Global Data Entry 4

Traditional Data Entry Training

ata entry training might be crucial for your landing a data entry job. Because you Understand the job tasks that are required in many outsourced data entry jobs.

The purpose of data entry training is to develop the necessary skills to allow you to effectively do your job with little or no problem. In order for this happen, two things needs to be implemented: the trainer must seek to make all the information clear enough that the trainee can understand it and the trainee must give the trainer total, undivided attention.

What Kind of Training Will You Need?
Data entry training must incorporate tools to help you work with speed, work with accuracy, and methods to help you tune out distractions so concentration will never be affected. (Poor concentration makes speed and accuracy difficult.)

How Do You Strengthen Your Skills?
In order to develop these traits, the data entry training must provide specific drills to help you properly develop the traits. If this is lacking, the training will not produce proper data entry workers. We also will have you use our typing tutor, which can increase your typing speed and accuracy. You can access that
HERE at anytime, or from our members' home page.

Now, the best data entry training in the world will not work if the trainee is not paying strict attention and is not willing to learn this new skill. If these are present, they will make the data entry training successful, allowing you to have a fruitful career.

We are going to give you the training in the basics of data entry and in how to use the applications we will provide.

What is Data Entry?
Data entry is "the process of entering data into a computerized database or spreadsheet. Data entry can be performed by an individual typing at a keyboard
or by a machine entering data electronically."

That is the official definition according to Webopedia. It is a simple process of entering words and graphics in particular formats using special software. It comes down to this: if you can type, you can do data entry as we will show you in this training.

Nature of the Work
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau Labor Statistics reminds us that "Organizations need to process a rapidly growing amount of information. Data entry and information processing workers help ensure the smooth and efficient handling of information. By keying in text, entering data into a computer, and performing other clerical duties, these workers help organizations keep up with the rapid changes that are characteristic of today’s Information Age. In addition to the job titles... such as word processors, typists, and data entry keyers—data entry and information processing workers are known by various other titles, including electronic data processors, keypunch technicians, and transcribers."

The BLS goes on to say that data entry and information processing workers held about 725,000 jobs in 2006 and were employed in every sector of the economy; 430,000 were data entry keyers and 295,000 were word processors. Some workers telecommute, working from their homes on personal computers linked by telephone lines to those in the main office. This arrangement enables them to key in material at home while still being able to produce printed copy in their offices.

Overall employment of in-office data entry and information processing workers is projected to decline through 2014. Why? Although word processors, typists, and data entry keyers are all affected by productivity gains stemming from organizational restructuring and the implementation of new technologies, projected growth differs among these workers. Employment of word processors and typists is expected to decline because of the proliferation of personal computers, which allows other workers to perform duties formerly assigned to word processors and typists... Moreover, as telecommunications technology improves, many organizations will increasingly take advantage of computer networks that allow data to be transmitted electronically... These networks will permit more data to be entered automatically into computers, reducing the demand for in-office data entry keyers.

Simply put, with the popularity of home computers, Internet connection, and basic word processing knowledge, the in-office worker will decline, as the work-from-home data processor will increase. You will be able to take advantage of this opportunity.

We will list the most current jobs, and assignments where you might use your new data entry skills, after you have completed the training course we provide.

How much can a work-from-home word processor make?
Median annual earnings of work-from-home word processors and typists in May 2006 were $30,030. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,850 and $35,900. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,960, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $46,190. The salaries of these workers vary by industry and by region. Many home typers do not spend more then 4 hours per days, 5 days a week working from home. If you were to work more hours per day you would make more money. Expect on a beginner level to make $10 per hour, and on an advance level about $18-$20+ per hour.

Training Outline
We are going to break the training down into sections. We will start off by explaining the different types of data entry projects, the equipment and software needed, and then focus on the two most popular types of data entry, training you in these popular types of data entry formats. Our goal is to get you a complete understanding of what word processing is, and how to use the software designed to perform the assignments. As we do this we will also teach you the popular terminology that you will need to know for better understanding this work.

Here is our program training outline:
I. The Types of Assignments for Data Operators
II. The Types of Data Entry our Program Teaches
III. Equipment Needed to be a Data Operator
IV. Introduction to Your Word Processor
V. How to Use Your Word Processor
VI. Using Your Word Processor For Specific Projects
VII. Practice and Quiz
VIII. Getting Data Entry Work

I. The Types of Assignments for Data Operators
Data entry covers many different avenues, from simple word processing of textual documents to detailed charts and spreadsheets. One of the most popular types of data entry is transcription, for which we have a complete training program separate from this one. Here are the types of work that would fall under the job descriptions of a data entry operator:

Here are the type of work you can pertorm as a data-entry operator

II. The Types of Data Entry Our Program Teaches
When you look at the list of data entry types above, it seems like a lot to learn; it really isn't. We are going to concentrate on two types of data entry: word processing, and data entry keying. Learning these two types of data entry will cover about 80% of the outsource types of data entry work you will receive (excluding transcription, which we teach you in a separate program). The only types we will not cover will be, proofreading, copy editing, and bookkeeping, because these take additional skills and education. The following jobs are usually done on site and will not require telecommuting assistance: PowerPoint presentations (to a certain degree), overhead slide presentations, conference proceedings, and document/photo scanning.

What does word processing mean?

"A program designed to create, edit and print text based documents including: letters, memos, faxes, and reports etc. A word processor enables you to save your documents on the computer and edit and update them later."

Here is a slightly longer definition:

"Using a computer to create, edit, and print documents. Of all computer applications, word processing is the most common. To perform word processing, you need a computer, a special program called a word processor, and a printer. A word processor enables you to create a document, store it electronically on a disk, display it on a screen, modify it by entering commands and characters from the keyboard, and print it on a printer. The great advantage of word processing over using a typewriter is that you can make changes without retyping the entire document. If you make a typing mistake, you simply back up the cursor and correct your mistake. If you want to delete a paragraph, you simply remove it, without leaving a trace. It is equally easy to insert a word, sentence, or paragraph in the middle of a document. Word processors also make it easy to move sections of text from one place to another within a document, or between documents. When you have made all the changes you want, you can send the file to a printer to get a hard copy."

You all already doing data processing in a certain manner now, and may not even realize it. We are just going to expand on the basics you already know.

And you would be the word processor!
Word processors
usually set up and prepare reports, letters, mailing labels, and other text material. As a entry-level work-from-home worker, you may begin by keying headings on form letters, addressing envelopes, or preparing standard forms on computers. As you gain experience, you often are assigned tasks requiring a higher degree of accuracy and independent judgment. Senior word processors may work with highly technical material, plan and key complicated statistical tables, combine and rearrange materials from different sources, or prepare master copies.

All keyboarding is now done on computers that normally are connected to a monitor, keyboard, and printer. Word processors use this equipment to record, edit, store, and revise letters, memos, reports, statistical tables, forms, and other printed materials.

Expansion of work possibilities
In addition to fulfilling the duties mentioned above, word processors often perform other office tasks, such as virtual office assistant work. You work-from-home setting up appointments, scheduling and other tasks for office executives.

Data entry keyers usually input lists of items, numbers, or other data into computers or complete forms that appear on a computer screen. They also may manipulate existing data, edit current information, or proofread new entries into a database for accuracy. Some examples of data sources include customers’ personal information, medical records, and membership lists. Usually, this information is used internally by a company and may be reformatted before other departments or customers utilize it.

Keyers use various types of equipment to enter data such as personal computers. Increasingly, data entry keyers are working with nonkeyboard forms of data entry, such as scanners and electronically transmitted files.

Difference between a Word Processor and a Data Entry Keyer
A simple way to describe the differences between a word processor and a data entry keyer may be this; a word processor will be more creative, using your own creative skills in many cases to create documents. A word processor will use processing software such as Microsoft Word's creative abilities to create documents as input by the processor (you).

A data entry keyer's job will be less creative, usually simply inputting data in simple format from a described preset document. A data entry keyer will usually get text that can be as simple as a note pad, and input that into the computer. It will be a more repetitious job task that is very simple and usually does not require any creativity.

Here is a good example of the difference between a word processor and a data entry keyer. As a word processor you may get an assignment to create fax cover sheets for everyone in a corporate office, you will receive the names, titles and the fax numbers of all the persons in need of these fax cover sheets. Here is what the assignment sheet may look like:

Assignment Sheet

Don Williams - President Fax# 210-555-1200
Alice Roberts - Vice President Fax# 210-555-1201
Laura Plant - Executive V.P Fax# 210-555-1202
Horace James - General Mgr. Fax# 210-555-1203
Peter George - Asst. G.M Fax# 210-555-1204
Darryl Krause - Marketing Director Fax# 210-555-1205
Lisa Drake - Asst. Marketing Director Fax# 210-555-1206
Robin Dalby - Operations Mgr. Fax# 210-555-1207
Gordan Felton - Project Manager Fax# 210-555-1208
Tim Scott - Personal Relations Mgr. Fax# 210-555-1209

You then will be creative using your word processing software, such as Microsoft Word to create these fax cover sheets. An example is shown below.

ABC Corporation
Your Textile Specialist
2253 West Main st.
San Diego, CA 91206
Phone# 1-800-555-5555
Main Fax 210-555-1199





From: Don Williams - President
Fax# 210-555-1200






Respectfully Yours,
Don Williams

As a WORD PROCESSOR you would have created this fax cover sheet, using creativity in choosing font sizes, colors, and properly spacing the margins, lines etc.

As a DATA ENTRY KEYER - You would have typed up the Assignment Sheet with the names, titles and the fax numbers of all the persons from a sheet of paper, to GIVE to the word processor to make the fax cover sheets. A data entry keyer will tend to do more on the 10-key of your keyboard, because a data entry keyer does a lot of numerical data entry.

So you see the difference in having to be creative (word processor) and not having to be to creative (data entry keyer).

III. Equipment Needed to be a Data Entry Operator
There is not a lot of equipment or software that will be needed to become an entry level data entry operator. We will list the equipment and software that is absolutely needed, as well as some additional optional equipment and software that may be needed down the line.

Computer -
If you are taking this training, more then likely you already have your computer, keyboard, and mouse. You can use a laptop as well, as long as it has printer port capabilities and Internet access.

Printer - A printer will be a must to do word processing, so you can print out your work in mass if required, as well as check your document before transmitting the file over the Internet. You can get printers for very cheap on eBay, to at garage sales or flea markets. A very good option is the HP OfficeJet 5610 All-in-One. For under a hundred dollars (brand new), this printer will Print (Color/B&W), fax, scan and makes photo copies all in one unit. This is a great deal for what you get.

Fax Machine - This may not be required when first getting started, but will expand your capabilities. As mentioned above, the best option is to get the All-in-One printer that can address this issue as well. You can use your existing phone line and set this up to receive fax transmissions without having to get a second phone line.

An inexpensive alternative to setting up a fax machine is a service that allows you to send and receive faxes through your e-mail, without a fax machine. One service is by Callwave, which will charge you a monthly fee of $7.95 to use their service. This will allow you to get all the faxed assignments you need. You can find out more about CallWave

Internet Connection - Not everyone will have access to high speed Internet, which will be okay. It is preferred, however, since this will help speed up transfers from the company outsourcing work to you; it will not be important to the actual work you will be performing. You will be doing most of your word processing assignments off line and will not need to be connected to the Internet while you are performing the work. It will be a plus to have a high-speed connection, but it will not be required for most of the assignments you can receive.

Word Processing Software - Word processors are the workhorses of computers. Almost everyone has a word processing program of some sort sitting on his or her computer – whether it came free with your system or you picked it out specially.

There are thousands of word processing programs for you to choose from, each offering a different mix of tools to help make it easier for you to write everything from letters and memos to brochures and Web pages.

Your free word processor -

If you're using Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 and newer, you received a free word processor with your operating system: Windows Write with Windows 3.1 and WordPad with Windows 95 and newer. These programs are fine for basic editing tasks, allowing you to create documents with bolded or italicized text, for example, and change the typeface style and size.

In 'works' style packages such as Microsoft Works or Claris Works, you'll find more sophisticated word processing programs packed with snazzy features and designed to make everyday word processing easier. Such packages are great for home and school usage, or anywhere with modest word processing needs.

