I see a great many manuscripts come through where some fundamental--and some more advanced--formatting techniques have not been utilized, but would greatly help the manuscript. So, today, I'm going to give a few tips on using Microsoft Word to your advantage. This will not only help you to present a great-looking manuscript to an editor, but will also help to cut down on those edits once you have a contract in hand.
The most prevalent issue I see is not using a manual page break to begin a new page. As you all know, Word automatically creates a new page when you get to the bottom of one. However, if you finish a chapter in the middle of a page, you do not need to "enter" down until a new page appears. In fact, this is the wrong way to create a new page because then, when you edit, any addition or deletion of a line here or there, will cause your new chapter to either be on a different page or to be further down/up the page than you intend. When you need to create a new page use the CTRL+enter command. This creates a manual page break--and the kind that publishers need when properly formatting. So, let's say you end chapter five and you're in the middle of a page, just hit CTRL+enter, and you'll have a fresh page ready for chapter six. If you later end up removing fourteen paragraphs from chapter five, chapter six will still begin on a separate page.
Next, the backwards apostrophe. "Go get 'em," he said. That leading apostrophe automatically wants to curl towards the E in em, but we need it to go the other direction. Instead of typing just the apostrophe and then the em, type CTRL+apostrophe+apostrophe (yes, that's the apostrophe key twice) CTRL+' ' will turn your apostrophe the other way 'round.
Finally, make sure you use em-dashes for speech cut-offs and phrase offsets. That's the long dash, not a hyphen and not the shorter en-dash. I see a goodly number of mss where an en-dash or single hyphen is used in these instances. Many Word versions will have the autocorrect set so that if you type two hyphens (--) it will automatically changed to an em-dash. If you don't have the autocorrect feature set, and either don't want to or don't know how, at the very least, type two hyphens where you want an em-dash. However, I suggest using the autocorrect feature, at least on the first draft.