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M$ Word Tips and Tricks

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Copy formatting to more than one block of text

To copy the formatting from the current word or paragraph, click the Format Painter button on the Standard toolbar and then select the word or block of text to which you want to apply that formatting. To copy the same formatting to more than one block of text, double-click on the Format Painter. Then you can apply the formatting to several different blocks of text. To turn off the Format Painter, just click it or press [Esc].

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Copy that format

When beginning users discover Word's abundant formatting options, they layer on the options until they've crafted the perfect paragraph. Then two questions arise: How do I save this style for future use, and how do I apply it to existing paragraphs?

To save settings quickly, select the paragraph, then click in the Formatting toolbar's Style field, type the new style name, and press [Enter] to save the style. Later, you can go to Format | Style and modify the new style if you need to.

Here are three ways to copy or apply that style to another paragraph.

• Select the text to be reformatted, and then select the appropriate style name from the Formatting toolbar's Style list.

• Select the text that contains the formatting you want to copy, click on the Standard toolbar's Format Painter, and then click-and-drag to select the text you want to format.

• For users who prefer the keyboard to the mouse, select the text that contains the formatting you want to copy, and then press [Ctrl][shift]C. Next, select the text you want to format and press [Ctrl][shift]V.

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Copying styles

Word 2000 makes it easy to create a custom named style. But what if you want to make that custom style available in all new documents? To do so, you must open the document that contains the custom style and use the Organizer tool to copy the style to Normal.dot.

There are a couple of ways to get to the Organizer:

• Go to Format | Style and click the Organizer button.

• Go to Tools | Templates And Add-Ins and click the Organizer button.

When you reach the Organizer dialog box, click the Styles tab and you'll see the word "In" followed by the name of the current document. Scroll down the list until you locate the style you want to copy and click to select it. Then click the Copy button, and Word will copy that style to the Normal.dot template. Click Close to save this change.

The next time you create a new document based on the Normal.dot template, the style you copied will appear in the list of styles.

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Correct comma use

Are your user’s sticklers about using correct grammar and punctuation in the documents they write or edit? If so, they've probably learned (and informed you) that Word's built-in grammar checker doesn't always catch the punctuation errors that users find themselves.

There's only one way to be absolutely, positively sure that documents don't contain extraneous commas, and that's by reviewing every comma in the document. Here's how.

Press [Ctrl]H to open the Find And Replace dialog box. In the Find What field, type a comma, leave the Replace With field blank, and click the Find Next button. When Word locates the first occurrence, inspect the text to make sure you've used the comma correctly.

If you decide that the comma is extraneous, click the Replace button. Word will replace that comma with "nothing" and search for the next comma in the document. If you determine that you've used the comma correctly, click the Find Next button, and continue your review.

That process helps you identify superfluous commas. Missing commas, on the other hand, are another story. Your users will have to proofread their text the old-fashioned way to locate places where commas are necessary.

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Create a desktop shortcut to a document

To create a document shortcut, first highlight some text to serve as a target in the document and click the Copy button. Next, minimize the Word window or drag it out of the way so you can see the Windows desktop. Then, right-click on the desktop and choose Paste Shortcut. You'll probably want to change the shortcut name to something more meaningful. To do this, click on the shortcut to select it and then press [F2] to activate the label for editing. Type the desired name and press [Enter]. Close your document, clicking Yes to save your changes. You can even exit Word, if you want. Then simply double-click on the desktop shortcut. Word will open the associated document, navigate to your target text, and select it.

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Create a custom Auto Fill list

The Auto Fill feature can make it easy to enter any data series that frequently appears in your spreadsheets. All you need to do is add the series to Auto Fill's built-in lists.

For example, if you report most operations by sales region (e.g., North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, etc.), you can create a custom fill series for those regions. Follow these steps:

1. Select a column or row that contains the names of the sales regions.

2. Go to Tools | Options.

3. On the Custom Lists tab, you'll see the selected range displayed in the Import List From Cells text box. Click Import, and click OK.

Users can now enter all regions by typing one region and using the Auto Fill feature.

You can also use the Custom Lists dialog box to make entries to a new list. Follow these steps:

1. On the Custom Lists tab of the Options dialog box, select New List.

2. Type each item in the List Entries text box, and press [Enter].

3. After you've entered the entire list, click Add, and click OK.

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Create and print a booklet

Word XP makes it easy to create and print a booklet. With just a few clicks of the mouse, Word does the page layout for you; you just have to give Word the number of pages and add the text and graphics.