For those who need to create documents at work or who need to create complex documents (reports, theses, novels, graphics-intensive or table-intensive documents), a dedicated word processor from one of the big three – Corel, Lotus or Microsoft – will provide all the power you need. There are also word processors from many other companies, but you'll find a staggering percentage of the PC-based world uses Corel WordPerfect, Lotus Ami Pro (or the newer Word Pro), or Microsoft Word for Windows.

Microsoft Word for Windows. - This is the most commonly used program on the planet for word processing, and we are going to base our training on this program. If you already have a Word 2000 or newer, you are in great shape and ready to get working. If you DON'T, we have some good news, and we have some bad news. Okay, the bad news first: to get a newer version of Microsoft Word, with all the goodies of Office, Excel and etc., will cost you in the neighborhood of $200. Now for the GOOD NEWS!, we are going to give you a download of OpenOffice (a Microsoft Word CLONE) for FREE! yes 100% free; this is not a trial, it is yours to keep. OpenOffice will have all the same features as Microsoft Word, without out the fancy "Microsoft" name. See, you already made $200 and have not even started work!

OpenOffice will accept donations: however, it is not required but is optional.

FREE! Word Processor

OpenOffice Features:

Writer– a word processor you can use for anything from writing a quick letter to producing an entire book.
Calc– a powerful spreadsheet with all the tools you need to calculate, analyze, and present your data in numerical reports or sizzling graphics.
Impress– the fastest, most powerful way to create effective multimedia presentations.
Draw– lets you produce everything from simple diagrams to dynamic 3D illustrations.
Base– lets you manipulate databases seamlessly. Create and modify tables, forms, queries, and reports, all from within
Math– lets you create mathematical equations with a graphic user interface or by directly typing your formulas into the equation editor.

(Click on each program to see the features)


To Start Download For WINDOWS Users CLICK HERE
Choose "English (U.S)" - Windows" download option.

To Start Download For MAC OSX Users CLICK HERE

IV. Introduction to your Word Processor
It is time to start the training on how to use your word processor. If you know how to type, then the word processor will do all the rest for you when you know how to use the features it provides. So we are going to focus our training program on teaching you all the features of your word processor. Once you learn how to use the word processor, you will be able to do many data entry jobs that come your way.

Training for word processor software - Even though we are going to give you the FREE OpenOffice word processor software, we are going to base our tutorial on Microsoft Word. Once you learn the Microsoft Word, you will easily understand the OpenOffice program. We will explain the core concepts of all word processors.

Core concepts and skills - No matter which word processor you use, you'll find there's a core set of concepts and techniques that apply to them all. If you become proficient in one word processor, you'll find it not at all hard to learn how to create documents in any word processor. And if you get to know Microsoft Word, you'll find similar tools available in each of the others, even if the 'packaging' is considerably different.

So when you are ready, open up your Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or whatever word processor you are using.

Getting to know your word processor!

Menus and Toolbars

Screen Layout

[Word 2000 Screen Layout]

When you begin to explore Word 2000, you will notice a significant change in the menu structure if you are familiar with previous versions of Word. The menus in Word 2000 display only the commands you have recently used. To view all options in each menu, you must click the double arrows at the bottom of the menu. The images below show the Format menu collapsed (left) and expanded (right) after the double arrows at the bottom of the menu were clicked:

[Menu bars]

Follow the steps below to display menus similar to previous versions of Word with all the choices listed initially:

Select View|Toolbars|Customize from the menu bar.
Click on the Options tab.
Uncheck the Menus show recently used commands first check box.

[Customize toolbars dialog box]

Shortcut Menus
These features allow you to access various Word commands faster than using the options on the menu bar. View shortcut menus by right-clicking with the mouse. The options on this menu will vary depending on the element that was right-clicked. For example, the shortcut menu below is produced by right-clicking on a bulleted list.

[Shortcut menu]

Actions such as "Decrease Indent" and "Increase Indent" are only applicable to lists and therefore only appear on the list shortcut menu. The shortcut menus are helpful because they only display the options that can be applied to the item that was right-clicked and, therefore, prevent searching through the many menu options.

Many toolbars displaying shortcut buttons are also available to make editing and formatting quicker and easier. Select View|Toolbars from the menu bar to select the toolbars. The toolbars that are already displayed on the screen are checked. Add a toolbar simply by clicking on the name.

[Toolbar list]

Customizing Toolbars
There may be certain actions on a toolbar that you do not use and there may also be commands that you execute often but that are not located on any toolbar. Word toolbars can be customized so these commands can be added and deleted.

Select View|Toolbars|Customize and click the Commands tab.

[customize toolbars dialog box]

By highlighting the command categories in the Categories box, the choices will change in the Commands box to the right.
Select the command you would like to add to the toolbar by selecting it in the Commands box.
Drag the command with the mouse to the desired location on the toolbar and release the mouse button.
Remove a button from the toolbar by clicking and dragging the button off the toolbar.

Working With Files

Create a New Document
Click the New Document button on the menu bar. [new]
Choose File|New from the menu bar.
Press CTRL+N (depress the CTRL key while pressing "N") on the keyboard.

Open an Existing Document
Click the Open File button on the menu bar. [open]
Choose File|Open from the menu bar.
Press CTRL+O on the keyboard.

Each method will show the Open dialog box. Choose the file and click the Open button.

[Open File dialog box]

Save a Document
Click the Save button on the menu bar. [save]
Select File|Save from the menu bar.
Press CTRL+S on the keyboard.

Renaming Documents
To rename a Word document while using the program,select File|Open and find the file you want to rename. Right-click on the document name with the mouse and select Rename from the shortcut menu. Type the new name for the file and press the ENTER key.

[Rename a document example]

Working on Multiple Documents
Several documents can be opened simultaneously if you are typing or editing multiple documents at once. All open documents are listed under the Window menu as shown below. The current document has a checkmark beside the file name. Select another name to view another open document or click the button on the Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen.

[Document listing]

Close a Document
Close the current document by selecting File|Close or click the Close icon if it's visible on the Standard Toolbar.

Working With Text

Typing and Inserting Text
To enter text, just start typing! The text will appear where the blinking cursor is located. Move the cursor by using the arrow buttons on the keyboard or positioning the mouse and clicking the left button. The keyboard shortcuts listed below are also helpful when moving through the text of a document:

Move ActionKeystroke
Beginning of the lineHOME
End of the lineEND
Top of the documentCTRL+HOME
End of the documentCTRL+END

Selecting Text
To change any attributes of text it must be highlighted first. Select the text by dragging the mouse over the desired text while keeping the left mouse button depressed, or hold down the SHIFT key on the keyboard while using the arrow buttons to highlight the text. The following table contains shortcuts for selecting a portion of the text:

Whole worddouble-click within the word
Whole paragraphtriple-click within the paragraph
Several words or linesdrag the mouse over the words, or hold down SHIFT while using the arrow keys
Entire documentchoose Edit|Select All from the menu bar, or press CTRL+A

Deselect the text by clicking anywhere outside of the selection on the page or press an arrow key on the keyboard.

Deleting Text
Use the BACKSPACE and DELETE keys on the keyboard to delete text. Backspace will delete text to the left of the cursor and Delete will erase text to the right. To delete a large selection of text, highlight it using any of the methods outlined above and press the DELETE key.

Formatting Text
The formatting toolbar is the easiest way to change many attributes of text. If the toolbar as shown below isn't displayed on the screen, select View|Toolbars and choose Formatting.

[formatting toolbar]

  • Style Menu - Styles are explained in detail later in this tutorial.
  • Font Face - Click the arrowhead to the right of the font name box to view the list of fonts available. Scroll down to the font you want and select it by clicking on the name once with the mouse. A serif font (one with "feet" circled in the illustration below) is recommended for paragraphs of text that will be printed on paper as they are most readable. The following graphic demonstrates the difference between serif (Times New Roman on the left) and sans-serif ("no feet", Arial on the right) fonts.
    Serif example
  • Font Size - Click on the white part of the font size box to enter a value for the font size or click the arrowhead to the right of the box to view a list of font sizes available. Select a size by clicking on it once. A font size of 10 or 12 is best for paragraphs of text.
  • Font Style - Use these buttons to bold, italicize, and underline text.
  • Alignment - Text can be aligned to the left, center, or right side of the page or it can be justified across the page.
  • Numbered and Bulleted Lists - Lists are explained in detail later in this tutorial.
  • Increase/Decrease Indent - Change the indentation of a paragraph in relation to the side of the page.
  • Outside Border - Add a border around a text selection.
  • Highlight Color - Use this option to change the color behind a text selection. The color shown on the button is the last color used. To select a different color, click the arrowhead next to the image on the button.
  • Text Color - This option changes the color of the text. The color shown on the button is the last color chosen. Click the arrowhead next to the button image to select another color.

    The Font dialog box allows you to choose from a larger selection of formatting options. Select Format|Font from the menu bar to access the box.

[font dialog box]

Format Painter [format painter]
A handy feature for formatting text is the Format Painter located on the standard toolbar. For example, if you have formatting a paragraph heading with a certain font face, size, and style and you want to format another heading the same way, you do not need to manually add each attribute to the new headline. Instead, use the Format Painter by following these steps:

Place the cursor within the text that contains the formatting you want to copy. Click the Format Painter button in the standard toolbar. Notice that your pointer now has a paintbrush beside it.
Highlight the text you want to add the same format to with the mouse and release the mouse button.

To add the formatting to multiple selections of text, double-click the Format Painter button instead of clicking once. The format painter then stays active until you press the ESC key to turn it off.


Feel free to experiment with various text styles. You can always undo your last action by clicking the Undo button on the standard toolbar or selecting Edit|Undo... from the menu bar. Click the Redo button on the standard toolbar or select Edit|Redo... to erase the undo action.

Formatting Paragraphs

Paragraph Attributes
Format a paragraph by placing the cursor within the paragraph and selecting Format|Paragraph from the menu bar.

[paragraph dialog box]

Moving (Cutting) Text [cut]
Highlight the text that will be moved and select Edit|Cut from the menu bar, click the Cut button on the standard tool bar, or press CTRL+X at once. This will move the text to a clipboard.

To move a small amount of text a short distance, the drag-and-drop method may be quicker. Highlight the text you want to move, click the selection with the mouse, drag the selection to the new location, and release the mouse button.

Copying Text [copy]
To copy text, choose Edit|Copy, click the Copy button on the standard toolbar, or press CTRL+C to copy the text to the clipboard.

Paste Text [paste]
To paste cut or copied text, move the cursor to the location you want to move the text to and select Edit|Paste from the menu bar, click the Paste button on the standard toolbar, or press CTRL+V.

The Clipboard
The last 12 elements that were cut or copied are placed onto Word's clipboard. You can view the elements on the clipboard by selecting View|Toolbars|Clipboard from the menu bar.


Place the mouse arrow over each element in the clipboard to view the contents of each item and click on an element to add its contents to the document. Click Paste All to add all of the items to the document at once. Click the Clear Clipboard button (the icon with an "X" over the clipboard image) to clear the contents of the clipboard.

Columns [columns]
To quickly place text in a column format, click the Columns button on the standard toolbar and select the number of columns by dragging the mouse over the diagram.


For more column options, select Format|Columns from the menu bar. The Columns dialog box allows you to choose the properties of the columns. Select the number and width of the columns from the dialog box.

[Columns dialog box]

Drop Caps
A drop cap is a large letter that begins a paragraph and drops through several lines of text as shown below.

[Drop cap dialog box]

Add a drop cap to a paragraph by following these steps:

  1. Place the cursor within the paragraph whose first letter will be dropped.
  2. Select Format|Drop Cap from the menu bar.
  3. The Drop Cap dialog box allows you to select the position of the drop cap, the font, the number of lines to drop, and the distance from the body text.
  4. Click OK when all selections have been made.
  5. To modify a drop cap, select Format|Drop Cap again to change the attributes, or click on the letter and use the handles to move and resize the letter.

The use of styles in Word will allow you to quickly format a document with a consistent and professional look. Paragraph and character styles can be saved for use in many documents.

[Style menu]

Applying a Style
Place the cursor in the paragraph where the style will be applied.

