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This Style Guide uses the block paragraph method, which is common for some non-fiction such as textbooks and study guides. The first line paragraph indent method is best for fiction and narrative non-fiction such as novels, biographies, memoirs and history books. There’s no right or wrong. It’s up to you!

Although your front matter (title and copyright info) looks best with the block method, be careful not to mix first-line indents with block paragraphs in your front matter otherwise it’ll look skewed.

The image below further illustrates the difference between block and first line indent:

If you’re using the block method, you have two options for separating the blocks. The first option is to enter a hard paragraph return (hit the Enter key once) at the end of a paragraph, then hit the Enter key again to create a blank line. The second option, which I recommend and use here in the Style Guide, is to modify your paragraph style to define a trailing space. You’ll find this second method will save you a lot of time and prevent errors.

In the Steps that follow, we’ll look at other examples of how to modify and control your styling. It’s really easy (and fun) once you know how!

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Step 7b - How to Implement Your Chosen Paragraph Separation Method (First Line Indent or Block)

If you use Word 2000 or 2003, click Modify: Format: Paragraph, and then view the contents (see example below). Make sure the numbers under both left and right “indentation” are set to 0”.

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