A Simple Way to Improve Online Copy

Glenn Fisher at All Good Copy has a great idea to improve any writing that people will read online or on mobile devices. All you need to do is make a few simple formatting changes in Word.

From there, your new writing style becomes almost automatic.

Here's what you need to do:
  1. Set your right margin slider to "13"
  2. Set your font to "Courier New"
  3. Set your font size to "10"
Here's a screen shot showing you were to look to make these changes:

Word 2007, 2010 Screenshot

The basic idea is to put less copy on each line. It becomes easier to read. That's why those ancient artifacts called "newspapers" follow such a narrow column format.

Tear a page from their legacy and you too can create copy that will scan well with your online readers.

When using a format like this, you'll find four lines of text is about as big as your paragraphs should be. Longer start too look too dense.

And all the white space makes it easier for you to edit your copy too.

Save it as a template

And here's another tip to make this even easier to use: Save these settings as a Template in Word. Here's how to do that:

  1. Press F12 to pop up the "Save As" dialog window.
  2. In the Save As Type list, select "Word Template (*.dotx)". Later if you get more advanced and have embedded Macros in your template, you would use Word Macro-Enabled Template. But for now I'm sure the standard Word Template is all you need.
  3. Give your template a meaningful name, like "Copy Draft" and click Save.
Here's a screen shot showing this process:

Word 2007, 2010 Save As dialog

Word will automatically use the default folder location to store your new template. That way, you'll easily locate it whenever you start a new copywriting project.

Just open Word, select the File tab, then "New". You should find your template stored in the "My templates" folder. Select it and click "Create".

You'll be on your way to some crisp, clean writing!

By Kevin Rokosh

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