  1. Click the Style drop-down menu on the Formatting toolbar and select a style by clicking on it.
  2. To apply the same style to multiple paragraphs, double click the Format Painter button [format painter] on the standard toolbar and click in all the paragraphs that the style should be applied to. Press the ESC key to disable the Format Painter.

Apply a Style from the Style Dialog Box
Choose from a larger selection of styles from the Style dialog box.

[Style dialog box]

  1. Click in the paragraph you want to add a style to.
  2. Select Format|Style... from the menu bar.
  3. From the List drop-down menu, choose All styles to view all the styles available.
  4. The styles are displayed in the Styles list. Preview each style by clicking once on the name. Paragraph styles are preceded by the paragraph symbol ([p]) and character styles are preceded by an "a" icon ([a]). A pointer arrow is located next to the current style. Highlight the style you want to apply to the paragraph and click Apply.

Create a New Style from a Model
To create a style from text that is already formatted in a document, follow these steps:

  1. Place the cursor in the paragraph you would like to set as a new style.
  2. Click the Style box on the formatting toolbar so the style name is highlighted.
    [Style example]
  3. Delete the text in the field and type the name of the new style.
  4. Press the ENTER key to save the new style.

Create a Simple Style from the Style Dialog Box
Select Format|Style... from the menu bar and click the New button on the Style dialog box to access the New Style dialog box.

[New Style dialog box]

  1. Type the name for the new style in the Name field.
  2. Select "Paragraph" or "Character" from the Style type drop-down menu.
  3. Click the Format button at the bottom of the window and choose the paragraph element that will be formatted for the style. Continue to make changes from the options from the Format button menu, making changes to the dialog boxes for each element you choose.
  4. Click OK to set the style and close the New Style dialog box.
  5. Click Apply on the Style dialog box to apply the new style to the current paragraph.

Modify or Rename a Style
An existing style can be changed from the Style dialog box.

  1. Select Format|Style... from the menu bar.
  2. Highlight the style from the Styles list that you want to modify and click the Modify button.
    [Modify Style dialog box]
  3. Use the same methods to modify the style from the Modify Style dialog box that were used for the New Style box.
  4. To only rename the style, type a new name in the Name field.
  5. Click OK when you are finished making modifications.
  6. Click Apply to update the style in the document.

Delete a Style
Preset styles created by Word cannot be deleted, but to delete a style you have made, follow these steps:

  1. Select Format|Style... from the menu bar
  2. Highlight the style from the Styles list that you want to delete.
  3. Click the Delete button.
  4. You will be asked if you really want to delete the style. Click Yes.
  5. Click Close on the dialog box.

To create a bulleted or numbered list, use the list features provided by Word.

Bulleted and Numbered Lists

  1. Click the Bulleted List button [bulleted list] or Numbered List button [numbered list] on the formatting toolbar.
  2. Type the first entry and press ENTER. This will create a new bullet or number on the next line. If you want to start a new line without adding another bullet or number, hold down the SHIFT key while pressing ENTER.
  3. Continue to typing entries and press ENTER twice when you are finished typing to end the list.

Use the Increase Indent [Increase Indent] and Decrease Indent [Decrease Indent] buttons on the formatting toolbar to create lists of multiple levels.

NOTE: You can also type the text first, highlight the section, and press the Bulleted List or Numbered List buttons to add the bullets or numbers.

Nested Lists
To create a nested list, such as a numbered list inside of a bulleted list, follow these steps:

  1. Type the list and increase the indentation of the items that will make up the nested list by clicking the Increase Indent button for each item.
    [Nested list example]
  2. Highlight the items and click the Numbered List button on the formatting toolbar.

Formatting Lists
The bullet image and numbering format can be changed by using the Bullets and Numbering dialog box.

  1. Highlight the entire list to change all the bullets or numbers, or
    Place the cursor on one line within the list to change a single bullet.
  2. Access the dialog box by selecting Format|Bullets and Numbering from the menu bar or by right-clicking within the list and selecting Bullets and Numbering from the shortcut menu.
    [Bullets and Numbering dialog box]
  3. Select the list style from one of the seven choices given, or click the Picture... button to choose a different icon. Click the Numbered tab to choose a numbered list style.
  4. Click OK when finished.

Tables are used to display data and there are several ways to build them in Word. Begin by placing the cursor where you want the table to appear in the document and choose one of the following methods.

Insert a Table
There are two ways to add a table to the document using the Insert feature:

  1. Click the Insert Table button on the standard toolbar. Drag the mouse along the grid, highlighting the number of rows and columns for the table.
    [Insert a table]

  2. Or, select Table|Insert|Table from the menu bar. Select the number of rows and columns for the table and click OK.
    [Insert Table dialog box]

Draw the Table
A table can also be drawn onto the document:

  1. Draw the table by selecting Table|Draw Table from the menu bar. The cursor is now the image of a pencil and the Tables and Borders toolbar has appeared.
    [Tables and Borders toolbar]
  2. Draw the cells of the table with the mouse. If you make a mistake, click the Eraser button [eraser] and drag the mouse over the area to be deleted.
  3. To draw more cells, click on the Draw Table button [draw table].

Inserting Rows and Columns
Once the table is drawn, insert additional rows by placing the cursor in the row you want to be adjacent to. Select Table|Insert|Rows Above or Rows Below. Or, select an entire row and right-click with the mouse. Choose Insert Rows from the shortcut menu.

Much like inserting a row, add a new column by placing the cursor in a cell adjacent to where the new column will be added. Select Table|Insert|Columns to the Left or Columns to the Right. Or, select the column, right-click with the mouse, and select Insert Columns.

Moving and Resizing a Table
A four-sided moving arrow and open box resizing handle will appear on the corners of the table if the mouse is placed over the table. Click and drag the four-ended arrow to move the table and release the mouse button when the table is positioned where you want it. Click and drag the open box handle to resize the table. Change the column widths and row heights by clicking the cell dividers and dragging them with the mouse.

[Table example]

Tables and Borders Toolbar
The Tables and Borders toolbar allows you to add border styles, shading, text effects, alignment, and more options to your table. Access the toolbar by clicking Table|Draw Table or View|Toolbars|Tables and Borders.

[Tables and Borders toolbar]

You will need to highlight the cells of the table you want to format. Click and drag the mouse over the cells, or use the following shortcuts:

SelectionMenu MethodMouse Method
One cellTable|Select|CellClick the bottom, left corner of the cell when a black arrow appears
One rowTable|Select|RowClick outside the table to the left of the row
One columnTable|Select|ColumnClick outside the table above the column when a black arrow appears
Several rows(none)Click outside the table to the left of the row and drag the mouse down
Several columns(none)Click outside the table above the column
Entire tableTable|Select|TableTriple-click to the left of the table

Table Properties
Use the Table Properties dialog box to modify the alignment of the table with the body text and the text within the table. Access the box by selecting Tables|Table Properties.

[Table Properties dialog box]

  • Size - Check the Preferred width box and enter a value if the table should be an exact width.
  • Alignment - Highlight the illustration that represents the alignment of the table in relation to the text of the document.
  • Text wrapping - Highlight "None" if the table should appear on a separate line from the text or choose "Around" if the text should wrap around the table.
  • Borders and Shading - Select from a number of border styles, colors, and widths. Click the Shading tab to change the background color and pattern.
    [Borders and Shading dialog box]
  • Options - Click the Options button on the Table Properties window. To change the spacing between the document text and the table borders under Default cell margins. Check the Allow spacing between cells box and enter a value to add space between the table cells.
    [Table Options dialog box]


Adding Clip Art
To add a clip art image from the Microsoft library to a document, follow these steps:

  1. Select Insert|Picture|Clip Art from the menu bar.
    [Insert ClipArt dialog box]
  2. To find an image, click in the white box following Search for clips. Delete the words "Type one or more words. . ." and enter keywords describing the image you want to use.
    - OR -
    Click one of the category icons.
  3. Click once on the image you want to add to the document and the following popup menu will appear:
    [Insert Image menu]
    • Insert Clip to add the image to the document.
    • Preview Clip to view the image full-size before adding it to the document. Drag the bottom, right corner of the preview window to resize the image and click the "x" close button to end the preview.
      [Preview Image window]
    • Add Clip to Favorites will add the selected image to your favorites directory that can be chosen from the Insert ClipArt dialog box.
    • Find Similar Clips will retrieve images similar to the one you have chosen.
  4. Continue selecting images to add to the document and click the Close button in the top, right corner of the Insert ClipArt window to stop adding clip art to the document.

Add An Image from a File
Follow these steps to add a photo or graphic from an existing file:

  1. Select Insert|Picture|From File on the menu bar.
  2. Click the down arrow button on the right of the Look in: window to find the image on your computer.
  3. Highlight the file name from the list and click the Insert button.
    [Insert Picture dialog box]

Editing A Graphic
Activate the image you wish to edit by clicking on it once with the mouse. Nine handles will appear around the graphic. Click and drag these handles to resize the image. The handles on the corners will resize proportionally while the handles on the straight lines will stretch the image. More picture effects can be changed using the Picture toolbar. The Picture toolbar should appear when you click on the image. Otherwise, select View|Toolbars|Picture from the menu bar to activate it.

[Picture toolbar]

  • Insert Picture will display the image selection window and allows you to change the image.

  • Image Control allows to make the image grayscale, black and white, or a watermark.

  • More/Less Contrast modifies the contrast between the colors of the image.

  • More/Less Brightness will darken or brighten the image.

  • Click Crop and drag the handles on the activated image to delete outer portions of the image.

  • Line Style will add a variety of borders to the graphic.

  • Text Wrapping will modify the way the document text wraps around the graphic.

  • Format Picture displays all the image properties in a separate window.

  • Reset Picture will delete all the modifications made to the image.

Auto Shapes
The AutoShapes toolbar will allow you to draw many different geometrical shapes, arrows, flow chart symbols, stars, and banners on the document. Activate the AutoShapes toolbar by selecting Insert|Picture|AutoShapes or View|Toolbars|AutoShapes from the menu bar, or clicking the AutoShapes button on the Drawing toolbar. Click each button on the toolbar to view the options for drawing the shape.

[AutoShapes toolbar]

  • Lines - After clicking the Lines button on the AutoShapes toolbar, draw a straight line, arrow, or double-ended arrow from the first row of options by clicking the respective button. Click in the document where you would like the line to begin and click again where it should end. To draw a curved line or freeform shape, select curved lines from the menu (first and second buttons of second row), click in the document where the line should appear, and click the mouse every time a curve should begin. End creating the graphic by clicking on the starting end or pressing the ESC key. To scribble, click the last button in the second row, click the mouse in the document and hold down the left button while you draw the design. Let go of the mouse button to stop drawing.
  • Basic Shapes - Click the Basic Shapes button on the AutoShapes toolbar to select from many two- and three-dimensional shapes, icons, braces, and brackets. Use the drag-and-drop method to draw the shape in the document. When the shape has been made, it can be resized using the open box handles and other adjustments specific to each shape can be modified using the yellow diamond handles.
    [Octagon AutoShape]

  • Block Arrows - Select Block Arrows to choose from many types of two- and three-dimensional arrows. Drag-and-drop the arrow in the document and use the open box and yellow diamond handles to adjust the arrowheads. Each AutoShape can also be rotated by first clicking the Free Rotate button on the drawing toolbar [Free Rotate button]. Click and drag the green handles around the image to rotate it. The tree image below was created from an arrow rotated 90 degrees.
    ["Tree" autoshape]

  • Flow Chart - Choose from the flow chart menu to add flow chart elements to the document and use the line menu to draw connections between the elements.

  • Stars and Banners - Click the button to select stars, bursts, banners, and scrolls.

  • Call Outs - Select from the speech and thought bubbles, and line call outs. Enter the call out text in the text box that is made.

  • More AutoShapes - Click this button to choose from a list of clip art categories.

Each of the submenus on the AutoShapes toolbar can become a separate toolbar. Just click and drag the gray bar across the top of the submenus off of the toolbar and it will become a separate floating toolbar.


