Microsoft Word is undoubtedly among the most used pieces of software on the planet. It’s the go-to word processor for businesses, schools, governments and most home users.
Microsoft Word is undoubtedly among the most used pieces of software on the planet. It’s the go-to word processor for businesses, schools, governments and most home users. You wouldn’t think that a word processor could be complex, but there are actually a lot of ways to manipulate a document, and Word has grown over the years from a fairly simple tool into a comprehensive program that can be used to create nifty materials like the .
PDF guide you’re reading right now. I thought that I knew everything there was to know about Word when I began composing this guide, but as it turns out I was wrong. I mostly use Word for writing, but there’s more to the software than that.
Making Repetitive Tasks Quicker
Word documents aren’t always unique – in fact, I’d bet that most of the content created with Word is in some way a repetition of content that’s already been created before. That may sound odd, but think about it. Businesses use Word constantly, and businesses put out a lot of documentation with repetitive information like the business’s address, the names of employees, and so on.
If you’re in a situation like this you can make life easier by creating a Quick Part. Select whatever text or content you plan on frequently using and then go to the Insert tab. Find the Quick Parts button and click on it to call a drop-down menu. Now, click on Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery. A window will open prompting you to enter the name of the quick part. You might want to create a new category for it if you intend to have many different quick-parts, but you shouldn’t have much reason to change the Save In and Options categories.
Now that you’ve made a Quick Part, you can enter it by clicking the Quick Parts button and then selecting it from the drop-down menu. Doing this for common information, such as a business address, can save a lot of time and effort.
Learning to Use Building Blocks – Continued
The Quick Part you created is part of a larger category of Microsoft Word tools known as Building Blocks. A Building Block is any type of saved content that is not a document, but rather a portion of a document – and it’s not saved on its own, but in the Word interface. Once saved, you can call upon that Building Block again. In this way you can use very complex design elements in numerous documents without spending ages trying to correctly format them. We’ve already talked about how to make a Quick Part, which is one type of Building Block, but it’s not the only type. You can apply Building Blocks to Headers and Footers, after which they can be selected and automatically added to one or all of the pages of a document. For example, let’s say I want to create a header for my business. I type the following.
To all of you document ninjas out there – I didn’t say it was a GOOD header. It’s just a header for example purposes, of course! As the chief of advertising for Acme Services, I want to save this header so that I can use it in the future.
That’s no problem. I just select, click on the Header button in the Insert tab to call the drop-down menu, and then click Save Selection to Header Gallery. Just as with the Quick Part made in the earlier example, my custom header now appears whenever I click on the Header button.
If you think that the process for creating a custom footer is the same, pat yourself on the back. It most certainly is! There are also two other buttons on the Insert tab that provide the same functionality; the Equation button and the Cover Page button. Of course, as you become familiar with Building Blocks and begin to use them more frequently you may end up needing to rearrange, delete, or change some of the Building Blocks you have available. You can access the Building Blocks Organizer by clicking on Quick Parts and then clicking the Building Blocks Organizer menu selection. Or, if you’d like, you can use the instructions in the Chapter 2 section “Customizing the Ribbon” to add the Building Blocks Organizer as a button to your Insert tab.
The organizer itself is extremely basic, so I’ll explain it quickly. The organizer window consists of a list of Building Blocks on the left and a preview pane on the right. The Edit Properties button will bring up the menu that you used to add the Building Block so you can change the category and so on. As you might expect, the Insert button places the Building Block in your document and the Delete button makes the Building Block vanish from your sight!
Enjoying Word’s Improved Document Search
Document search has always been part of Office, but it’s not always been easy to use. It used to be its own menu that opened up and requested that you typed what you were looking for. Then you’d basically go through the document, one instance of the word or phrase at a time. It worked, but it was slow and confusing.
Microsoft has smartened up with Office 2010 and modeled the search function to be more like an online search engine. That means context. When you open search (the shortcut is still Ctrl-F) a sidebar expands on the left side of the screen, and you can type in what you’re looking for. However, you are now provided with a short text excerpt from your document, which provides context for what you’re trying to find. When you’ve located what you were looking for you can click on the corresponding preview in the sidebar to be taken directly there.
This new search feature is much quicker than what was offered before, but you can still access the older menu by clicking on the arrow besides the search magnifying glass. This will present a drop-down menu that includes Advanced Find and Find and Replace, both of which open a menu similar to the older search function. You can also navigate directly to a specific page or other document element by using the Go To function. Finally, you can search for graphics, tables, and equations by selecting these options from the drop-down menu.
.Doc and .Docx Compatibility
Before moving on to Excel, I wanted to add a brief note about the difference between .doc, Microsoft’s older document format, and .docx, the new format. Microsoft switched to .docx in Office 2007, but the change was significant and still causes users some confusion when they’re coming from older versions of Microsoft Office. The new .docx format is now the standard for Microsoft Word. All versions of Microsoft Word after Office 2007 will be using this format.
However, all earlier variants of Microsoft Word are unable to open .docx. You can fix this by downloading an Office compatibility pack. However, you will lose some of the features available in Office 2007 in above. For example, Bibliography and Citation text is converted to standard, static text. A full list of the features lost when opening a .docx file in an older version of Word is available from Microsoft.