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Definition: MSW abc's

This tutorial is for newcomers to Microsoft Word and will provide the essentials for working with Word documents. Keep this on screen while you work with Word, and press Alt-Tab to jump back and forth between both applications. If your screen is large enough, you can size both windows so they appear on screen at the same time. For more information on Windows basics, see Win abc's, Win10 abc's and Win8 abc's.

Also, if you don't understand a term used in any of these explanations, just look it up. Everything is in the Encyclopedia.

All the individual subjects in this tutorial are replicated under their own topic names with an MSW prefix. You can always go back and review a topic without having to search for it in this entry. For example, if you want to review how to set margins, you would look up "MSW Margins."

Word 2000 Users
All the screenshots in this tutorial come from Word 97 unless otherwise noted. There are only the slightest differences between Word 97 and Word 2000 for the examples provided in this tutorial. In Word 2000, there may be more icons on the toolbar or more options in a menu, but the essential functions you are learning here are the same.

Create a Document
To create a Word document, click the Start button on the Windows Taskbar, choose Programs and Microsoft Word from the submenu.

Word opens to a blank document which has preset margins and font styles. A new Word document is named Document1 until it is saved and renamed. If additional documents are created before you exit Word, they will be named Document2, Document3 and so on.

Create Another Document
To create another document, select the File menu and then New (File/New). Word will ask you which "template" you want to use. A template serves as a master style sheet that contains preset margins and tabs (and other layout settings) which are applied to the new document when it is created. The Blank Document is the most commonly used template and is the default when you start Word.

Button/Keyboard Tip!
Click this button on the Word toolbar to create a new document. Or, press Ctrl-N on the keyboard.

Working with Fonts
A font is a set of type characters of a particular typeface design and size. Usually, each typeface (Times Roman, Arial, etc.) is made available in four variations: normal weight, bold, italic and bold italic. The default font in Word is Times New Roman, 10 point.

Any of the available fonts may be selected as the default font. To do so, select Format/Font. Choose the preferred options and click Default. From now on until you change it, each time a new document is opened, the default font will be the one you just selected.

Change Fonts for Part of the Document
To change a portion of text within a document, highlight the text, and click the down arrow next to the Font Name on the Word toolbar. Scroll through the list and select another font. To save you time scrolling through the list, the font list puts your often-used fonts at the top. For example, if one of your fonts were Verdana, it can be selected from the top of the list instead of having to scroll down to the V's.

If you have not highlighted text before, just point the mouse to the beginning of the text, press the left mouse button down, and while holding the button down, move the mouse to the end of the text. Then let go of the button. You can move diagonally over the section to highlight a rectangular area.

Change Font Size
To change font size, highlight the text to be changed, and click the down arrow next to the Font Size on the Word toolbar.

Bold - Italic - Underline
To change existing text to bold, italic or underline, highlight the text and click the B, I or U buttons on the Word toolbar. To type in new text with a different format, switch to the new style by clicking B, I or U. To switch back to normal, click B, I or U when you are finished typing.

Keyboard Tip!
Press Ctrl-B, Ctrl-I or Ctrl-U for bold, italic and underline.

The Ruler Line
At the top of the document is a set of ruler markings that show the margins and tabs that are set in the document. You also use the ruler to set tabs and margins.

Can't See the Ruler?
If the ruler is hidden, bring it into view by selecting View/Ruler.

Setting Margins
Margins are invisible lines that keep text away from the edges of the page. There are preset margins at the top, bottom, left and right. The margins at the top and bottom allow room for headers and footers.

Change Margins for the Whole Document
To change Margins for the entire document, choose File/Page Setup and change the numbers. Be sure that Whole Document is selected in the Apply To box. As soon as you make a change, the effect can be seen in the Preview area.

To change the default margins for all your documents, select File/Page Setup, set your margins and click Default. Word will now apply your new margin settings to all the documents created with that same template.

