For this series of articles I’ve decided to pass on some tips for some common Office applications following some Spreadsheet development work I recently undertook for Quesada Laundry Services (http://quesadalaundryservices.com).
I will be looking specifically at Microsoft Word in this article, and Excel next time (there’ll be a bit of homework for Excel which you can use in the 3rd article on doing a mail-merge which makes use of both Word and Excel). If you use OpenOffice the tips should also work in Writer and Sheets though you might have to dig around for the equivalent options.
Microsoft Word - It’s all in a style
When you are typing something in your word processor (such as MS Word) quite often you might want to apply a certain style to some text such as underlining, bolding, changing the colour or even a combination of all of those. When using a combination of styles to achieve the same effect on different bits of your text it can become a little tiresome to keep pressing bold, underline, colour – there are actually a couple of things you can do.
- Enter Format Painter – highlight the text that already has the styles, click the paintbrush icon and then highlight the new text – it’s rather like dipping your brush in a can of striped paint!
- If it was only say bolding you had done, the quickest way to repeat that action on new text is to highlight the text and press the F4 key (this only works for the last action but does save you moving your mouse up to the top and then selecting the formatting option!)
Many word processing novices make the mistake of setting text a little bigger, bolding and underlining for titles and headings. One good reason you ought not to do this is if you are writing a long multi page document you might want a table of contents. Word can generate this automatically for you only if you help it by using built in styles for Headings (a little further along the same tool bar as in the previous illustration (Home) you will also see some pre-defined styles – make use of the headings for, well headings and for normal text – you guessed it ‘normal’.
And of course, if you have a multipage document you’ll want to keep the pages in order with page numbers – again, you shouldn’t type the page numbers in manually yourself – let the word processor take care of it for you. It’s easy; in Word simply go to the Insert tab/menu, look for the page number option and select a style from the bottom of page (or top of page).
Another handy thing for the budding autobiography writers amongst you, is if you’ve followed the previous tip on headings, you can navigate up and down the document using the document map (used to be called this on previous versions of Word) which should have appeared to the left of your text simply by clicking on the headings shown – no need for scrolling and searching. If it isn’t there, simply find the View tab and select Navigation Pane tick box.
And to wrap it up...
Word processors were only ever designed with, well, words in mind, however, we can add images but they tend not to play nicely with the layout of the text – to be honest if you want to mix a lot of images and text you’d be much better off using a desktop publishing application (Microsoft Publisher is just one example). However, for the sake of ease, you need to use the wrapping options on the image to get it to start to play nicely with your text.
You will find the options you need by clicking on the format tab which you will see once you have your image selected - it will be underneath where it says Picture tools.
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