Follow these steps to create an eight-page booklet that reads from left to right:

1. Open a blank Word document, click File | Page Setup, and click the Margins tab.

2. In the Multiple Pages drop-down list, choose Book Fold. Word will change the document layout to landscape mode and the page size to 8 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.

3. In the Sheets Per Booklet drop-down list, select 8.

4. Change the inside and outside margins of each booklet page as desired, set the gutter size to accommodate the booklet binding, and click OK.

Enter text, graphics, headers, and footers. When completed, follow these steps to print the booklet:

1. Select File | Print.

2. Set your printer for printing on both sides of the paper. For nonduplex printers, select the Manual Duplex check box. For duplex printers, click the Properties button and choose the proper settings for your printer.

3. Click Print.

Nonduplex printers will print the front side of each sheet in your booklet and then prompt you to reinsert those sheets to print on the back of each.

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Create easy calendars

A calendar is the kind of document that's always in demand. You see calendars in cafeterias, on bulletin boards, and on walls in offices and cubicles; they help us remember important events. If you've put off creating your own calendar in Word for fear of getting bogged down with drawing the table, fear no more. All flavors of Word come with a built-in Calendar Wizard you can use to generate a calendar in just a few mouse clicks.

To try it, go to File | New, click the Other Documents tab, and double-click the Calendar Wizard. When you do, the wizard will prompt you through a series of decisions about how to customize your calendar. If you're in a hurry, you can launch the wizard and click Finish immediately to accept the wizard's default settings. Word then generates a calendar for the current month, based on the current system date.

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Custom date tips

Do you create or maintain documents that are published or distributed on a monthly basis? If so, you probably stamp those documents with the current month and/or year. That way, people who review the document know which monthly report they're reading.

Instead of stamping your reports manually, create a template document for your monthly report and insert a custom date field that displays the current month or the month and year. You can update the field each month by selecting it and pressing [F9], or you can update fields when you print your document. To update fields when printing, go to File | Print | Options, activate the checkbox for Update Fields, and click OK.

Follow these steps to insert a custom date field:

1. Move the cursor to where you want the date to appear.

2. Go to Insert | Field.

3. In the Categories list, select Date And Time.

4. In the Field Names list, select Date.

5. Click the Options button.

6. Select the format you want to use, and then click the Add To Field button.

To get a month-year combination, the option MMMM yy returns the full month's name and a two-digit year. The option MMM-yy returns the abbreviation for the month, a hyphen, and a two-digit year.

What if you only want the full name of the month? Complete steps 1 through 4 above, then manually edit the field code so that it looks like this:

DATE \@ "MMMM"

Next, press [Enter] or click OK. The resulting field displays only the month name. To update this field for next month's report, simply select it and press [F9].

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Customize e-mail formats

Many Exchange/Outlook shops encourage users to use Word as their default e-mail editor. That way, users stay in Word when they e-mail an attachment or when they create or respond to e-mail messages. Word's e-mail signature and stationery options let users customize the formatting and style of their e-mail messages.

To view your options in Word 2000, go to Tools | Options | General and click E-mail Options. Click the E-mail Signature tab to create and name multiple custom signatures. Those signatures can include your name, job title, and contact information. You also can specify one default signature for new messages and another signature for replies or forwarded messages.

Click the Personal Stationery tab to create custom backgrounds for your e-mail messages. Click Theme to display a list of several dozen predefined themes. To see a preview of the theme, click the name. Depending on the theme you select, you can also specify which font you would like to use in new or forwarded messages and replies.

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Customize grammar checks

Most Word users know how to customize the spell-checking utility's behavior. But when it comes to proofreading grammar for common errors, many Word users don't take advantage of the grammar-checking tool.

When you launch Spelling And Grammar, Word assumes you want to check spelling. You have to opt-in to use the grammar-checking tool: Go to Tools | Options and click the Spelling & Grammar tab. Select the Check Grammar With Spelling option.

To take full advantage of the Check Grammar tool, click Options. In the Grammar section, click the Writing Style drop-down list and choose Casual, Standard, Formal, Technical, or Custom. To fine-tune the settings for any given style, click Settings. There you can tell Word what kinds of punctuation, grammar, and style usages to flag when you run a spelling and grammar check.

For instance, if your document contains an unusually high number of capitalized words, you may want to turn off the grammar check for capitalization. If your publisher requires that you always use the same number of spaces between paragraphs, you can tell Word to flag all instances where there are too few or too many spaces.

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Customizing columns

Word 2000 and 2002 make it easier than ever to format columnar text. To divide your text into columns, go to Format | Columns to display the Columns dialog box.