Spelling and Grammar

Word automatically corrects many commonly misspelled words and punctuation marks with the AutoCorrect feature. To view the list of words that are automatically corrected, select Tools|AutoCorrect. This may be a hidden feature so click the double arrows at the bottom of the Tools menu listing if the AutoCorrect choice is not listed.

[AutoCorrect dialog box]

Many options including the accidental capitalization of the first two letters of a word and capitalization of the first word of the sentence can be automatically corrected from this page. If there are words you often misspell, enter the wrong and correct spellings in the Replace and With fields.

Spelling and Grammar Check
Word will automatically check for spelling and grammar errors as you type unless you turn this feature off. Spelling errors are noted in the document with a red underline. Grammar errors are indicated by a green underline. To disable this feature, select Tools|Options from the menu bar and click the Spelling and Grammar tab on the dialog box. Uncheck "Check spelling as you type" and "Check grammar as you type", and click OK.

To use the spelling and grammar checker, follow these steps:

  1. Select Tools|Spelling and Grammar from the menu bar.
  2. The Spelling and Grammar dialog box will notify you of the first mistake in the document and misspelled words will be highlighted in red.
    [Spelling and Grammar dialog box]
  3. If the word is spelled correctly, click the Ignore button or click the Ignore All button if the word appears more than once in the document.
  4. If the word is spelled incorrectly, choose one of the suggested spellings in the Suggestions box and click the Change button or Change All button to correct all occurrences of the word in the document. If the correct spelling is not suggested, enter the correct spelling in the Not In Dictionary box and click the Change button.
  5. If the word is spelled correctly and will appear in many documents you type (such as your name), click the Add button to add the word to the dictionary so it will no longer appear as a misspelled word.
As long as the Check Grammar box is checked in the Spelling and Grammar dialog box, Word will check the grammar of the document in addition to the spelling. If you do not want the grammar checked, remove the checkmark from this box. Otherwise, follow these steps for correcting grammar:
  1. If Word finds a grammar mistake, it will be shown in the box as the spelling errors. The mistake is highlighted in green text.
    [Spelling and Grammar dialog box]
  2. Several suggestions may be given in the Suggestions box. Select the correction that best applies and click Change.
  3. If no correction is needed (Word is often wrong more than it is right), click the Ignore button.

Word 2000 has a new feature for finding synonyms. Simply right-click on the word and select Synonyms from the shortcut menu. From the list of suggested words, highlight the word you would like to use or click Thesaurus... for more options.


To use the thesaurus, select Tools|Language|Thesaurus from the menu bar or select it from the Synonyms shortcut menu as detailed above.

[Thesaurus dialog box]

A list of meanings and synonyms are given on the windows. Double-click on the words in the Meanings box or click the Look Up button to view similar words. Double-click words in the Replace with Synonym box to view synonyms of those words. Highlight the word you would like to add and click the Replace button.

Page Formatting

Page Margins
The page margins of the document can be changed using the rulers on the page and the Page Setup window. The ruler method is discussed first:

  1. Move the mouse over the area where the white ruler changes to gray.
    [Page margins window]
  2. When the cursor becomes a double-ended arrow, click with the mouse and drag the margin indicator to the desired location.
  3. Release the mouse when the margin is set.

The margins can also be changed using the Page Setup dialog box:

  1. Select File|Page Setup and choose the Margins tab in the dialog box.
    [page setup dialog box]
  2. Enter margin values in the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right boxes. The Preview window will reflect the changes.
  3. If the document has Headers and/or Footers, the distance this text appears from the edge of the page can be changed.
  4. Click OK when finished.

Page Size and Orientation
Change the orientation page within the Page Setup dialog box.

  1. Select File|Page Setup and choose the Paper Size tab.
    [Page Setup dialog box]
  2. Select the proper paper size from the drop-down menu.
  3. Change the orientation from Portrait or Landscape by checking the corresponding radio button.

Headers and Footers
A header is text that is added to the top margin of every page such as a document title or page number and a footer is text added to the bottom margin. Follow these steps to add or edit headers and footers in the document:

  1. Select View|Header and Footer from the menu bar. The Header and Footer toolbar will appear and the top of the page will be highlighted as shown below.
    [header image]
  2. Type the heading in the Header box. You may use many of the standard text formatting options such as font face, size, bold, italics, etc.
  3. Click the Insert AutoText button to view a list of quick options available.
  4. Use the other options on the toolbar to add page numbers, the current date and time.
  5. To edit the footer, click the Switch Between Header and Footer button on the toolbar.
  6. When you are finished adding headers and footers, click the Close button on the toolbar.

Page Numbers
Follow these instructions for another way to add page numbers to a document.

  1. Select Insert|Page Numbers from the menu bar and the following dialog box will appear.
    [page number dialog box]
  2. Select the position of the page numbers by choosing "Top of page" or "Bottom of page" from the Position drop-down menu.
  3. Select the alignment of the page numbers in the Alignment drop-down menu.
  4. If you do not want the page number to show on the first page (if it is a title page, for example), uncheck the Show number of first page box.
  5. Click OK when finished.

Print Preview and Printing
Preview your document by clicking the Print Preview button on the standard toolbar or by selecting File|Print Preview. When the document is ready to print, click the Print button from the Print Preview screen or select File|Print.


Macros are advanced features that can speed up editing or formatting you may perform often in a Word document. They record sequences of menu selections that you choose so that a series of actions can be completed in one step.

Recording A Macro
To record a macro, follow these steps:

  1. Click Tools|Macro|Record New Macro on the menu bar.
    [Record Macro window]
  2. Name the macro in the Macro name field. This name cannot contain spaces and or begin with a number.
  3. From the Store macro in drop-down box, select the document you would like the macro to be associated with or choose "All Documents" be able to use the macro in any document.
  4. Enter a description of the macro in the Description field. This is for your reference only so you remember what the macro does.
  5. Click OK to begin recording.
  6. Select options from the drop-down menus and Word will record the options you choose from the dialog boxes, such as changing the margins on the Page Setup window. Select only options that modify the document. Word will not record toggle actions such as View|Toolbars that have no effect on the document itself.
  7. The recording toolbar will allow you to stop, pause, and resume recording.
    [Macro toolbar]
  8. Click the Stop button the recording toolbar. The macro is now saved.

Running A Macro
To run an existing macro, follow these steps.

  1. Select Tools|Macro|Macros from the menu bar.
  2. From the Macros window, highlight the Macro name in the list and click Run.
    [Macros dialog box]
  3. If the macro is long and you want to stop it while it is running, press BREAK (hold CTRL and press PAUSE).

Table of Contents

Word will automatically create a Table of Contents page if a document is designed using Heading and Paragraph styles (see the Styles section). Follow the steps on this page to create a Table of Contents.

Mark Table of Contents Entries

  1. Highlight a heading that you would like to appear in the Table of Contents (TOC).
  2. Press ALT+SHIFT+O and the Mark Table of Contents Entry box will appear.
    [Mark Table of Contents Entry window]
  3. Entry - Rename the entry if you would like a different heading to appear in the TOC.
  4. Table identifier - Select "C".
  5. Level - Choose "1" for first-level heading, "2" for second-level heading, etc.
  6. Click the Mark button.
  7. The document will be toggled to "reveal codes" view and notice the TOC field code. To hide all codes click the Show/Hide codes button [Show/Hide codes button] on the standard toolbar.
  8. Select another heading to add to the TOC, or click the Close button on the Mark Table of Contents Entry dialog box.

Generate a Table of Contents

After you have marked all the headings for your TOC, follow these steps to generate the Table of Contents.

  1. Place the cursor where you would like the TOC to appear in the document.
  2. Select Insert|Index and Tables from the menu bar.
    [Index and Tables window]
  3. Customize the appearance of the TOC from the Table of Contents tab. You may choose a preset design from the Formats drop-down menu. A preview of each design will be shown in the Print Preview window.
  4. Check the Show page numbers box if you would like page numbers to show on the TOC. Check the Right align page numbers box if the page numbers should appear on the right side, then select the Tab leader between the heading and the page number. Uncheck the box if the page numbers should appear right next to the heading.
  5. Click OK.

What we have shown you is all the important features you will be working with in your word processor. These are very simple things to learn. Now that you know what all the features your word processor has, it is time to learn how to put it to use.

V. How to Use your Word Processor

Using a word processing program like Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, OpenOffice or Microsoft Works is fairly easy and intuitive to use if you can remember a few things. Most people who grew up with typewriters, try to use a word processor program just like a typewriter, which is not how this software was meant to be used. Even those who have never used a typewriter tend to overlook many of the valuable features of a word processor program.

The true value of a word processing program is in its flexibility. With a typewriter, if you made a change to the first page of a long document, you had to retype the entire document. With a word processor, if you make a change to the first page of a document, all the other pages will adjust to that change automatically. That is, the adjustments will be made if you have created the document properly.

Three Basic Rules
There are three essential rules for learning any computer application:

1. Look at the screen.

2. Don't work on an urgent task while you're learning.

3. Save constantly.

Really looking

Rule One: Look at the screen.
Most beginners don't look at their computer screens. Oh, they take a peek and think "Oh my, how confusing". But that's not really looking. The best way to start to get to know a program is to take a good long look at everything on your screen and become familiar with it.

For instance, when you first start up your word processor, before you type a single word, look at the menus and toolbars (the little strips of tiny pictures – called 'icons' or 'toolbar buttons') across the top of your screen. Let your mouse pointer pause on each button in the toolbar and you'll see either a little label pop up indicating what it does, or you'll see a message down in the status bar (the very bottom of the word processing window) with the same information.

In the latest versions of WordPerfect, you'll see similar pop-up labels for the menus as well as the toolbars.

Notice how each toolbar button gives a graphic representation of its function: a little disk on the button which lets you save your work; a picture of a printer on the button which lets you print your work; and so on.

Common menus
Each word processing program has its own particular set of toolbars and menus, but many of the functions are similar. Most programs will have a File Menu, a Format or Text Menu, and a Help Menu, plus several others.

Take a look in the Help Menu. Online help is getting better and better and the advanced word processing programs have help 'wizards' or 'assistants' that will take your written question, for instance, "How do I change the size of my text?" and display the appropriate answer for you.

The File Menu is equally important. From the File Menu you can create a new document, open one you've already created, save and close documents, print documents and perform various other tasks affecting your files.

Alt key shortcuts
See how each menu has one of its letters underlined? There's a reason: instead of opening the menus by pointing and clicking with your mouse, you can hold down the Alt key and press the underlined letter to open that particular menu (press the Esc key to close the menu without making a selection).

Open any menu and have a look at its contents. Some items are greyed out, indicating that option is currently unavailable. For example, the Table Menu in Word for Windows has most of its options greyed out unless you insert a table into your document (useful for creating neat columns of related text) and select the table.

The meaningful ellipsis (...)

Some options in each menu contain a word or phrase, some have a word or phrase followed by an ellipsis (. . .). The ellipsis indicates that when you select the menu option, a dialog box will open giving you more control over the option.

For example, in most word processors, if you click the toolbar 'Print' button, the word processor will automatically print all of your current document. If you use the File Menu Print option instead of the toolbar button, you'll be presented with a dialog box that lets you choose which pages of the document to print, which printer to use for printing (if you have more than one connected to your computer) and so on.

The toolbar buttons are for quick shortcut tasks; the menu options are for complete control.

Watching while you work

Once you become familiar with the menus and toolbars and general layout of your word processing screen, don't stop looking! Keep your eyes open while you work. Watch how the screen changes as you type (it'll help enormously if you can teach yourself to touch type; trying to learn a computer while laboriously searching the keyboard for the 'p' key is going to drive you nuts).

When you click the Save button to save your work, take a good look at the Save dialog box and get to know each part of it. When you apply formatting to a document to make it look snazzier, watch how the toolbar buttons and the ruler reflect the formatting of the part of the document you're working in.

The casual approach
Rule Two: Don't work on an urgent task while you're learning. Learning a new program is a process of discovery. You'll learn best if you take your time and reduce the distractions and stresses while you're learning.

The one worst way to learn a program is to try to produce something you need to do urgently. If you set yourself an urgent task, things are bound to go wrong and you'll lose your ability to focus on learning. Instead, you're likely to end up cursing the word processor for making life so damn difficult.

