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EP037: Getting the Most Out of Microsoft Word for RFPs – with Jen Parkinson


If you’ve ever been tasked with putting together an RFP that is hundreds of pages long, you know the pain of formatting glitches, consistency issues, and, worst of all, losing hours of work in a ‘big crash.’ So, are there any ninja tricks to working with Microsoft Word that mitigate these risks?

Jen Parkinson is the cofounder and President of Billion Dollar Graphics, a firm dedicated to giving business professionals the tools to create powerful infographics and presentations. With 23 years of experience designing marketing materials, presentations and government proposals, Jen is an expert in producing bid-winning RFPs and first-class presentations.

Today, Jen joins us to share her top tips and tricks around using Microsoft Word for RFPs. She explains the key differences between Word and InDesign, explaining why Word is prevalent in the proposal world and how to use section breaks to create various page styles in the program. Jen also discusses her preference for submitting RFPs as PDF files and offers advice on mitigating flow issues and maintaining consistency in a document—from one machine to another. Listen in for Jen’s insight on using the Styles, Spacing and Review tools to compose an RFP and learn how to avoid the big crash by saving backup copies and new versions regularly!

Key Takeaways

  • Jen’s path from marketing design to the proposal world

  • The differences between Adobe InDesign and Microsoft Word

  • How to use section breaks to create several different page styles

  • Why it’s crucial to reformat a page before deleting a section break

  • How to ensure headers and footers match the page orientation

  • Why Jen prefers submitting an RFP as a PDF vs. a Word file

  • The importance of using the fonts specified by an RFP

  • How to keep pictures and captions together by creating a table

  • How to get your feet wet with Styles by creating headings

  • When to use the Keep lines together and Keep with next features

  • Jen’s tips for modifying the leading (line spacing) in a document

  • The distinction between a header and a heading

  • Jen’s tricks for using the Review tool to collaborate on an RFP

  • How to avoid the big crash by saving backup copies + new versions