Paul Wherly

Writing Reports

Writing Reports

Do you wish there was a way that you could focus on writing your report without getting bogged down in how it looks? Often a report is called for at the end of a project or midway through a project. Perhaps you need to present a monthly report to the Senior Management Team and instead of focussing on the content you spend far too much time faffing around with formatting. Does this sound familiar?

Well there is really no need to stress about formatting a report.  The trick is to create a template to automate the process.

So what should go into your template?

  • Heading Styles – I know – I keep on about them. They are one of the most powerful tools within Microsoft Word.
  • Margins – Setting up the correct margins to make sure that pages flow and the space around the text is correct.
  • Headers and Footers – Any standard text that you want to have in the Header or the Footer – including but not limited to Page Numbers, the File Name and Path of the document, the date, the author and many other options.
  • Table of Contents – This is generated from text that has Heading Styles applied – I did say that Styles are really useful!
  • Cover Page – Microsoft Word now comes with several standard cover pages that can be customised for your reports – very handy and professional looking.

Then there are the tools which will help you when writing the report.

  • Outline View – This is a great way of reorganising your document quickly and easily, it works with Heading Styles, yes Styles again.
  • Smart Art – This allows you to add graphical representations of your lists, process diagrams, hierarchy or organisational charts – lots of styles to choose from.
Business Process
A Smart Art Graphic showing a process
  • Adding tables and charts to your report will help to make your point more visual and of course you can add images to the report too.

It really pays off to invest a small amount of time into learning how to use all of the above tools as it will save you untold hours of frustration when compiling your reports.

Next week’s blog is about email.

Till next time…

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