Word processing as play

Treat your first sessions with your word processor as play. Think of something fun or non-urgent you'd like to do, and spend lots of time doing it. That way, it doesn't matter if things don't work out as you expect or you make mistakes. You can take your time to undo them or start from scratch if you have to.

If you take away the urgency, you'll find you can wander through all the menu options and click on toolbar buttons to your heart's content.

While you do so, remember to watch what you're doing: you may click a toolbar button and suddenly your document looks different (for example, switching from 'normal' view to 'page layout' view in some programs gives you a whole different view of your document).

As long as you notice what you're doing and take your time, you'll be able to retrace your steps and recover from inadvertent discoveries.

In particular, learn to use the Undo button that most word processors have. It lets you undo your most recent changes and can be a lifesaver.

Save your work!

Rule Three: Save constantly.
Or, to put it another way: save, save, save, save, save, save, save.

If you save your work early and often it doesn't matter if you mess up. You can experiment and putter around exploring your word processor without feeling a mistake will put you back at square one.

How often is 'often'? Every paragraph is not too frequently. After all, once you've saved your document initially and given it a name, saving any changes you make entails nothing more than a quick click on the Save button or, in most word processors, pressing Ctrl-S.

A good way to measure whether it's time to save is the 'Agony of Loss' indicator. Take a nanosecond every now and then and ask yourself "How upset would I be if there was a blackout right now and everything I've just done was lost?". If you wince at the thought, click the Save button.

The trouble with AutoSave
One thing to watch out for is the automatic saving (or AutoSave) feature you'll find in most powerful word processors. This feature automatically saves your work after a given interval. This may seem like a neat safety cushion, allowing you to escape disaster even if you don't save the document yourself. However, it can be a trap in itself.

The trouble with AutoSave is it saves your document without asking you. Say you've been working on a document and you make a change that messes up all your careful formatting. If AutoSave kicks in at that moment, it will save your document in its currently messed-up state. That's not what you want.

The other trap in AutoSaving is that it doesn't teach you to become a constant saver. Making saving a habit will stand you in good stead no matter what program you're using on the computer. And many of them don't have an AutoSave feature at all.

On the other hand, your word processor should also let you create automatic 'backup' copies of files you're working on. If something goes wrong with your original document, you can open the backup copy and retrieve your work from that.

If your word processor has these options (check in the manual or online help under 'Saving' or 'backing up' or 'AutoSave'), my advice is to turn AutoSave off and turn the creation of backup copies on.

Learning The Basics of Microsoft Word -Audio/Visual Guide
We are going to have you watch an audio/visual presentation from Microsoft on learning some basics of Microsoft Word. This will help you to get a more complete understanding of how to open up, create, format, and edit a document.


Word Processor Common Knowledge

Word processing programs will automatically wrap the text from one line to the next. So don't hit the enter key when you get to the end of the line. Just keep typing and let the computer figure out where to break the text. Also, do not separate a word by hyphenating it at the end of the line. If you let the computer complete the word wrap function, and you later insert, or delete text, the computer will automatically adjust the lines. If you hit the enter key yourself at the end of the line and/or hyphenate words and you later add or delete text, your spacing will be messed up causing you a lot of extra work.

Headers & Footers

A header is a line or two of text and/or graphics that appear on every page or every section of a document. A footer is the same, except that it appears at the bottom of the page. In Word you set up a header and/or footer by clicking on View, then Header/Footer, then entering the information you would like to have appear. Use headers and/or footers for any page numbers, dates, and/or repeating titles. Then when you make any changes to the document, the page numbers and other information will adjust automatically.


Most word processing programs use style sheets, which are sometimes called templates. Basically, a style sheet is a form that defines the layout of a document. You specify the size of the pages, the fonts you will use, the margins, and other details. Then you create a template with those parameters that can be used over and over again. You can define different style sheets or templates for different projects. For instance you can use a more informal style for personal letters, and a more formal one for business documents. Look up "template" or "style sheet" in your word processing documentation or help file for information on how to create these templates.


Word processing programs use default settings to create documents. Unless you change these settings, and/or create and use a new template, every document will be based on these default settings. In Microsoft Word, the default template is called the "normal" template. If you find that every document in Word uses fonts that are too small, click on Format, then choose Font. Change the font size to something larger. Then click on Default, or Set as Default, and every document that you create from then on will use the larger font that you specified.


If you are creating Chapter Titles or other titles in the document, don't just make them bold, centered, and/or italic. Instead, give them the same type of formatting by choosing a style and formatting option. In Microsoft Word, this style shows up in the Formatting toolbar at the top of the screen. It will say something like "normal", or "Heading 1". If you don't see the Formatting area, click on View, Toolbars, then make sure there is a checkmark in front of Formatting.

Highlight your Chapter Titles or other titles and choose a format like "Heading 1" or "Heading 2". Then when you modify the heading style to suit your needs, all the headings that use that style will be automatically updated. (Look in the help menu for information on how to do this.)

Don't be afraid to play with your word processing program a little. Read the help file.Try different things. And don't use your word processing program like a typewriter. It is much, much more powerful than any typewriter ever was.

Editing Your Documents
There are three essential processes involved in creating any document using a word processor: writing, editing, and formatting your document. Most documents you will also want to print out or send to someone using e-mail or fax software.

The three processes
There are three essential processes involved in creating any document using a word processor: writing, editing, and formatting your document. Most documents you will also want to print out or send to someone using e-mail or fax software.

Writing in this case means typing. The biggest favor you can do yourself is to learn to touch-type. In this way, you can concentrate on what's happening on your screen instead of focusing on your fingers hitting the keys. If you can touch-type, you'll learn how to use a word processor much, much faster than the hunt and peck typist.

a document involves making changes to the words in your document: checking spelling and grammar, reordering sentences and paragraphs, choosing the most apt word.

is the process of making your documents look good: choosing a typeface, adding headings, positioning text on the page, applying a consistent style to a document.

Moving through the processes

You can move through these processes one by one, first typing your words, then going back and making any changes to the text or spelling or sense of the words, and finally applying formatting to the whole document.

More often, though, you'll find yourself doing all three at once – correcting spelling as you type, italicizing words for emphasis and so on, and then doing a final edit and format once you've completed the content of your document.

We're going to focus on the first two processes – writing and editing – in this article.

Remember the 3 rules!

Remember, whichever part of the word processing cycle you're focusing on keep in mind the three basic rules we covered in the first article in this series:
  1. Read the screen carefully at all times and notice what's happening there.
  2. Take the pressure off yourself while you're learning by working only on non-urgent tasks.
  3. Save your work constantly.

Getting words on 'paper'

How do you get your words on paper – or, more correctly, on screen?

It's a simple matter of opening a new document and typing.

Almost all word processors start by presenting you with a blank document when you open them. If you don't have a blank document open, you can create oneby clicking the File Menu and choosing New from the menu.

The File, New option may give you a choice in the type of new document you create. Simply choose 'blank' document or 'start from scratch' or a similar option – the exact wording is different from one word processor to the next.

The insertion point

With a blank document open, you'll see there's a flashing vertical black line near the top of the document. This is called the 'insertion point', and it indicates the position where text you type will appear in the document. Because this is a blank document, it's right at the top of the page. As you type, you'll notice the insertion point moving to indicate where the next text you type will appear.

Type in a paragraph to test things out. If you've had experience using a typewriter, there's one thing you'll need to keep in mind when using a word processor: you do not need a carriage return to start each new line. The word processor will automatically 'wrap' the current line round onto the next line, adjusting to the margin set. There's no need to hit the Enter key (occasionally labeled Return on some computers) until you come to the end of a paragraph.

A test paragraph
So, try typing the paragraph below, and observe how the word wrap feature works and how your words appear in the word processing window. Don't worry if you make spelling mistakes or other errors. You can go back and correct those later.

By the way, if you're not familiar with typing on a keyboard, to capitalize a letter, hold down the left or right Shift keys and press the letter; to capitalize a string of letters, press the Caps Lock key once, type the letters, and then press Caps Locks to return to lowercase.

Here's the paragraph:

I've been spending a little time in San Francisco. The first thing I noticed is how much better the public transport is there than in Los Angeles. BART is not bad at all. Thank goodness, because many places in the US you are forced to use a car to get around at all.

Once you've finished typing the paragraph, press Enter to begin a new paragraph.

Save your work

Now is a great time to save your work for the first time, too. To save it, click the Save icon in the toolbar or open the File Menu and select Save.

When you save the document, you'll give it a name and when you return to the word processing window, you'll see that name in the title bar at the top of the screen.

Editing the text

Let's try editing the text. Not everyone knows what BART is, so we're going to insert the words 'Bay Area Rapid Transit' in parentheses after BART. To do that:

1. Use the arrow keys to move the insertion point so it's positioned immediately after the 'T' in BART. (You may need to press the Num Lock key if you find the arrow keys are inserting numbers into your document instead of moving the insertion point.)

Most word processing programs will let you move the insertion point faster if you hold down the Control key (usually labeled 'Ctrl') at the same time as you press the arrow keys. Standard shortcuts are Ctrl-Left Arrow or Ctrl-Right Arrow to move the insertion point a word left or right at a time; and Ctrl-Up Arrow or Ctrl-Down Arrow to move to the beginning or the end of a paragraph, or the beginning or end of a page. You'll also find the PgUp and PgDn keys will move you quickly from top to bottom of a screen, once you've typed a little more.

Once you have the insertion point positioned, type:

(Bay Area Rapid Transit)

Typing modes

Notice how the words to the right of the insertion point shift over as you type? There are two typing modes in word processors: insert, which is the standard mode and which you've just seen in action, and overwrite. In overwrite mode, anything you type will write over – obliterate – text to the right of the insertion point.

You can switch between modes by pressing the Ins or Insert key on your cursor control pad (below the arrow keys).

Writing more

Continue typing another three paragraphs, pressing Enter at the end of each paragraph:

To tell you the truth, I've had enough of driving. I drove sixteen-and-a-half hours straight, mostly in rain, down the I5 to get to San Francisco from Seattle. Most of the drive is boring, except for the stunning stretch from central Oregon south to northern California.

However, despite the driving overkill, I'm looking forward to the drive back. This time I'll take the coast road, which is much longer, but which is so beautiful I don't care how long it takes me. I'm hoping to spend a week on the road for the return trip.

So, while I'm in San Francisco, I'm sticking to BART and shank's pony!

Inserting text

It appears we're writing a letter, but we've omitted the salutation at the beginning. To insert that, use the arrow keys to move the insertion point to the very beginning of your document.

You've already seen how easy it is to insert words. Inserting a new line or paragraph is just as simple: make sure the insertion point is positioned immediately before the first word in the first paragraph and then press the Enter key. The whole paragraph will move down one line. You can then press the Up Arrow key once to move up to the blank line you inserted, and type:

Dear Eamon,

If you find you accidentally insert too many blank lines, press the Backspace key to delete the extra blank lines and move your insertion point upwards. (Note: the Backspace key deletes characters to the left of the insertion point; the Del or Delete key deletes characters to the right of the insertion point.)

Now, use the Down Arrow key or PgDn key to go to the very bottom of your letter. If the insertion point won't move past the last word in the final paragraph, press Enter to move onto another line.


More later! Lots of love,


Fixing Mistakes
You've finished the core of your letter. It's now time to read through and correct any mistakes.

Before you read through, you might want to use your word processor's spelling checker to correct any spelling mistakes you've made. Each spelling checker works slightly differently (and some cut-down word processors don't even have one). There should be an icon for the spelling checker in the toolbar, or you'll find it as an option in an Edit, Tools or Proofing Menu.

Cleaning up after the spelling checker
Don't depend on the spelling checker to catch all your mistakes. For example, in the second paragraph you might have typed 'strait' instead of 'straight'. The spelling checker won't pick it up, as 'strait' is a word in its own right. A grammar checker should pick this up, but using a grammar checker on a short, informal document like this is probably overkill (and, besides that, they're not always accurate!).

You can turn 'strait' into 'straight' by using the arrow keys to position the insertion point immediately after the 'I' and typing 'gh'. An easier way to do the same thing is to use the mouse to move the insertion point: simply click immediately after the 'I' and then type 'gh'. You'll find there are almost always two or three ways to perform the same task in a word processor – choose the way that suits you best, but remember to look for the shortcut routes.