Drag the Margin Markers
To change margins, you can also highlight your text and drag the margin markers on the ruler just like you do on an electric typewriter. There is an up-arrow marker for the right margin, but there are two arrows for the left margin. The down-arrow marker is for the first line of the paragraph, and the up-arrow is for the rest of the paragraph. They move independently so you can create an indent for the first line that is either in or out. When the first line extends farther to the left than the body of the paragraph, it is called a "hanging indent" or "hanging paragraph" as in the example below.

Hanging Indent
The hanging indent in this example is created by moving the down-arrow farther over to the left than the up-arrow.

Change Margins for a Section of Text
To change margins for a section of the document, highlight the text, and drag the margin markers to the new location.

Centering and Justification
Word automatically aligns text to the left margin with a ragged right margin, which is the most common style. To change the alignment, highlight the text to be changed and click the left, center, right or justified buttons, which are located next to the B, I and U buttons on the Word toolbar.

To type text with a different alignment, click the appropriate alignment button before you start typing. Justification means both left and right margins are straight like a newspaper column.

Tab Stops
A tab stop is used in a document to line up columns. When you press the Tab key on the keyboard, the screen cursor moves to the next tab stop on the line. Tab stops are pre-set in Word for every half inch.

There are four types of tabs, but the most commonly used are left aligned and decimal. Use the left tab to line up columns of names, and use the decimal tab to line up columns of numbers.

The Four Tab Types
Note the symbol on the left side of each example.

Setting Tabs
To set a tab, be sure the tab symbol on the left side of the ruler is set to the type you want. If not, click the symbol until the type you want is visible. Then, click the ruler where you want the tab to go. The tab stop symbol will be displayed on the ruler. After placing the tab stop on the ruler, you can move it by dragging it to a new location.

Quick Tip!
Note that the default tab stops in the Blank Document template, which are set every half inch, do not show up on the ruler. However, when you set your own tab stop, all the tabs are removed from the start of the line up to that point.

Save, Close and Exit
Saving your document transfers everything on screen to the hard disk so you can retrieve it later. To save a document, select File/Save. Closing your document does the same thing but also removes the document from the screen. When you are finished with the document, select File/Close.

Save As
The Save As function is very useful for making copies of the same document with different names or saving your document with the same name in different folders. The difference between Save As and Save is that Save As prompts you for a file name, whereas Save just writes the contents of your screen to the same file.

Quitting Word
To quit Word, select File/Exit. If you made changes without saving, Word will prompt you to save the changes.

All File Management from the File Menu
Save, Save As, Close and Exit are all options in the File menu.

Button/Keyboard Tip!
Click this button on the Word toolbar to save your document. Or, press Ctrl-S on the keyboard.

The Default Folder
Word defaults to saving your new document in the My Documents folder. You can override that by selecting another folder. If you are unfamiliar with file and folder organization, see Win Folder organization.

Word also makes up a new name for your file by taking the first characters of text in the document. You can override this by typing directly on top of the suggested name.

Open a Document
To open a Word document, select File/Open. Select the folder the document was saved in, and click on the document to open it.

Quick Tip!
If the document was one of the last 15 documents opened, click the Start Menu in the Taskbar, choose Documents and select the document by name.

Button/Keyboard Tip!
Click this button on the Word toolbar to open a document. Or, press Ctrl-O on the keyboard.

Cut - Copy - Paste
Text can be moved around easily in Word. To move a sentence or section of text to a different location in a document, highlight the text and select Edit/Cut, then go to the new location and select Edit/Paste. To copy a selection, select Edit/Copy instead of Edit/Cut.

The Word 97 Clipboard Is Monogamous
When text is cut in Word 97, it is removed from the original location and placed temporarily in the clipboard, but the clipboard holds only one selection. When you cut or copy the next time, the new selection is placed into the clipboard, and the previous selection is lost. So when you cut something from your document, be sure to paste it somewhere before you cut or copy again. But, you can paste the same selection into as many places or as many documents as you wish as long as you do not cut or copy something else.

