Microsoft Word

Word is a wonderful, powerful and useful application for writing documents. Few people know of or use more than a small percentage of its tools. Here are a few tips that you may find useful and may not know about:

There is a row of icons on top. They are shortcuts to frequently used functions. Get to know them.  Versions 2007 and later have a different set of icons and there are several tabs, each with its own set of icons.

Use the clipboard.

The paint brush is a format painter. You can copy all the formatting of some segment in your document to another part. Select the text whose format you wish to replicate using your mouse. Click on the paintbrush. Select the text you want to look the same. If you double-click the paintbrush, the format painter can then be used in multiple places, but you must remember to click the paintbrush again to stop it.

The best way to use Word is to type the text, THEN format for look and emphasis. Don’t hesitate to use colour, bold, italics, different type faces and font sizes. Smaller paragraphs are better than bigger ones. If it is a multiple page document use page numbering.

Use Save As under File for the first save. Make sure it will be saved in the folder you want it to be in. Name the file so that 2 years from now you or someone else will have an idea of what it is about. You can use spaces and most special characters in a file name. You may even want to put a date in the file name. Do not use all upper case letters. That feels like the writer is screaming at the reader.

1.25” left and right margins are default settings. Do not change them. Decreasing these margins makes your document harder to read.

You can embed pictures and graphics in your document. Take the time to learn how to do this.

Save your document often – say every 5 minutes or less.

You can move text around in your document. Just highlight the text to be moved and then use your mouse to drag it to where you want it to be.

Sometimes when you make a spelling error, Word will automatically correct it. If you see a squiggly red line, it means that Word does not have that word in its dictionary. If you right-click on that spot, it may make suggestions. If you are certain it is correct, you can add it to your dictionary in that menu. If you see a squiggly green line, it means Word thinks there is a grammatical or punctuation error.

2007 and later versions changed the file structure of the files you save.  If you give those to others who happen to have earlier versions, they may not be able to open them.  You can selectively change the format to an earlier one when you do the save as.  You can also change the default to the earlier version.  That is what I do to avoid problems for recipients.