Editing alternatives

Notice how, in both the second and third paragraphs, you've used the word 'stunning'. Eamon's going to think you have a limited vocabulary if you keep repeating yourself, so let's change the second 'stunning' to 'beautiful'.

Here are three ways to do the same task:

Position the insertion point immediately after the word stunning (using the mouse or arrow keys), press backspace eight times to delete the word, and then type 'beautiful'.

Position the insertion point immediately after the word stunning, hold down the Ctrl key and press Backspace to delete the word in one go, and then type 'beautiful'.

Double-click on the word stunning to highlight (also called 'selecting') the word. Now, type 'beautiful'. The word you type will replace the highlighted selection.

You can use any of these techniques (they should all work in any word processor), but the third technique is the fastest of all.

Selecting text

The technique of selecting text mentioned in point three above is very important in word processing. You'll use it constantly when you are editing and formatting text. At times, you'll want to select a single word. Other times, you may want to select a sentence, a paragraph or a whole document.

The standard text selection procedures are the same in all word processors: double-click a word to select it; or click-and-drag over text to select a whole series of words, lines or paragraphs.

Other selection options vary between word processors. For instance, you can select a whole paragraph in Microsoft Word or WordPad by triple-clicking anywhere in the paragraph. To achieve the same effect in Microsoft Works 4, you double-click in the margin beside the paragraph. In Lotus WordPro, you hold down the Ctrl key and double-click anywhere in the paragraph.

Discovering editing shortcuts

How do you discover all these shortcuts? Well, you can try the fun way and experiment: click, double-click and triple click all over the place. Hold down the Ctrl key and do all of the preceding, or try clicking with the right mouse button. Don't worry if something unexpected happens: you've saved your work (right?) and you're not working on a document that matters anyway. You can always use the Undo option on the Edit Menu (in most word processors) to undo your last action as well.

Alternatively, you can be more orderly and open the Help Menu, look at Help topics or Contents, click the Index tab (if you're using a Windows 95 word processing program, or use the Search option if you're using a Windows 3.1x program) and do a search for 'selecting text', 'text selection', 'keyboard shortcuts' or 'mouse shortcuts'. That should turn up a whole pile of useful shortcuts for you.

Tidying up
Once you've read through your document and made all the changes necessary, save your document once more.

Our letter doesn't look much at the moment, but we'll go into formatting shortly. Right now, you've learned the basics of creating a new document, typing in text, editing your work to correct mistakes and make changes, and saving your work.

Reorganizing Your Words
Word processing programs are extraordinary time savers. While you're in the process of learning how to use such a program, you may beg to differ. You may feel that writing a letter or essay by hand is infinitely easier and faster than struggling with all the icons and views and menus.

Maybe so, but once you're past the first stage of learning the basics of your word processor, you'll find almost every aspect of creating a written document is much, much speedier and more efficient using a word processor.

Writing the old way
Take essay writing. If you've ever had to write a long essay by hand or with a typewriter, you'll be familiar with the process. It goes something like this:

  • Jot down an outline of what you want to say.
  • Write a first draft, perhaps leaving those difficult first and last paragraphs in an embryonic form, so you can work on them in the next draft.
  • Read over your first draft, decide that paragraph C should be swapped with paragraph K and notice all the misspellings and word usage you want to change.
  • Write a second draft, which you're hoping will be the final draft, so you agonize over that first paragraph and try to get everything just right.
  • Read through your second draft and realize that paragraph C looked better in its original position, you left out one key reference entirely, you've missed two spelling errors and you're still not happy with your first paragraph.
  • Write a final draft, read it over and use white-out on the remaining spelling error.

Does that sound at all familiar? I can still remember the ache in my hand from going through this process on a 10,000 word essay.

Writing the new way
A word processor eliminates almost all the hard work in this process, leaving you to concentrate on the important part: getting your ideas across clearly. With a word processor the process goes like this:

  • Jot down an outline of what you want to say.
  • Expand on each idea, using your existing outline as headings or paragraph lead-ins, creating a first draft. You don't worry too much about the opening paragraph as you know you can come back and insert it at any time you feel inspired.
  • Run the spelling checker through your document, read through your first draft, click and drag paragraphs C and K to their new locations, and change words you don't like.
  • Read your draft again, swap paragraphs C and K again, and finalize your opening paragraph.

Instead of writing three (or more) drafts, you've written one and then tinkered with it to your heart's content. Right up to the last instant before you print it, you can make small or large changes with little effort.

The key to it all is the in-built editing features of your word processor.

Selecting text

In the previous article in this series, you learned the basic steps involved in word-by-word editing: how to move around your document, change a word here and there, select words, sentences and paragraphs.

There's more to editing than changing an occasional word, of course. In the essay example above, much of the editing process involved restructuring the essay, moving whole paragraphs, and inserting large chunks of text. All this is painstaking by hand or using a typewriter but beautifully simple using any word processor.

Familiarizing yourself

Becoming familiar with selecting text is crucial to making any changes to your document, whether those changes are editing or formatting (changing the look of the document): first you select the text, then you replace it, cut it, copy it, move it, delete it, or change its appearance.

You learned the basics of selection in the last article: you click and drag across text to select any amount of text, from a letter to a whole document; double-click a word to select it. Each word processing program has additional shortcuts for selecting anything from a sentence to a paragraph to an entire document.

The case of the disappearing text

One of the most important things to remember is that if you have text selected in your document, typing anything on the keyboard will replace the selected text. This is one of the traps that catches beginners all the time.

For instance, say you select the first paragraph in your document, planning to move it down below the second paragraph. Before you get a chance to do that, you accidentally tap the Spacebar. Your first paragraph will disappear in a flash, replaced by a single space. It's no big deal as long as you keep your wits about you: just click the Undo icon or choose Undo from the menu. Watch out for this – it's easy to select some text and then type something without realizing you're replacing existing text.

Why does selection work like this? So it's easy to change text to something else. Often, you'll want to replace a word or phrase: all you need to do is select the phrase and type your replacement text, a nice quick two-step process.

Watch for the highlights

This works in any Windows application and in Windows dialog boxes as well, so take notice of it. If you have a dialog box in front of you, notice if any text is selected (highlighted). If it is, there's no need to hit Delete or Backspace to get rid of it, just go ahead and type.

Equally important, if you don't want to replace the selected text you need to click somewhere in the document or dialog box to deselect the text. (Clicking in a blank space on your page is a useful trick not only for deselecting text but also for closing a menu you've accidentally opened.)

The Clipboard

A lot of the changes you'll make to documents will involve deleting, copying and moving text. Windows makes this process easy by providing a feature called the Clipboard. The Clipboard is a space in your computer's memory for storing data (slabs of text, spreadsheet figures, graphics) temporarily.

Try this:

  1. Open a document.
  2. Write three or four sentences.
  3. Highlight the first sentence and choose Cut from the Edit menu (or click the Cut icon in your word processor's toolbar).

The sentence will disappear from your document.

4. Now, click immediately before the third sentence to position the insertion point there and select Paste from the Edit menu, or click the Paste icon on the toolbar.

The sentence you deleted will reappear at your insertion point, moving the third sentence over to make room. Check that there's still a space between the sentence you inserted and the third sentence: you may need to insert a space manually, although some advanced word processors are smart enough to do this for you.

This is the usual process for moving text in a document. You:

  1. Select the text
  2. Cut it
  3. Move the insertion point to the new position.
  4. Paste the text.

If you want to copy a piece of text instead of moving it, use Copy and Paste instead of Cut and Paste.

Where'd the text go?
The text you cut is placed on the Clipboard, available to be pasted anywhere in your current document, another document or even in another program altogether. The Clipboard holds one item at a time: anything you cut or copy to the Clipboard will remain there until you cut or copy something else. This means you can Cut an item to the Clipboard and then Paste it multiple times.

Remember, you have to use the Cut or Copy commands to place text on the Clipboard. If you highlight some text and press Delete or Backspace to delete it, the text will not be placed on the Clipboard, it will simply disappear.

Moving and copying text
You can probably see how useful Cut, Copy and Paste can be in restructuring a document. These commands are also terrific for moving or copying information between documents. Because Windows supplies a single Clipboard for all the applications you run, anything you copy to the Clipboard from one program will be available to any other Windows program. So, for example, one way to place a graphic in your word processing document is to:

  1. Open a graphics program and create a graphic.
  2. Select the graphic and Copy it to the Clipboard.
  3. Open your word processing program, position the insertion point and click the Paste button.

Similarly, you can copy text from one document to another by opening the first document, selecting the text, clicking the Copy button, opening the second document, positioning the insertion point and clicking Paste.

Dragging and dropping

Cut, Copy and Paste are great techniques to master because they are universal. Once you learn these techniques, you can use them in any Windows program worth its salt.

If you want to be more efficient, most new word processors offer an even simpler technique for moving of copying text within a document: drag and drop. With drag and drop you don't need to use the Clipboard. Instead, you:

  1. Select the text you want to move.
  2. Position your cursor so it's within the selected text. The cursor will change shape – to an arrow-head pointing towards the left margin in Microsoft word processors (in Microsoft Works you'll see the word 'drag' beneath the cursor), to a little hand in Lotus programs, and so on.
  3. Hold down the mouse button and drag the text to its new position, then release the mouse button.

Simple, huh?

If you want to copy the text rather than move it, hold down the Ctrl key while you click and drag the text.

Dragging between applications

In Windows 95 word processors, this process of drag and drop even works between applications.

For instance, you can open up your word processor and, say, your e-mail editor, right-click in a vacant space on the Windows 95 Taskbar and choose Tile Vertically or Tile Horizontally to position both windows side by side, and then click and drag selected text (or Ctrl-click and drag it to copy it) from one window to another.

Coming up

By now, you should have all the basics of editing documents under your belt. You should be able to:
  • enter text
  • move around your document using the arrow keys, Ctrl-arrow combinations or the mouse
  • insert text and correct errors
  • select, replace, delete, move and copy text
  • move text or other items from one document to another using the Clipboard.

The next step is to make your words look good. This involves using the formatting tools of your word processor: setting tabs and margins, changing the style and look of the typeface you use, positioning text on the page. That's what we'll do in the next article in this series.

In the meantime, remember to watch what you're doing, practice new techniques on non-urgent documents, and save your work often.

Formatting Your Documents
Getting your words down on 'paper' is only part of producing a document. Just as important is making your document look good. A well-formatted letter, report or memo is easier to read, draws attention to the most important information, and creates a receptive and favorable impression in the reader.

"Word processors provide you with the tools to make your documents look good. They can't give you taste and a sense of style – although some of the upmarket word processors can automatically apply consistent styles to your documents to make them look smart – but they do supply you with everything you need to take your words from raw text to stylish output."

Text Formatting
Most word processor users spend far too much time on the details of formatting. Following a few simple rules can make life easier.

Your document is something to be read, not put on a wall and admired for its artistic qualities. Concentrate on making it readable, not beautiful. On the other hand, a badly-formatted document is harder to read, and may annoy the reader.

Unless you have a very good reason for doing otherwise, use one font for the whole of your document. Having a lot of different fonts makes things confusing for the reader, and wastes your time into the bargain. Use a standard font (e.g. Times Roman) in a normal size (e.g. 11 point).

For term papers, essays etc., double-space the lines and make sure the paper margins are wide enough for the reader to be able to write comments.

In general, you should only use bold for headings. Use italics for emphasis, for titles of books or for foreign words (remember that Turkish counts as a foreign language here!). As you can see from this paragraph, using bold normally makes a word stand out too much.

Keep tables simple. Using a lot of colors and patterns only distracts the reader. Similarly, only use borders and boxes if they are really necessary.

Leave one space after commas, colons and semi-colons, and two spaces after the end of a sentence (unless you're using a program which does this automatically, such as LyX).

If you are submitting a paper, find out if the person you are submitting it to has any special requirements. They may, for example, want you to number section headings, or conversely not to use section headings at all. Normally a cover page is required; find out what information needs to go on it and how it should be laid out.

