10 Microsoft Word power tips to blaze through work

Not everything that Microsoft Word 2010 can do is obvious from a quick look at the tools on the main ribbon toolbar. Some features are buried in the Options menu or in dialog boxes, and others take the form of keyboard shortcuts or simply aren’t easy to see.

Would you like to be able to insert a cent symbol or type the accentedé characters in résumé, directly from the ribbontoolbar? How aboutadding your company’s specialized terminology to the built-in Worddictionary? You can have these and other options for working faster andsmarter in Word at your fingertips if you know where to find them andhow to set them up.

1. Create Lines for a Blank Form
When a printed document–such as a form–needs typed or handwritteninformation added to it, you can use tabs to draw the blank lines.Start by typing the text (such as Name:) that prompts the form’s readerto enter information on the blank line that you will draw; then pressthe spacebar, and select the Home tab on the ribbon toolbar.

To set the margin at 6 inches in a letter-size document with 1-inchmargins, for example, type 6″ into the Tab Stop Position box, chooseRight for the Tab Alignment, and choose 2 as the Leader to get a dottedline. The click Set and finally OK.

Back in the document, place the cursor where you want to draw the line;press the Tab key on your keyboard, and a dotted line will appear drawnfrom the blank space all the way to where you set the right tab. PressEnter twice, type the next prompt (such as Address:) and press Tabagain. Every time you do this, a new dotted line will appear. Whenyou’re ready to return to normal editing, press Enter once and thenpress Ctrl-Shift-N to return to Normal paragraph style; and the defaulttabs will immediately reappear.

2. Label Items With SequentialNumbers
Word lets you create elements within documents that appear in numericorder, such as printed coupons or event tickets. You canautomaticallycreate sequentially numbered items by using field codes. First designthe coupons or tickets; and, you can place multiple tickets on a pageinside table cells, if you like.

Click the location where the first ticket number should appear andselect Insert, Quick Parts, Field from the Categories list. Then selectNumbering, and from the list below choose SEQ. Next, click Optionsfollowed by the Field Specific Switches tab. After the letters SEQ inthe Field Codes box, type a bookmark name that only you will see, suchas ticketnumber, followed by a letter space, the marker , anotherletter space, and then the starting ticket number. Thus, to start atthe number 1000, you would use this field code:

SEQ ticketnumber 1000

Click OK twice when you’re done. Starting at the location where thenext number should appear, repeat the process, this time using thisfield code:

SEQ ticketnumber

Click OK twice. The next-larger number (1001) should appear in thedesignated place. Copy this field code and add it everywhere you needan incrementally larger number. You can perform this operation as manytimes as you need to. If the numbering doesn’t automatically increaseincrementally, force it to do so by pressing Ctrl-A to select thedocument and then pressing F9 to update the fields.

At any time, you can change the start number by clicking the firstfield code you added and then pressing Shift-F9 to view the field code.Replace the number 1000 with your new starting number, and then pressShift-F9 again to hide the field code. To update all of the codes toreflect your new starting number, press Ctrl-A followed by F9.

3. Reverse the Page Print Order
If the pages in your document are printed the wrong way around, you canreverse the print order by selecting File,Options, Advanced, and thenscrolling to find the Print group of options (these are different fromand in addition to the Printing Options in the Display settings).Locate and change the setting of the Print Pages in Reverse Ordercheckbox; if it was enabled, disable it, or vice versa. Finish byclicking OK. In the future, documents will print in reverse order,saving you the trouble of having to reorder them. This setting willremain in place the next time you open Word, and it will apply to alldocuments.

4. Save Images as Building Blocks
When you need to add a repeating image (such as a logo) to yourdocuments, you can save it as a building block for easy insertion.

First, insert your image into a document and format it to look the wayyou want it to. Click the image to select it, choose Insert, QuickParts, and then choose Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. Type aname for the image, and select a gallery to add it to (Quick Parts is agood choice); then change the Category setting to General or add a newcategory if you wish. Type a description of the image, and select it tosave it in Building Blocks.dotx, a file that Word automatically createsduring this process. End by clicking OK.

The image will be stored permanently in your building blockscollection, and you can add it to any document by choosing Insert,Quick Parts and clicking to select it from among the items displayedthere.

