefined elements that update automatically. Date, time, page numbers etc. Find out what kind of information you might be revealing and how to remove it using the Document Inspector feature in Microsoft Office.
Read More whenever required. Page borders look good not only on flyers and invitations. If done right, they can add a touch of class to a document. A variety of line styles and widths and art borders are available from the Design menu on the Ribbon. In the Borders and Shading box, use the Page Border tab to design your border. The settings are self-explanatory. Try Shadow or 3-D with the right colors to add a subtle but elegant border. The Art styles with their clip-art borders might be too garish for professional documents.
Use the four corner buttons in the Preview window to select the sides of the page to draw borders. Click these buttons to remove or add borders, as you wish. Place the cursor on the first page of a document if you want to put a border around only the first page. You can also put borders around certain pages in a section. Place the cursor in the section — either in the first page of that section or in a subsequent page. A Word report can seem like an unmanageable chore. The idea is to know precisely which stack has the pin you are looking for.
These features are meant to make it easier. When writing large documents such as a report that contains a lot of information, a contents page may not be enough. An Index should appear at the end of the document, with page numbers to keywords and information in the report. Create an index to help the reader reference the right information with just the page number.
Make an index if your document has more than 20 pages. It basically has two parts:. You can scroll through the finished document and mark the words or phrases you want to include in the index or mark them as you go along. You can also add a sub-entry which further defines the main word you used in the index. You can add multiple levels and each appears indented under the main entry.
Under Options , you can also create a cross-reference to another main entry. A reader can use this to refer related information elsewhere in the same document. You have now built your index.
Insert it at the right place towards the end of the document. The Index dialog box is displayed. Here you can choose to format the text entries, page numbers, tabs, and leader characters. Choose the appearance from the different formats in the list and check the Preview window on the right. Sometimes, you may need to add more entries to the index after you have inserted it on the page.
Your document is almost done. Now, you need to credit all the other research work and ideas which you have referenced in your document. The bibliography is one of the most painstaking jobs in an academic report. You need to have all your citations in order before you sit down to frame the bibliography. Read More for constructing this section. But, Microsoft Word has a complete toolset to make this process as painless as possible.
So, go to the point in the document where you would like to place the bibliography. The bibliography tool has a few steps to it. For the sake of brevity, I will direct you to the excellent Microsoft Office help page which is a step-by-step guide. Some academic papers will ask you to create an annotated bibliography How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Microsoft Word An annotated bibliography is an important part of any research document.
Let's see how to create one with the help of Microsoft Word. It is a more fleshed out version of a bibliography with a list of citations to journals, books, articles, and other documents followed by a brief paragraph. The paragraph is a description of the source and how it supports your paper.
You can use a cross-reference to help the reader navigate through a long document. At any point in a document, you can tell the reader to refer back to a heading, page number, image, chart, footnote, endnote, and paragraph.
A cross-reference link is a neat way to connect related information together. The reader just has to click on the link to go that snippet of information. Select the place for the cross-reference and type the text that tells the reader about it.
The options in the Insert Reference to drop-down will change according to your choice above. In the For Which field, go through the choices and tell Word the exact information to link to. Check the Insert as hyperlink box to create the hyperlink for the referenced information. Remember, our mention of captions? You can make cross-references to equations, figures, graphs, and tables if you used captions below them.
Word cannot create a cross-reference for something that does not exist. Word will let you know about these errors and also update the cross-references automatically when you change the page number or text of the referenced item.
A professional report can be a solitary job or you can take the help of a team to prepare the first draft. The humble Comment is one of the most underused tools of a Word document. It is displayed as a rectangular colored balloon in the margin or in the Reviewing Pane.
Leave little notes to yourself in the margins as you write, edit, and revise your way through a report or a manuscript. Be creative — add extra links to other resources, use them for tips and pointers, link to different parts of a document, or set up a feedback link for your readers.
Recent upgrades introduced novel Office features and improved OneDrive, Dropbox, and Skype integration. Let's explore the new options. Comments play a huge role in communicating feedback across a team. Type your comment in the box. The comments appear in the markup area on the right.
Professional report writing needs a different set of skills. Many professional reports — for instance, a legal document — need to retain the format as intended. Save or convert a copy to PDF. Microsoft Word does not need any third-party add-ins.
Well-written professional reports not only provide useful information in clear and concise ways, but they also help to establish the author's credibility and authority on the subject matter. Avoid the pitfall of a poorly organized report by preparing before you even start to write. Use the draft stage to commit your.
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