File Formats

An irritating feature of word processors is that they all have their own formats for saving files. Not all word processors can read all file formats, so be careful which format you save in if you want other people to be able to read your documents, or if you want to use your own document with a different program. Use the ``Save as'' or ``Export'' commands from the ``File'' menu to see what formats are available. You can normally tell what format a document is in by looking at the part of its name after the dot. Some common formats are as follows:

[.doc] Microsoft Word Document. Only really suitable if you are only going to use it with MS Word; some other word processors can read it, but they usually lose some formatting in the process (particularly tables and quotation marks). Moreover, there are different versions of the .doc format, so, for example, you may not be able to read Word 97 documents in Word 6.0. Another problem is that it is vulnerable to macro viruses (e.g. the notorious ``Love Letter''). Never send or open e-mail attachments in this format.

[.txt] Plain Text Format (ASCII). No formatting at all really, but very compact. Can be read by any word processor, or inserted into e-mail.

[.rtf] Rich Text Format. Sort of half way between plain text and Word Document. Has some basic formatting (e.g. italics). Not sophisticated, but can be read easily by many processors.

[.html] HyperText Markup Language. This is the standard format for web-pages, but can also be used by and for word processors, so it makes quite a good lingua franca between different programs.

[.pdf] Portable Document Format. Useful for putting long documents on the web or sending them via e-mail; however, it can't normally be edited, so you would normally only use this for distributing your final version. It needs a special program (e.g. Adobe Acrobat) to read it.

[.ps] PostScript. Used mainly for sending files to printers. It can also be viewed using programs such as Ghostview, but can't be edited unless you are prepared to spend years learning how to do it.

[.tex] TEX, a typesetting format which is useless in itself, but can be converted easily into other formats such as PostScript, PDF, RTF or HTML.

Other formats, such as .lyx, .kwd, .sdw and so on, are only used by one particular word processor, and therefore need to be converted into something else if you want other programs to be able to read them.

Clean and consistent

Making your documents look good can be as simple as making your headings bold or positioning addresses and salutations correctly in a letter. It can be much more than that, too, but when you're first starting out it's far better to aim for a clean, simple, consistent look to your documents than to try to achieve the ultimate in style. Of course, the ultimate in style may well resemble the clean, simple consistent look you aim for in the first place.

In fact, the most frequent mistake made in formatting documents is to try to do too much: apply multiple styles, use half a dozen fonts, go for fancy layout.

Instead of going for broke, take a look at your document, decide which elements you want to emphasize, and assess how formal the document needs to be. Then do the minimum amount of formatting required to achieve your ends.

How formatting works
As with most word processing tasks, the first step in formatting text is selecting the text you want to format. Decide which text you want to change, select it, and then apply the appropriate formatting.

Some formatting is applied to your whole document (such as page margins), but most is applied to specific portions of text.

You'll find most essential formatting tools on your word processor's toolbars and the ruler. Formatting controls include:

  • bold
  • italic and underlined text;
  • alignment tools;
  • font size and typeface;
  • indentation;
  • tab settings;
  • margin settings.

If you want more control, you may need to use the menu equivalents of these toolbar options. Look for extended formatting tools in a menu named Format or Text (Claris Works breaks it up into Format, Font and Style menus).

Formatting as you go
If you apply formatting after you've completed typing a document you'll find it easy to identify which sections of text are being affected by a particular style of formatting. Things can get a little more confusing if you format as you type. For instance, try this:

    1. Type two paragraphs.
    2. Select both paragraphs and then click the Italics button (usually an italicized I ) on the toolbar.If your word processor doesn't have an Italics button, look for this option under a menu called Style, or under a Font option on a menu called Format. This will italicize the selected text.
    3. Now, click immediately at the end of the first paragraph you typed, and press Enter to begin a new paragraph.
    4. Start typing.

    What happens?

    The new paragraph you type between the two paragraphs is also italicized, even though you didn't select it and format it with italics. This is because information about the formatting for each paragraph is stored in an invisible 'paragraph mark' at the end of the paragraph. If you press Enter, you 'carry over' the existing formatting onto the next line or paragraph.

    Carry over formatting

    This makes sense: you can start a document, format the first paragraph, and then have that style carry over for the rest of the document, including margin indents, typeface and so on.

    However, it can also cause you problems if you don't keep your eyes peeled. It's very easy to end up with carry-over formatting and not know why your paragraph is, for example, appearing centered on the page. You can check the formatting on particular paragraphs by clicking in differently formatted paragraphs in your document: you'll find that the ruler and toolbar icons change to reflect the formatting of the current paragraph. The ruler will show the tab settings and indents for the current paragraph; toolbar buttons such as the alignment buttons will appear 'depressed' if they're currently in effect.

    Let the program do the work

    Most newcomers to word processing make work for themselves by failing to comprehend the amount of work the word processor can do for them.

    The whole point of using a word processor is to let it do as much of the work as possible, freeing you to focus on your words and the overall look of the document.

    Avoid the Enter key

    One common error is to space paragraphs by pressing the Enter key twice. There's no need to do this, as the word processor provides an alternative way that gives you much subtler control over the look of your document.

    To space paragraphs using (almost) any word processor, use this method:

    1. Type your document, pressing Enter once at the end of each paragraph.
    2. Select all the paragraphs in your document and then use the Format Paragraph option to adjust the spacing after each paragraph. For example, in Microsoft Word, open the Format Menu, choose Paragraph, and then adjust the Spacing After to 6 points. In Microsoft Works, open the Format Menu, choose Paragraph, click the Spacing tab, and set the Spacing After to 0.5 li (that's half a line's worth of spacing). In Claris Works, choose Paragraph from the Format Menu, in the Space After box type 6 and in the box beside it, select Points from the list. (Don't try to type 0.5 lines for your spacing in Claris Works – it will appear to be a valid value, but it won't work.) You'll find similar options in WordPerfect, Ami Pro, Word Pro and many other word processors.

    Avoid the Spacebar

  • The overuse of the spacebar is really the biggest mistake of most novices. Because the computer uses better spaced fonts than a typewriter, extra spaces after sentences are not needed. There should be no extra spaces after colons, semi-colons, etc.

    Most importantly, never use the space bar to move text over on the page. If you want the text to be centered on the page, let the word processing program center it for you. Most programs have an icon on the Formatting toolbar at the top of the page that will center the text automatically. Then if you change the size of the page the text will still be centered. If you want to indent the first line of a paragraph, use the tab key not the space bar, or set up a paragraph with a first line indent.

    If you would like to create text or numbers in columns, again, don't use the space bar to move the text. Instead set tab stops by clicking your mouse in the ruler at the top of the screen. There are several different types of tabs that can be used. Read the word processor's help file to learn how to use them. In a program like Word you can also create columns automatically. Choose format, then Columns, then fill in the information requested to create the columns of the size and type to fit your needs.

    This is a common error in the way people use word processors is to align text by using the Spacebar, instead of using tab stops or ruler settings.

  • For instance, take a look at the text in the following screenshot:

    Figure 1: Aligning text using tabs

    See how it contains a list of items, neatly aligned in columns?

    A common beginner's approach to creating such columns is to type a word, press the Spacebar multiple times to position the next column, type the next word, press the spacebar again and so on. On the next line, they try to align words under the existing text by repeatedly pressing the Spacebar again.

    Proportional and monospaced typefaces

    Not only is this incredibly tedious and wasteful of your time, it also won't work.

    Most word processing typefaces are proportional , meaning each character is a different width (contrast this with monospaced typefaces, where each character – such as M and I – occupy the same width).

    For example, contrast the word smile in the proportional Times New Roman font with the same word printed beneath in the monospaced Courier New font:



    See how each character is a different width in the proportional font – making it very space efficient, by the way. The monospaced font has no such elegance.

    So, trying to type words and then fill the gaps between them with spaces will lead to uneven alignment.

    The ruler

    Word processors offer a quick, neat way to align text using tabs . In most word processors, you have enormous control over tab settings, allowing you to create aligned text very rapidly.

    Most word processors have a ruler which lets you set indentation, margins and tab settings. You'll usually find it situated near the toolbars at the top of the page.

    The ruler, like the toolbars, provides single-click shortcuts to controlling the most common elements of paragraph indentation and tabs. If you need additional control, you'll need to check out options on the Format or Text menus, which will give you greater control.

    Using the ruler

    Use tabs when you want columns of words or numbers to be aligned. You can also use tables to do this task, but not all word processors support tables, and tabs are usually less complex to work with.

    To use the ruler, first select the paragraph(s) you want to format, then make the appropriate adjustments to the tab settings, indents and margins. You can then select another paragraph and apply a different group of settings if you wish.

    Have a look at the screenshot below. It's similar to the previous screenshot, but highlights the features of Microsoft Word's ruler. While not all word processor rulers are the same, you'll get a good idea of what's possible by examining the Word ruler.

    Figure 2. Features of the Microsoft Word ruler

    A. Tab style selector: click to select between left-aligned, right-aligned, centered or decimal tabs.
    B. Left indent marker: Click and drag to indent the second and subsequent lines in a paragraph.
    C. Indent box: Click and drag to indent a whole paragraph.
    D. First line indent marker: Click and drag to indent the first line of a paragraph.
    E. Decimal tab: To position a tab, first use the tab style selector at the left end of the ruler to choose the type of tab you want, then click on the ruler to position a tab. The decimal tab is used to align numbers on their decimal point.
    F. Left-aligned tab: This is the 'default' tab style, aligning text flush left with the tab position.
    G. Right indent marker: Click and drag to change the right indent of all lines.

    Notice the first-line indent on the paragraph created by moving the first-line indent marker to the right on the ruler.
    I. The numbers are aligned around their decimal points, in line with the decimal tab on the ruler.
    J. This last column is left-aligned with the final tab placed on the ruler.

    Readability is the rule

    You'll find most simple formatting controls straightforward to use. Probably the key thing to keep in mind – other than not going overboard with all this power at your fingertips – is to remember that the key purpose of almost any document is communication. Therefore, any formatting you apply should go towards increasing the readability of your document.

    Don't get caught up in too many other 'rules'. For example, many people believe you should justify paragraphs in letters (justified paragraphs are spread across the page so the right and left margins are both perfectly even). This looks fine when you're working in columns – as in magazines or newspapers – but doesn't work so well on wider expanses, as you end up with uneven gaps between words that actually decrease the legibility.

    We tend to get taught a whole bunch of rules about formatting documents such as letters – where the address should go, where your signature should go, and so on. Don't fret too much about these things. Instead, take a good look at your page and see just how balanced it looks, how readable it is.

    Pre-designed styles

    If you're really wanting to make a good impression and don't trust your own judgment, you'll find most of the good word processors (including Microsoft Works and Claris Works) come with a range of pre-written templates (aka wizards, experts, tutors and various other names). You can use these templates as guidelines for creating your own letters.

    Even if you want to do your own work from scratch, taking a look at some of these templates will give you an idea of what's possible and what makes good formatting sense.

    Customizing Word's toolbars

    Toolbars are the handiest thing since the invention of the RotoRooter. With a single click of a toolbar icon you can accomplish a task that might take you two, three or four clicks via the menus. Three clicks here or there may sound like a small thing, but over time those clicks add up into a mountain of extra effort.

    As handy as they are, there's no toolbar extant that couldn't do with some improvement, and that's certainly the case with the toolbars in Microsoft Office. Microsoft has been tinkering with the Office toolbars for a long time and it still hasn't got some of the basics right. Why, for instance, is there no Close button on the Standard toolbar? In Word 2000 there are New, Open and Save buttons, and then, right where you'd expect a Close button, there's an E-mail button instead. It seems Microsoft's attitude is, "Never was, never will be a Close button."

    Roll your own

    The neat thing is, you don't have to put up with Microsoft's decisions. You can customize the Office toolbars to your heart's content. Which, after all, is the sensible solution. No two people use Office in quite the same way, so a one-size-fits-all toolbar is going to please very few people.

    I'm going to show you how to tweak the Office toolbars to suit your own desires. I'll focus on Word 2000; you'll find most of the techniques work in the other Office programs (with the exception of Publisher) and in Office 97 as well.

