For many, having a well formatted document is a necessity, needing to ensure there isn’t a comma out of place. For others, it’s not the highest priority. But are there benefits associated with having a well formatted document?
In terms of education, the main benefit associated would be in terms of readability and presentation. Many lecturers assign a certain amount of marks for the presentation and readability of a document. One could suggest that this is done to prepare students for the standard of work required in the real world.
Having a well formatted document to many can seem a tedious task, but in terms of time required for it to be completed, realistically you only need to create one template for a standard document, which can be used continuously for all your future work. But in a working environment does a well formatted document really help? For example, in a company where weekly reports are mandatory? If you had two employees who were both going for a promotion and were both excellent assets to the organisation, how would you decide? It could be as simple as the minor details. Perhaps it could boil down to something like who formats their documents in a more professional manner. Thus, while having well formatted documents are not essential to progression in your career, or in this scenario a promotion, one could suggest that by not learning this skill set, it could be a hindrance to your future career opportunities. Consistency in delivering well presented and formatted documents may also add a degree of weight and credibility to its contents and to the author’s reputation as a diligent and hard worker who always ‘goes that extra mile’ to get the job done.
In terms of the actual document itself; formatting makes a document easier and quicker to access and makes for a clearer and more easily read document. If a document looks well and is presented in a professional manner, it already pre-disposes the reader to being more open to its contents than if it were an unorganised mess! For example, even a simple thing like a Table of Contents allows you to access any information throughout a document through one click! A consistency of formatting throughout, font type and size, page numbering, headers and footers, etc. etc….all make for a better and more professional looking document.
Most documents today are created and accessed through Microsoft Word. MS Word makes formatting incredibly simple and allows you to create one that suits the style, size, and design layout that you require. Also, there are fantastic video tutorials on YouTube to help you with your formatting requirements. And if all else fails, we are here to help!
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