The Word 2000 Clipboard Holds 12 Selections
Word 2000 can hold up to 12 selections that have been cut or copied. The only unfortunate thing is that you have to remember the sequence. When you cut or copy something in Word 2000, the following clipboard dialog box will be displayed.

Word 2000 Clipboard
Each time you cut or copy something, a document icon is added to this clipboard dialog. To paste a selection, click the appropriate icon, but you have to remember which is which.

Word 2000 Clipboard Options
You can paste the entire sequence of selections into your document by clicking the Paste All button. To clear the entire clipboard, click the Delete All button.

Quick Tip!
Use the right mouse button. After highlighting the text, click the right mouse button and select Copy, Cut or Paste from the menu that appears.

Button/Keyboard Tip!
Click these buttons on the Word toolbar to cut, copy and paste. Or, press Ctrl-X (cut), Ctrl-C (copy) and Ctrl-V (paste) on the keyboard.

Word lets you reverse the actions you take. To undo the last thing you did, choose Edit/Undo. To Undo several actions, click on the Undo list button on the Word toolbar and click as far down the list as you want to go. All the actions will be undone to that point.

Button/Keyboard Tip!
Click this button on the Word toolbar to undo your last action. Or, press Ctrl-Z on the keyboard.

Page breaks
When a page is filled with text or images, Word adds a new page to the document. To start a new page before the page would break automatically, place the cursor at the desired location on the page and select Insert/Break, then click Page Break.

Keyboard Tip!
Press Ctrl-Enter to break the page.

Page Numbers
To add page numbers to your document, select Insert/Page Numbers to open the Page Numbers dialog box. Be sure Position and Alignment are set the way you want. As soon as you make a change, the effect can be seen in the Preview area.

Spell Checking
When Word encounters a misspelled word, it puts a red wiggly line underneath it. To see Word's suggestions for the correct spelling, right click on the word. Select the correct word or select Ignore All to bypass it. If you use this word a lot and want to add it to the dictionary, click Add. All future occurrences of the word will be considered correctly spelled.

Have Word Correct Your Typos
If you select AutoCorrect and pick the correct spelling, Word will automatically correct your misspelling whenever you type it.

Turn Spellchecking On and Off
To stop Word from spellchecking your words as you type, select Tools/Options, click the Spelling & Grammar Tab and deselect Check Spelling as You Type.

Button Tip!
Click this button on the Word toolbar to check the spelling of a selected word.

Find & Replace
To locate a word or phrase in a Word document, use Edit/Find. Enter the word or phrase into the Find what: field and select Find Next.

To replace a word or phrase, select the Replace tab and enter the text to be found and the text to be replaced. Select Replace for one instance at a time or Replace All to change all at once.

Where to Search
Find and Find and Replace can be applied to an entire document or to just a portion of it. That choice is made from the Search drop-down menu, which is viewed on the left side of the dialog box about half way down. If this option is not shown, click the More button to display the bottom half of the dialog with more options.

Search Direction
If this feature is not visible, click the More button on the Find & Replace dialog box to make the options visible.

Other Features You Should Know
Following are several features you might use when working in Word. They are summarized here, but the details follow under their own topic headings.

Looking For a Better Word
If you're searching for just the right word, Word comes with a thesaurus that will let you choose from a variety of synonyms. For details, see MSW Thesaurus.

Tables are rows and columns of data that have their own borders, colors and interesting effects for dressing up your documents. For details, see MSW Tables.

Preview Mode
The print preview mode lets you see how your text flows over multiple pages without wasting paper to find out. For details, see MSW Print preview.

Headers and Footers
Headers and footers are blocks of text that appear at the top and bottom of every page. They usually contain information such as page numbers, title, date and so on. For details, see MSW Headers and footers.

Inserting Graphics
You can place a variety of graphic images into a Word document, and they can be resized right on the page. For details, see MSW Inserting graphics.

Arrows and Shapes
Word comes with a selection of arrows and other shapes you can use to enhance your document. For details, see MSW Inserting graphics.

End of Microsoft Word ABC's