Coly Computer Help

Word Processing with MS Word

Learn to touch type: Typing with all your fingers is perhaps the most important skill. With a few lessons anyone can become reasonably proficient.

Make sure you have mastered the lesson about the names of the keys and what they do. If you don't do this, you will be forever locked into the nursery class.
Click Keyboard and check this over.

Toolbars: You should have a grey menu bar above two rows of Toolbars at the top of the word processor window. If any of these are missing, click View on the grey menu bar. Click Toolbars and make sure the boxes next to Standard and Format are ticked by clicking them if they are empty.

Inserting blank lines: at the end of a line of text, press the Enter key.

Deleting blank lines: Click at the start of the blank line, then tap the Delete key.

Spaces are treated as characters by the computer. You can insert and delete spaces.

Aligning things in columns: I see so many people trying in vain to align columns by tapping the space bar dozens of times; it never works. The Tab key is designed to do the job quickly and accurately in a few key strokes. Each Tab key press is the equivalent of 8 spaces and ensures that items line up neatly in columns.

Principles of modern typographical design: The golden rule is 'make things easy to read'. Use Align Left, NEVER use justified text unless you want people to ignore your article. Align Left looks lively and avoids the unequal spaces between words which are tiring to read because the brain has to keep readjusting to the variations. Try to limit yourself to no more than two fonts in an article. Times Roman is the most modern and the easiest type to read, as it was specifically designed by the editor of the Times for that purpose. Arial now looks old fashioned, not surprising as it was designed in the early 1930's.

Emphasise text by using bold, or a larger point size, or both. DO NOT underline text as this is a throwback to the limitations of the old fashioned mechanical typewriter. Italic text is much harder to read and is used for references only, e.g, the author of book. Put only one space between sentences. Avoid full stops in adverts and notices. Keep sentences short, today's readers will not bother to unravel long rambling sentences especially if they contain sub-clauses. Take the trouble to split lengthy sentences into two or more short ones to keep alive the reader's attention.

Turn on or off automatic formatting of hyperlinks.
On the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect , and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
Under Replace as you type, select or clear the check box labelled Internet and network paths with hyperlinks.

Dates: To quickly enter today's date in a letter. First set up a default date format. Click Insert on the top row menu. Click Date and Time. Make sure English UK is selected. Click your preferred date format. Click the button labelled Default. Click OK. Click Yes on the next window. Having set the default date format, you can in future insert the current date quickly into your letters. Position the cursor on the letter where you want the date to appear, hold down the Shift and Alt keys together, then tap the D key.

Address labels: If you produce sheets of sticky labels using a word processor, you will have created a table for the address data. Always include a column headed 'Choice' in this table, locate it in the column after LastName for convenience. The Choice column enables you to omit labels for selected people in your address list. In the Choice column, type no against the ones you wish to omit from the sheets of labels, then tell the label program to omit labels for all those with no in the Choice column. Make sure you have alphabetically sorted on the last name so that labels can be easily located after printing them.

Reducing the number of pages. Suppose you have typed a page of text and one or two lines spill over on to the next page. To make it all fit on a single page, use one or more of these methods:
(i) Reduce the font size. Place the cursor at the top of the page, hold down the Ctrl key and tap the A key this will select All of the text. Then hold down the Ctrl key and tap the [ key (left square bracket, this key is to the right of the Pkey).

Incidentally Ctrl plus the ] (right square bracket key above the # key) will increase the font size. This works on any selected text.
(ii) Reduce the gaps between paragraphs; select (highlight) each gap, hold down the Ctrl key and tap the [ key until the gap is to your liking.
(iii) Click File-->Page set up and reduce the top, bottom, and right margins.

Formatting text: before you can format any text you must first select that text. Once the text is selected you can change its font, its size, and its colour. Use the buttons on the Format Toolbar to change the format. If you don't know what the buttons do, rest your cursor on a button for a few seconds to see its function.

Format brush. To format a piece of text, say this word chips which is black and in Times New Roman, by copying the format of another bit of text (say fish, which is in blue and a different font). In this example you would select that word fish

The format brushThen click the Format brush button on the Toolbar. Then brush the word 'chips' with the cursor and it will change to chips.

Documents open in small size: If you open a document in Word and it looks rather small, you probably closed the document when it was in 'print preview' mode. Load the document and change it so that it opens full size by pressing the Esc key to revert to normal page mode, then close the document down.

The problem also occurs if, before saving the document, you zoomed to a small size (say 60%) . To solve this: with the document on the screen, zoom it to 100%, then alter a small item on the document before re-saving it.

That dreaded paperclip (Office Assistant)
To get rid of that irritating pest, click Help on the menu in the top row, click Hide the Office Assistant.

Blocks of text with red underlining: if you suddenly see underlined red  text together with vertical black lines in the margin, this means you are now editing a document in the Track changes mode. This mode occurs when you accidentally hit three keys together, Shift + Crtl + E.
Click Help on Word's top menu to discover how to revert to normal mode. In typical Microsoft fashion, the solution is not the same for all versions of Word.

Docx files, can't open them. These files are generated by Word 2007. The simplest way of dealing with this problem is to ask the sender to resend the file as an rtf or a doc file. The other solution is to download a file converter as follows:
First need to update your Word program as follows:- Click this (or enter it into the address bar of Internet Explorer and press Enter) and follow the screen instructions. When that is finished click this (or enter it into the address bar of Internet Explorer and press Enter). When the page appears click the Download button. If a download security warning appears click Save then choose to locate the download in your Downloads folder. Then go to your Downloads folder and double click the new compatibility file which is called FileFormatConverters.exe Ignore any security warning and launch the installation of the converter/compatibility program. Tick the box to accept the license then click Continue. Click OK when it has been installed. You should now be able to open docx files in Word.