5. Create One-Click Icons to InsertSymbols
If you repeatedly need to use a particular symbol, such as the centsign or a foreign-language character, you can add it to the ribbon orto the Quick Access Toolbar (which appears in the upper left corner ofWord, with such icons as a disk for Save and an arrow for Undo). Thisstep is a somewhat advanced move that requires you to record a macro.

First, open the Developer tab from the ribbon toolbar, and click Record Macro. Type a name, such as CentsSymbol, and select that name to store it in All Documents ( Click the Button option. Locate the Normal.NewMacros.CentsSymbol (or your macro name) in the panel on the left, and click Add. To choose an image for your symbol, click Modify and then OK.

Because Word records what you’re doing, choose Insert, Symbol, and thenlocate and insert the symbol you desire–in our example it’s the centssymbol. Click Insert and then Close. From the Developer tab on theribbon, select Stop Recording. In the future, to add this symbol toyour document, simply click the new button on the Quick Access Toolbar.

6. Add Words to or Remove Them FromYour Dictionary
Word offers a tool for managing its built-in dictionary, but itrequires you to make changes one word at a time. To find the tool,select File, Options, Proofing, Custom Dictionaries. Next, select thedictionary–it typically appears as custom.dic–and choose Edit WordList. At this point, you can add or remove words one at a time.

If you want to work with the entire list of dictionary words, you cando so by searching for and opening the custom.dic file in any texteditor, such as Notepad or WordPad. You can remove existing words andadd new ones to the list, one word per line. You don’t have to add thenew words in alphabetical order–Word sorts the list automatically. Usecapital letters only if the word is a proper name or if for some otherreason it should always appear with the capital letters in place (as inthe case of an abbreviation like GHz). Avoid adding hyphenated wordsand words containing fancy characters. Save custom.dic as a text file;then close and relaunch Word to start using the updated dictionary.

7. Clean Up Excess Spaces in WebText
When you copy and paste content from a Web page or email message into aWord document, you may find that the text doesn’t appear neatlyleft-aligned in Word. That may happen because spaces you weren’t awareof precede each line of text, or because the original text had a linedown the left side or was pulled from a table. You can strip out thesespaces by selecting the text and pressing Ctrl-E and then Ctrl-L. Thesecommands center the text and then align it to the left, therebyremoving the unwanted spaces.

If the text that you’ve pasted from a website into Word has a line downthe left margin of the page, you can remove that line by choosing theReview tab from the ribbon toolbar and then, from the ‘Accept’drop-down list, selecting Accept All Changes in Document.

To extract text from a table that appears in a Web page so that you canpaste it into Word without table formatting, start by selecting thetable. In the Table Tools, Layout tab, select Convert to Text. Chooseto separate text with Paragraph Markers, and click OK.

8. Choose Your Own Shape for TextBoxes
If you’re creating a pull quote for a newsletter, Word lets you getcreative with the layout. First choose Insert, Text Box to add a textbox to a document to accommodate the pull quote. To change its shape orits color, select the text box and then, from the Drawing Tools, Formattab, select the Edit Shape option you want to use. Then choose ChangeShape and choose any shape to restyle your text box–which isessentially a shape filled with text. You can, for example, change thedouble-bracket text box to a curly double brace or to a callout. Youmay need to resize the text box or the size of the font if the textdoes not fit neatly.

9. Repeat the Last Command With OneClick
One of the handier and lesser-known shortcuts in Microsoft Word is theF4 key on your keyboard. This repeats the last formatting commandyou’ve made. For example, you can delete a line from a document, selectanother line, and then press F4 to repeat this last command and deletethe newly selected line. You can also use F4 to style text: Select somewords and apply a style to them; then select more text and press F4 toapply the same style. In these and many other situations, the F4 keycan help you avoid having to make multiple tedious mouse clicks toapply straightforward formatting or to perform other types ofrepetitive tasks.

10. Use Format Painter to FormatImages
Though historically Word users have employed the Format Painter tool topaste one text format onto another block of text, you can also use itwith shape and picture styles. Select a shape or picture that has aformatting style you like, click Format Painter on the ribbon toolbar’sHome tab, and click on another shape to apply the same format to it.The shape itself won’t change, but the formatting specified in theShape Fill, Shape Outline colors and effects settings–and even theimage border–will be painted on.

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