In the Presets section, you'll notice a couple of particularly useful options: Left and Right. When you select one of those options, by default, Word creates two columns, making either the column on the left or the right twice as wide as the other column. If you increase the number of columns, Word will slightly decrease the width of the wider column and increase the number of narrow columns.

With the Columns dialog box, you can set up a maximum of 12 columns, unless you've selected the Left and Right options. These options permit a maximum of eight columns per page.

If you'd like to customize your columns further, print vertical lines between the columns to make the columnar text easier to read. To add those lines, just click the check box for the Line Between option in the Columns dialog box.

Use the Width And Spacing section to tweak Word's settings for column and spacing widths. If you change your mind, you can reset the columns to their default widths by clicking the Equal Column Width check box.

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Dates on demand

Do you frequently insert the current date and/or time into your documents? If so, Word offers a number of timesaving shortcuts for this.

To insert a date field, press [Alt][shift]D. Doing so enters a date field, the appearance of which is determined by the current default date/time format. Should you decide to update that field to reflect a future date, select the field and press [F9], or right-click on the field and choose Update Field from the context menu.

To change the default date/time format, go to Insert | Date And Time, select a format, and then click the Default button. When you do, Word will ask you to confirm that you want to set a new default format. Click OK, and then click OK to close the Date And Time dialog box. Now, when you press [Alt][shift]D, Word will display the date field using the new format. To enter a field that displays the time as well as the date, press [Alt][shift]T.

In addition to changing the default date/time format, you can enter the system date or time by going to Insert | Date And Time and choosing a format. This approach inserts, by default, a literal date or time string instead of a date field. To enter a date field using the Date And Time dialog box, activate the Update Automatically option before you click OK.

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Decorative lines

A horizontal line is one way to separate a section of your document from another. To create such a line, you can use the time-honored method of typing three asterisks, three dashes, three tildes, or three underscores in a row and pressing [Enter]. Unless you've disabled the Autoformat feature, Word will replace each of these character sequences with a margin-to-margin line. For a custom line, you can use the Drawing toolbar's Line tool.

With Word 2000, there are some snazzy new options for horizontal lines. To explore them, go to Format | Borders And Shading. Under all three of the tabs, you'll see the Horizontal Line button. To display the Horizontal Line dialog box, click the button and choose the Pictures tab. With a standard Office 2000 installation, you should see 60 standard line styles.

To install horizontal lines from the dialog box, select one and click the Insert Clip option. When the line is placed in your document, you can click it to move, resize, or customize its appearance. Right-click the document and choose Format Horizontal Line from the context menu to adjust the size, position, and color of this custom line.

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Display built-in styles

When you create a document, Word starts you out with five basic styles. If you need to apply a more specialized style, hold down [shift] and click on the arrow beside the Style box. Word will expand the Style list to include all its built-in styles. Just select the one you need and Word will apply that style and add it to your document.

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Display Formatting Marks

To get a better understanding of the structure of a document, display the formatting marks. This comes in handy if you want to distinguish between spaces and tabs, or return and line break characters. From the Tools menu, choose Options, then click the View tab. Under Formatting marks, select the check boxes next to the characters you want to display. To display all formatting marks, select the All check box instead of selecting each individual check box. You can also turn the All option on or off by clicking Show/Hide button on the tool bar.

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Edit Word’s Custom Dictionary

Word caches the custom dictionary. If you edit it outside of Word, your edits are wiped out by the cached data. Here are the correct steps to edit the custom dictionary:

Select Options... from the Tools menu.

Click the Spelling and Grammar tab.

Click the Dictionaries... button.

Select CUSTOM.DIC and click Edit.

Note the warning: Word turns off automatic spell-checking when you edit the dictionary, and you must turn it on again afterward.

Make your edits, and then close the Custom.dic file.

Select Options... from the Tools menu.

Click the Spelling and Grammar tab.

Put a check next to Check spelling as you type.

Click OK.

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Effortless AutoText

Save time by inserting AutoText automatically. Type an entry name and press [F3]. Or take advantage of Word's AutoComplete feature. Just open the Tools menu, select AutoCorrect, click the AutoText tab, and turn on the Show AutoComplete Tip For AutoText And Dates option. With this feature active, Word will show a ScreenTip after you begin typing an AutoText item. Just press [Enter] and Word will insert the item for you. (This feature works the same way with dates and days of the week.)

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Expand your vocabulary

Word has a built-in thesaurus. Press [shift][F7] or open the Tools menu, select Language, and then Thesaurus. Word will display a list of synonyms for the word you've selected or the word closest to the cursor.

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Fancy Web designs

Word makes it easy to create eye-catching Web page designs. All you have to do is tap into the family of built-in themes.

