It seems to that the place to start this Word Smith blog is with a look at styles. While you don´t particularly need styles to write a one-page letter, virtually anything longer does benefit from a more structured approach to formatting. One of the problems with Word is that it necessarily takes a document-centric approach. But as a business you want to take a more horizontal approach — you want to make it easy for people to create documents that present standard pieces in standard presentations.
If you don´t use styles, you are very likely to get formatting that is all over the map. With a lot of work, people can get things looking pretty much the same. But ultimately that is problematic too. Because your communications have a general sense that something is not right, but it´s hard to pin down. And when you finally do start trying to fix things up, you find such an inconsistent mess that you wind up starting over from scratch.So use styles. Create a standard template that everyone can rely on. Update it regularly.
There are essentially two ways to create a style. (For an in-depth walk through the process see Shauna Kelly´s Styles page.
1. Using the Styles and Formatting dialog (from the Format menu), click on New Style, and use the Font, Paragraph, etc settings to define it. This gives you full power but isn´t WYSIWYG.
2. More interactive, you can simply change the format of a paragraph and reapply the style, either by selecting the style name from the formatting toolbar or in the Styles and Formatting dialog. You´ll get a dialog asking if you want to update the style or reapply the formatting. Choose update and your style is updated.
As you move through your document, keep an eye that your style list doesn´t get out of control. When you have a document that uses a substantial number, it´s time to deal with templates. But that´s a subject for another post.