Let’s start with a clean slate. Open up a new Word Document.
Standardize your Colors
It’s pretty likely you’ll want to stick with the colors of your logo or brand. For example, if your logo uses two basic shades of red and a light blue, you can work those into your documents. The best practice is to use color sparingly – it’s more expensive to print and too much will make your proposal look like an invitation to the circus. What you want to do is only use color to accent things like titles and other elements.
In your Word document, be sure you are on the Home tab. In the Styles section, click Change Styles > Colors > Create New Theme Colors.
Typically you can keep the first 4 boxes the default colors. This just means your default text will be black, your background will be white, but in cases where you want to invert that, the background will be dark gray and the text off-white. Leave these as they are.
Accent 1 would be the primary color of your logo. Click on the color and select More Colors. Don’t even worry about the ones it offers you by default, you want to be exact. If you aren’t sure what the RBG values of your logo are, you may need to check with your graphic designer or use a tool like Photoshop to get that information. It’s better to be completely accurate as opposed to guessing here. Inputting the values (Red, Green, and Blue) will give you the exact color used.
Accent 2 would be your secondary color, and so forth. You can change the Hyperlink and Followed Hyperlink colors as well.
Once you have your colors picked out, name the theme and click save. You can always come back later and adjust them.
Standardize Fonts and Styles
Now that your colors are selected, you can start editing the default styles. Still on the Home tab, in the styles section, there is a row of boxes labeled Normal, No Spacing, Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. You can set these to any font, color, and size (as well as many other options) so you can reuse them throughout your documents. This gives you a standard set of fonts and keeps things from getting inconsistent both in documents and between multiple documents.
For example, right click on the Heading 1 option and go to Modify. This will let you choose the font type, size, and plenty of other formatting options to customize the look and feel of the Heading 1 font. The Format option on the bottom left of the Modify Style window lets you even change things like the paragraph parameters and text effects.
Repeat this process for as many styles as you need.
Typically you would use Heading 1 for the title of a section in a document, and heading 2 would be the first subcategory tier under it, and so forth.
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