To see what options for Web page themes are available, open a new document and go to Format | Theme. When the Theme dialog box opens, click on the items listed under Choose A Theme to preview that theme. (If a theme is unavailable for preview, click the Install button to add it.)

When you find a theme you like, click OK and Word will apply that theme to the current document. To view styles that are specific to the theme you selected and to apply those styles to new or existing document text, click on the Style drop-down list. When you're ready to save your Web page, just go to File | Save As and select Web Page from the Save As Type drop-down list. Then, use your browser to point to the resulting .htm file to make sure it looks the way you expected it would.

Activating one of Word's built-in themes is a great way to break up the visual monotony if you're bored with editing your documents in black text on a white background.

Just remember, though, the themes are for onscreen viewing only. If you print the Web page document you'll get unformatted text.

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Find Documents by Using Keywords and Summary Information

To search for documents using Word's search features, select File, Open, then click the Tools button and select Find. The Find Files That Match These Criteria box at the top of the window contains a list of what Word will be looking for. You enter the search criteria at the bottom, where it says Define More Criteria. If you have entered information in the Document Properties box, Word will search that, too. For example, if you've been giving your Word documents keywords in the Keywords box, you can search for these by selecting Keywords in the Property drop-down menu and entering the keyword itself in the Value box. When you've selected a set of search criteria, click Add To List. To perform the search, click Find Now.

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Find synonyms easily

In Word 9x, users searching for synonyms were limited to using the Thesaurus, which could often be confusing and didn't work very well for phrases. Word 2000 introduced a simpler way to find synonyms. So now when you know what you want to say but can't think of the word, you can let Word find it for you.

For example, to find a substitute for a word, follow these steps:

1. Right-click the word you want to change.

2. Highlight Synonyms, and select the word you want to use.

3. If none of the words are acceptable, select Thesaurus to perform a manual search.

You can also find synonyms for phrases. For example, to find a substitute for "state of mind," select the phrase, right-click the selection, and follow Steps 2 and 3.

Be aware that if the word you wish to replace is flagged for a spelling or grammatical error, you must resolve that error before the Synonyms option will appear in the shortcut menu.

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Fine-tune blank lines

If you're trying to squeeze extra text on a page, you don't have to open the Format menu. You can fine-tune the vertical space a blank line occupies between lines of text. Select the paragraph mark in the blank line and use the [Ctrl]] (Grow Font) or [Ctrl][ (Shrink Font) shortcuts to increase or decrease the size of the paragraph mark, thereby increasing or decreasing the height of the blank line.

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Fine-tune images

If you use Word to create newsletters, marketing copy, or other print documents that include images, there's one picture-editing tool that can make the difference between publishing an image that works and one that merely takes up space: the Crop tool. For instance, instead of publishing an image that shows a very small person in the middle of a lot of wasted space, you can use the Crop tool to zoom in on the important part of the image.

You can demonstrate how this tool works by copying any graphic image from a Web page and pasting it into your Word document, or insert an image from the clip art gallery by going to Insert | Picture | Clip Art.

Next, click on the object. If the Picture toolbar doesn't automatically appear, go to View | Toolbars | Picture to display it. Now, float the mouse over one of the square sizing handles on the image's corners. By default, clicking on one of those handles and dragging it inward shrinks the entire image.

To tighten the image by eliminating wasted space, find the Crop tool (the icon that looks like an upside-down letter "V" superimposed onto another "V") and click on it once. When you do, a copy of the Crop tool icon will appear under your mouse.

With the Crop tool, when you click on one of the sizing handles and drag inward, the picture shrinks, temporarily erasing that part of the image. The Crop handle also lets you expand the image and redisplay any sections you previously cropped.

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Follow the leaders

Here's a pop quiz: Do you know what a tab leader is? Do you know how to create one? If you answered no to either question, here's a crash course. Tab leaders come in handy when you're designing a document that contains columnar information, like a menu, a list of products and prices, a table of contents, an invoice, etc. They add a professional look to your document and help readers connect information in one column with information in another.

To create a tab leader, open the Tabs dialog box by either going to Format | Tabs or by double-clicking on or below the rule markers on the Ruler. (Note: If you double-click in the white space above the rule markers on the Ruler, you'll display the Page Setup dialog box instead.) Set your tab stop position as you normally would, but then take a look at the section labeled Leader. In the Leader section, activate one of the tab leader line options: Dotted, Dashed, or Solid.

Now when you press [Tab], Word will pave the way to the next tab stop with a dotted, dashed, or solid line, making it easy for readers to find their way from column to column.

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