    Some basic shifts

    Word has two default toolbars – the Standard toolbar and the Formatting toolbar – which display when you first install it. In Word 2000, Microsoft crams these two toolbars onto the same row, making it impossible to see the complete contents. Instead, you'll find a More Buttons icon at the far-right, which you press to see the buttons that don't fit.

    It's a dumb arrangement, which you can easily correct:

    1. From the Tools Menu, select Customize.
    2. Click the Options tab.
    3. Click to remove the checkmark beside the Standard And Formatting Toolbars Share One Row option, and click Close.

    Display Word 2000's two default toolbars in their entirety by adjusting this Customize setting.

    Now you'll see the two toolbars one above the other, as in Word 97.

    If you don't like having the toolbars at the top of the screen, you can move them elsewhere. Notice how each toolbar has a little handle at its left end. To move a toolbar, grab its handle and drag it to a new position. You can make it 'float' over the document window, or you can drag it to any edge of the Word window to make it 'dock' there. When you make a toolbar float, it loses its handle and gains its own title bar instead – drag it by that title bar to move it into a new position.

    You can also use the handle to resize a toolbar. That's handy when you want to place a couple of toolbars side-by-side on the same row (or one above the other).

    Try to avoid placing toolbars that include drop-down lists (such as the font-picker on the Formatting toolbar) to the sides of the screen: Those drop-down lists don't function well when the toolbar is docked vertically and, in fact, you lose some toolbar buttons when you do this.

    A cornucopia of toolbars
    The Standard and Formatting toolbars are the tip of the iceberg. Right-click anywhere on one of these toolbars and you'll be presented with a long list of toolbars that usually remain hidden. Select a toolbar that isn't checked to display it; select a checked toolbar to hide it.

    This list isn't the whole story. If you right-click a toolbar and choose Customize from the pop-up menu, then click the Toolbars tab, you'll see there are even more toolbars tucked away in the closet. There's also a New button in the Customize dialog. This button is the route to complete toolbar freedom: Click it, and in the New Toolbar dialog give your new toolbar a name, make your toolbar available within all your documents by choosing in the Make Toolbar Available To box, and click OK.

    Hey presto! You'll see a new blank toolbar appear. Drag it to a convenient location (perhaps underneath your Formatting toolbar).

    Populating a new toolbar
    In its virgin state, your new toolbar isn't worth the real estate it occupies. What you need to do is stock it with the commands you use most which don't get a look in on the other toolbars. Why not stick a Close option on this toolbar, for starters? Here's how:

    1. Right-click a toolbar and choose Customize from the pop-up menu.
    2. Click the Commands tab.
    3. In the Categories list on the left, choose File. The Commands list on the right now shows all the File Menu commands. In fact, it contains a whole lot more commands than you'll find if you open the File Menu. That's because your screen just isn't long enough to accommodate a fully stocked File Menu. (In true Microsoft hide-the-tools-in-case-the-kids-hurt-themselves fashion, this list of File Menu commands isn't exhaustive, either. If you want to see the full list, scroll down the Categories list and select All Commands, then scroll through the Commands list to find all commands beginning with File. That, it seems, is the full list. Now, reselect the File Menu from the Categories list before you continue.)
    4. Locate the Close command and drag-and-drop it onto your newly created Toolbar.

    From the Customize dialog, drag the desired toolbar command onto your newly created toolbar. The result, as can be seen below, is a new command on the toolbar:

    Your toolbar is now functional. You could click Close now, and start to make use of it. But before you do that, why not add some more buttons to make it more useful? Here are some I find useful:

    Edit -> Select All

    Edit -> Find

    Edit -> Replace

    Window & Help -> Next Window (for quickly moving between multiple documents)

    Window & Help -> Previous Window

    Tools -> Word Count

    Tools -> Tools Calculate

    That last command is great for turning Word into a quick calculator. Just type an equation – such as (85*11+746/12)*19% – then select it and click your Calculate button to display the answer in the status bar at the bottom of the window and copy it to the clipboard. It's handy for doing quick column totals in tables, too.

    If you're not sure what one of the commands does, select it, then click the Description button to see a pop-up info box. Click Close once you're done.

    Altering existing toolbar buttons
    Just as you can create your own toolbar full of icons, you can also create, move and delete icons on any of the existing toolbars. When you have the Customize box displayed, all the toolbars become morphable. In this state, you can:

    • Click-and-drag an icon to move it from one toolbar to another.
    • Click-and-drag an icon into the document window to delete it from a toolbar.
    • Click-and-drag an icon slightly to the right to create a divider between it and the icon to its left.
    • Right-click an icon to change its looks and name or to attach a hyperlink to it.

    If you don't like the way Microsoft has grouped its icons, you can rearrange them. For instance, that Close button that you put on your newly minted toolbar might go better next to the Open and Save buttons on the Standard toolbar. Drag it up there, if you like.

    Similarly, you may never use some of the options that make it onto the Standard and Formatting toolbars. Why not delete them, or create a new "Infrequently used" toolbar, drag-and-drop them there, then hide that toolbar away until you need it.

    Prettying up your toolbar
    You'll find that not all commands have their own icon. When you add such a command to a toolbar, the command name is displayed, instead of an icon. For instance, if you add the Select All command to a toolbar, you'll see the words Select All displayed instead of an icon. If you prefer icons to command labels – after all, they take up much less space – you can edit the toolbar button to give it a new face. (Of course, you can also do the reverse, if you find labels more useful than indecipherable icons.) To edit a toolbar button to display an icon instead of a label:

    1. Display the Customize dialog box by right-clicking a toolbar and choosing Customize from the pop-up menu.
    2. Right click the button you wish to change and choose Default Style. The label will disappear and in its place will be a blank button.
    3. Right-click the button once more, choose Change Button Image and select one of the pre-fab button images. If you don't like any of the choices, click the Edit Button Image option instead to load the button editor. You can then design your own button from scratch. If you, like me, have little artistic bent, you can always select one of the default images and then use the Edit Button Image option to tailor it to your liking.
    4. Click Close when you're done.

    Word's Button Editor in action and, below, the results.

    Restoring the defaults
    What happens if you completely muck things up? Never fear, you can reset individual buttons to their original state and you can also reset entire toolbars to the default settings.

    To reset a button:

    1. Display the Customize dialog box by right-clicking a toolbar and choosing Customize from the pop-up menu.
    2. Right click the button in question and choose Reset from the pop-up menu.

    To reset an entire toolbar:

    1. Display the Customize dialog box by right-clicking a toolbar and choosing Customize from the pop-up menu.
    2. Select the toolbar in the list then click the Reset button.
    3. In the Reset Toolbar dialog, select and click OK.

    If you make lots of changes to your own toolbars, consider making a copy of and storing it somewhere safe. That way, if you have to format and reinstall, you can recover your new settings by copying back into the Templates folder.

    Useful tips

    Find out which things your program can do automatically (lists, styles etc.). For example, this list was produced with a style called "enumerate'' - We didn't need to put in any of the numbers or spaces ourself. If necessary, find out how to stop it doing things (look for a menu entitled "Options'', "Settings'' or "Preferences''). Many features are useless or annoying (e.g. changing (c) to a copyright sign).

    Get to know your keyboard, especially how the Ctrl, Shift, arrow and page keys work (e.g. in most programs hitting Shift-End will block all text to the end of the line). Find out what the Alt or Alt Gr key does in combination with other keys; you may not have realized that your keyboard can produce characters like â or î, for example. Learn the most common key-bindings ("hot-keys''), e.g. Ctrl-B for bold, Ctrl-S for Save etc. Remember that when you are typing, your hands are on the keyboard, not on the mouse.

    Unless your program handles indentation automatically, use the tab key or the rulers to indent text, rather than hitting the space bar repeatedly. Check to see if it has predefined styles for things like blockquotes.

    When you start writing an essay, it's often a good idea to copy the main items in your outline into your essay as section headings. This will save you time later, and reminds you to keep to your plan. If your program doesn't have a predefined style for section headings (or you don't like the one it has), put them in bold, and make the font size slightly bigger than the rest of your text.

    While writing, save regularly - don't trust the "Autosave'' feature. In most programs, all you need to do is hit Ctrl+S, so do it after each paragraph. Make a backup copy when you finish: "My computer had a virus'' is not a very good excuse for not submitting work.

    Use a spellchecker if your program has one, but do not trust it. Many words you use will not be in the computer's dictionary, and some words may be in the dictionary but have the wrong spelling for that context (e.g. "effect'' instead of "affect''). Never use the "Change all'' or "Replace all'' option - you may end up changing words that are actually correct, or correcting them in the wrong way.

    Do major formatting, such as page breaks, right at the end - you don't want to have to keep changing things. If your program has a print previewer, use it to make sure your document looks OK before you print it out.

    After you print your document, read it again. Sometimes you miss mistakes when you're looking at a computer screen, but you notice them when you see them on paper.

  • VI. Using Word Processor For Specific Projects
    We are going to give more specific training for specific job tasks and assignments you may see when working as a work-from-home data processor. Knowing how to do each of these tasks will take the guesswork out of completing an assignment.

    We are going to give you some more audio/visual tutorial.

    Creating Mail Merge and Letter Documents
    This is a very common assignment for creating mass mailings, and personal mailings for companies. We are going to give you an audio/visual tutorial on this.


    Creating Tables and Cells for Spreadsheets
    Creating spreadsheets in your word processor can be done in a couple of different ways; for one you can transfer a spreadsheet from an existing program such as Microsoft Excel, or create cells and tables to insert the data.


    Editing Tables and Cells Using Outside Sources
    This tutorial will deal with using outside editors to create spreadsheets, tables, rows etc.


    Adding Graphics and Decor to a Presentation
    Adding graphics to a presentation, letter, flier, etc. will be an important feature to learn.


    Part 2
    Backgrounds, borders and decor to document

    Document Outlining
    Some companies will have create document outlines from scratch, and this is a perfect audio/visual tutorial on exactly how to do this.


    XML Formatting and Documentation
    It will be important to understand what XML, is and how popular it will be when you are doing outsource assignments.


    Part 2
    Using XML in Word Processor

    Data Research
    You will always need to do a little research when working on any assignments, this tutorial will teach you how to easily do your research using features in your word processor.


    VII. Practice and a Quiz
    Giving you this tutorial was to let you get your feet wet, so-to-speak. Learning your word processor can prove to be one of the best things you can do for a work-from-home experience. There are so many jobs that cannot be filled due to the lack of qualified people who are able to do some of the things we have shown you.

    Practice, Practice, Practice
    You will need to use your word processor as often as you can to get thoroughly familiar with it. We suggest you start creating anything, and everything you can with your word processor. For example, you can create your own business cards, Christmas cards, fliers for a party you may be having, event calendars, and you can start inputting your personal finances onto spreadsheets. Anytime you use your word processor you will get better and better.

    We have a 25 question quiz for you to take if you choose. This may help guage you knowledge of your word processor. Click the link below to take the quiz. If you score 90% or better, you have a pretty good grasp on how your word processor works.


    VIII. Getting Data Entry Work
    On our data entry job board we list several companies, individuals, and current job postings that are in need of your services. We have designed a unique way to get up-to-the-minute jobs postings. We will give you more details in our job board section.

    Your Own Business
    If you choose, starting your own outsource data entry business can be very easy to do. We will teach you how you can set up your own blog page to promote the services you provide. Here you can give details on your service specialty or specialties. Then simply print some business cards, fliers etc. listing your blog page URL address.

    Contract Work
    One of the best opportunities to get data entry jobs is to subscribe to a service called Contracted Work. This company will post hundreds, even thousands of current projects, and all you have to do is bid on how much you are willing to get paid to complete the job. If the person posting the job accepts your bid, then you get the job. You do not need to post a resumé etc. Contracted Work does charge a small monthly fee, of $14.00. It is well worth the charge because what they provide is: Your own e-store to showcase your services, an escrow account which will assure you get paid for your assignments, and more. This is an optional source, but a very valuable one that can keep you busy for a long time with work-from-home data entry and word processing. We suggest you give this a try once you have enhanced your word processing skills. The $14.00 will be made up with just your first assignment in most cases. We will list more details in our job board.


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