Make sure you discover what all the Toolbar buttons do. If you are not sure what the buttons do, rest your cursor on a button for a few seconds to see its function. Type a test document and try using each button on that document until you have discovered all the button functions.

The Undo buttonOh dear! you have just messed up your document. Fear not just click the undo button until all the damage is undone.

Margins: The instructions for MS Word can be adapted for most other word processors.
Click File-->Page Setup . Click the Margins tab and set the margins to more acceptable sizes. Click the Paper Size tab and click the little down arrow and set the paper size to A4 . Then select either Portrait or Landscape.

Default: This means something that the computer does without you having to tell it. For instance when you open a clean new document in MS Word, the margins and font are already set. These are the default settings. You can change the default settings if you wish so that it opens with your preferred margins and fonts. If you are not satisfied with the standard default settings, try this exercise.
In MS Word, load a new blank page. Type any character on the page and select that character. Then click Format-->Font . Click the Fonts tab and set the font to say Times New Roman, Regular & 12 point. Now click the button labelled Default. In the next pop-up panel click Yes to agree to change the Normal file. Click OK.
Now for the margins. Click File-->Page Setup. Click the Margins tab and set the margins to more acceptable sizes. Click the Paper Size tab and click the little down arrow and set the paper size to A4. Then select Portrait. Click the Margins tab again and click the button labelled Default. In the next pop-up panel click Yes to agree to change the Normal (Default) file. Click OK.
New blank pages will now always be set up with your preferred font and margins.

The lesson below provides a typical A5 layout for a magazine. These instructions can be adapted for any page layout once you know where everything can be found on the menus. The instructions for MS Word can be adapted for most other word processors.

To set up a 2 column page for an A5 size magazine (2 pages on a landscape A4 sheet):
With a new page on the screen, click File-->Page Setup. Set the margins to Top 0.6" Bottom 0.4" Left 0.6" and Right 0.63". Set the Paper size to A4 and select Landscape instead of Portrait. Type a few words on the page and select (highlight) them. Click Format and select Columns. Choose two columns, then choose equal column width, and change the spacing between columns to 1.2"   Use File-->Save as... and save the page with the name 'A5 Magazine Format' or something equally informative.
Now try typing a test article. When you reach the bottom of the first column, continue typing to see how the text starts to flow into the second column. Use Save As... to save the article and name it 'My article' (using Save As... leaves the Magazine Format page empty ready for the next article). Print your article and fold it to see how it would look as the centre page of an A5 magazine.

Show/Hide: The Show/Hide button This is a very useful button on the toolbar of a word processor. Click it when you have a document on the screen and you will see all the printing commands which are usually invisible (they do not print). Spaces are shown as bold dots (set higher than a full stop). A reversed 'P' on the page indicates where you pressed the Enter key. Tab marks (for lining up columns) are revealed as arrows.  If you are having problems setting out a document, these marks can reveal the source of the problem. To remove the print commands from the screen just click the button again.

The Caps Lock key: If you accidentally touch the Caps lock key, the result is dEAR sIR instead of Dear Sir. I removed the Caps lock key from my keyboard but try this less drastic solution in MS Word: Select (highlight) the faulty text, then hold down the Shift key and tap the key labelled F3. Repeat Shift + F3 several times and watch the text cycle through various formats.

Microsoft Word shows the last four saved documents when you click File in the topmost grey menu. You can change this to show the last nine saved documents. Click Tools-->Options, click the General tab . Change the Recently used file list to 9 and click OK.

Bullets and Numbered paragraphs. Using automatic numbering or bullets can be frustrating. The best way to include numbers or bullets is to leave them out until you have completed the document. Save the completed document and then insert the numbering and/or bullets using the appropriate buttons on the Toolbar.
For beginners who need to know how to add paragraph numbering or bullets, try this: Select (highlight) the block of text to be numbered or bulleted. Click the Numbering or Bullets button on the Toolbar. In your selected block of text, wherever a new line of text starts, a number or a bullet will appear. To remove numbering or bullets, select the block of text and click the same Toolbar button.
For a wider choice of bullets and numbers. Select your block of text then click Format on the menu bar. Click Bullets and Numbering. Here you can choose from a variety of numbers and bullets.

Selection runs wildly down the page: When selecting a block of text (or several spreadsheet cells), your selection runs wild and rushes to the bottom of the page? To precisely select a block of text (or block of spreadsheet cells) without running wild, click at the beginning of the block, then while holding down the Shift key, move down the page by tapping the Down-arrow key. To see just how precise that selection can be, click the beginning of a block, then, while holding down the Shift key, try tapping each of the four Arrow keys, and the End and Home keys.

Select a line of text: click about 5mm to the left of the line of text.
Select a paragraph:
click about 5mm to the left of the first line of the paragraph. Hold down the left mouse button and drag down to the last line of the paragraph.

Another way of selecting a paragraph: click the first letter in the paragraph and holding down the left mouse button, slide diagonally down to the last letter in the paragraph.
Select a word or words in the middle of a paragraph:
Click just before the first letter of the first word, then hold down the Shift key and tap along to the right with the right arrow key.

To see a full explanation of the various methods of Selecting, click here









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