I plan to write a novel, but before I do so, I need to know if Microsoft Word's manuscript format is accurate.
I'll go one step further. (I run a publishing company). Do as little formatting as possible!
Italics, bold -- ok. Lists, numbering -- ok. Justify -- turn off. line spacing, indenting, page formatting -- avoid tinkering with that.
I would use only two styles from the MS Word styles: the Title style (or Heading style) and the Body style. Then I would modify the Body style to choose a more readable font (like Calibri, Cambria, Candara, Consolas and Corbel). Edit the Style -- not the text itself.
A publisher will accept a digital copy, then import the content into their own template. Any extraneous formatting needs to be manually removed.
Each publisher is different -- and if they have guidelines, you will need to follow them. But generally, the fewer things you format, the better.
It actually depends on to whom you submit: some want no tabs, others want certain fonts or certain headers and pagination. Your best bet is to forget all templates and rely on this:
Double-spaced 12 point Courier or Times New Roman; ragged edge (do not justify---ever); page numbers in the top right corner; your name at the top, and, quite possibly, the title of the MS on every page.
It's actually good, if you're talking about the default supplied Word MS format.
I don't use Word, I use Scrivener, but I checked it against the template I use and it's almost identical. TNR 12, double spaced you can't go wrong with and the header is professionally laid out.
The only things I changed for submission were:
Larger chapter headings that start halfway down the page.
Not to indent the first paragraph at chapter start and following line breaks for time (I think this looks more professional).
All caps for my header (just a personal preference).
If you're submitting to agents, they're human beings. They aren't going to toss a great MS because it uses a slightly different MS format/template. All they really want is something easily readable. But check the submission guidelines for every agent/publisher you submit to and make sure its in line. Most just say a standard 12pt font double spaced, and no more than that.
You're onto a winner with that template though, it's fine.