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How to Change the Heading Defaults in Microsoft Word (Mac)


If heading tags are misused, search engines and screen readers will get confused about how the content is structured and is prioritized on the page.

  • Search engines rely on heading and subheading tags to interpret what a website is all about.
  • Screen readers also reference heading tags to understand how page content is structured:
    • A screen reader will notice the code and tell the user a heading (e.g., beeping or chime and announcing the level, etc.).
    • Screen readers also use headings to navigate quickly through content to jump from one heading to the next quickly.

The best practice is to use sans-serif fonts rather than serif or decorative fonts. Sans serif does not have decorative lines. The fonts would include Arial, Calibri, Century Gothic, Tahoma, and Verdana. The font size should be 12 pt.—font for the body text. The font could be larger depending on the audience or page layout.

1. Go to the styles box on the home ribbon

Microsoft home ribbon.

Right select the appropriate heading

Drop down menu from "Heading 1.”

2. Select "Modify..."

In here you will be able to change

  • Font type
  • Font size
  • Font color
  • Paragraph style for the selected heading.
Heading one setting and what they do. With numbers around them.

Creating Heading Hierarchy

The different heading style sizes help visual learners understand how the subtopics related to the main topics. If you are consistent in your header level structure, your audience who use visual cues can quickly scan your issues on your document based on text size:

  • Header 1 (Heading Level 1) is the largest font (Page title)
  • Header 2 is a larger font size than Header 3
  • Header 3 is a larger font size than Header 4

To View and Listen to a Video Tutorial:

Select the link below to watch and/or listen to the tutorial:

How-to Video for Changing the Heading Default in Word (00:00:48)

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