Microsoft Word Tips – Ten Ideas to Improve Your Word Skills

Word in a very powerful word processing package, but would take even the most accomplished PC user days to learn all its features, time the majority of Word users haven’t got. I have therefore put together a few quick tips to help you improve your Word skills.
The below instructions are applicable to Word 2007.

Formatting text – to format a single word in a sentence, simply left-click on the word, then press the CTRL button plus, for example I for italics, B for bold etc. Right-clicking on the word brings up the Quick Style box where you can change more attributes. To select a sentence, press CTRL and right-click in the sentence, a paragraph, triple-click in the paragraph or to select an entire document, CTRL+A.

Disabling Word’s mini toolbar – although useful for formatting common options with a mouse click, it can interrupt when you want to click and drag text. You can disable the mini toolbar by clicking the Office button, select Options, click Popular in the left column and deselect “Show Mini Toolbar”.

Insert tables – tables are the best way to arrange data in a Word document. Position your cursor where you would like to insert the table in your document, open the Insert ribbon, (the horizontal graphics across the page top), click Table in the Tables section to reveal a grid of boxes on the drop-down menu. Here you can set the number of rows and columns for your table. To customise the table, right-click on the double-headed arrow at the top left table corner. Select Table Properties for advanced table formatting.

Automatically sort data – you alphabetise a list (names, numbers, dates) after you complete it using Word’s Sort feature. Highlight the data you want to sort, click the Sort button in the Paragraph section of the Home ribbon, use the dropdown box to select the type of data selected and choose ascending or descending order.

Change paper size – by default, new documents in Word are set up for letter-sized paper. But, you may want to print on a different size such as A4. It’s easy to change the paper size in Word 2007 by opening the Page Layout ribbon, find the Page Layout section, click Size and select More Paper Sizes.

Setting page margins – the default page side margins of 1¼ inches and top/bottom of 1 inch in Word are suitable for most documents. However, if you need to change the margins to squeeze an extra line or two onto a page, rather than use a second sheet of paper, just click the Page Layout tab and then margins, where you will find extra settings and a custom tab to make your own.

Adding a picture watermark – watermarks are often used to provide document information – to show it’s a copy, a working draft or to embellish the document with an image or logo. Open the Page Layout ribbon, click the Page Background section and click Watermark. Select Custom Watermark on the dropdown menu, then tick Picture Watermark, select Picture, navigate to your photo and select the image you want. You can automatically or manually scale, and select Washout. Then click Apply and OK.

Inserting a caption – sometime you might want to add captions to refer to figures or other items within your document to make it easier for readers to understand content. Select the object, open the References on the main menu and click on Insert Caption in the Captions section. In the Label box, select type in the Position box, specify the placement, and in the Caption box, add any additional information. Then click OK.

Showing the number of words – it can often be useful to know how many words there are in your document. To turn word count on, right-click the Status bar at the bottom of the window and select Word Count. To see the word count for a selection, just highlight the text. For more detailed information such as character count, open the Review ribbon and click Word Count in the Proofing section.

Disabling editing languages – sometimes correctly spelled words are marked as incorrect. This can happen if the editing language has somehow been changed. Click the Office button, select Word Options and click Language Settings on the Popular tab. Then ensure your preferred language is selected under Primary editing language and click Remove for any unwanted languages under Enabled editing languages. Click OK and Word will then only check spelling and grammar for the language you’ve chosen.

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