A Writer’s Guide to Using Word TM

Let’s talk about setting up your document. Choose:      

  • File –› New –› Blank Document (Control [CTRL] keystroke [N]) will do the same thing.)

     When you have your document, you need to set up the page.

  • File –› Page SetUp –›
    • Paper size: Letter (8-1/2 x 11 in.)
    • If you want, you can select Print Options, and choose reverse order (which actually stacks multiple page documents in the correct order) or draft output (which saves ink.)
  • File –› Page SetUp –›
    • Layout: This is where you can get in and set it up to have a different header on the first page.

Claiming your ownership

If you open someone else’s document as a back door into the word processing program, beware. That person might have set the original up with his or her name listed as owner. You’re not going to see it.

Warning: A savvy editor, reviewing an online document, knows how to find out who is listed as the author and who owns it. If that doesn’t match your name, you may get disqualified, and never know the reason why.

Even if you put your name on the header of the work or within the body of the document, the old ownership (or no ownership at all!) travels with the document, unseen, until you get in there and change it. Here’s how to do it:

  • File –› Properties –›
        • The “General” tab provides basic information about your document, including the date it was created, when it was last modified, and when it was last accessed. If your work is taken by someone disreputable but not completely computer knowledgeable, the general tab and other properties you enter may help protect your unregistered copyright.
        • The “Summary” tab allows you to put in your title/name/comments, in this case, I entered these values:

    Title: Using Word instead of Letting it Use You

             Subject: Using Word as a Tool
             Author: Sandra Kischuk
             Manager: Sandra Kischuk
             Company: Living Beyond Limits
             Category: FWA Presentation
        Although Word 2003 does not seem to have the capability to search at the properties level, I would expect this option to be available in the future.
    • The “Statistics” tab lets you know how big the document is and the number of times you have revised it.
    • The “Contents” tab is where you can add additional document information.
    • The “Custom” tab is used when multiple people have different responsibilities related to one document. You can use it to claim ownership: By “Name,” type in your name. Check “Owner.” set “Type” as Text. You can also put in the date completed, status, etc. Just set the type to match the kind of information you are recording.

View and Toolbars

Usually, I find the easiest way to work with a document is:

  • View –› Check Normal and Ruler

Having the right toolbars open is essential to managing your document. Admittedly, these take up valuable real estate (your screenspace), but having them readily available can save a lot of time:

  • Tools –› Customize –› (Check boxes on for Menu Bar, Formatting, and Standard). You may want to try checking some of the other boxes just to see what they offer.)
  • To the right of a Toolbar on your screen, you may see a shaded down arrow indicating that there are more options for that toolbar that are not currently displayed. If you hover your cursor over any particular symbol, a text description of its meaning will pop up.

Header and Page Numbers and Word Counts:

This is how to get those page numbers that don’t arbitrarily wander from page to page and get a word count that doesn’t count the words in your title.

  • View –› Header and Footer –› (A Header box will show as active and the rest of your document will be grayed out. Type in your title. You may have to highlight the words you type and go to: Format –› Font –› (Select Times New Roman, Regular, 12, Font Color Black).
  • While the box is still active, tab over to the right, Now look at the toolbar that popped up when you opened the Header and Footer. If you select the “#” icon, the page number will show in the header on each page. If you then type in a “/” (slash), you can select the “++” icon and the total number of pages in the document will appear following the page number. So if you have a three page document, the upper right hand corners will show 1/1, 1/2, and 1/3.
  • Tools –› Word Count will get you the number of pages and word count.

Breaks—How to Control Document Formatting

Use breaks to control layout within a page or between pages of a document.
Page and Column Breaks:

  • Insert –› Break –› (Break types) Page break will ensure that your chapters start on their own pages.

If you are working with multiple columns, you will have far more control over the appearance of your page if you use a column break to move your text from one column to the next. This can be useful if you want to drop in graphics or tables and keep tight control of the surrounding text.

  • Insert –› Break –› (Break types) Column break will move your text to the next column.

If you want your text to wrap around an image, select the item in your document, then:

  • Format –› AutoShape –› Layout (then select your wrapping style). You can place an image In line with text, Tight, Square, Behind text, In front of text. You can also click on advanced options to further control image placement.

Section Breaks are how you control page numbering and formatting within a document:

  • Insert –› Break –› (Section break) Next Page will move immediately following text to the next page. It inserts a section break and starts a new section on the next page.

If you want to continue header style and numbering from the previous section, make sure, when you put your cursor in the header, that the words “continue from previous section” appear above the upper right of the header box. If you want different information in your heading, click on the “link to previous” icon to break the sections apart.

At this point you can put your curser in the header of the new section, decide where you want a page number. Then you select:

  • Insert –› Page Number –› Format. Now you can decide what style you want the section page numbers, whether to include a chapter number, whether the section is a continuation of the previous chapter numbering or whether you want the page numbers to start at a different number.
  • Insert –› Break –› (Section break) Continuous inserts a section break and starts the new section on the same page. This is convenient for managing format changes and different column specifications on a particular page.
  • Insert –› Break –› (Section break) Even page/Odd page allows you to create a section break with subsequent material continued on the next even page or odd page—useful if you want your chapters to always start on a left hand (even) or right hand (odd) page.

After you have inserted section breaks to divide the document into sections, you can format each section the way you want.

Section formats you can control:

  • Margins
  • Paper size or orientation
  • Paper source for a printer
  • Page borders
  • Vertical alignment
  • Headers and footers
  • Columns
  • Page numbering
  • Line numbering
  • Footnotes and endnotes

IMPORTANT: A section break controls the section formatting of the text that precedes it. For example, if you delete a section break, the preceding text becomes part of the following section and assumes its section formatting. Note that the last paragraph mark in the document controls the section formatting of the last section in the document— or of the entire document if it doesn’t contain sections.

Note If you have already inserted a Page Break to cause a chapter to start on a new page, delete the page break and replace it with a section break that starts on a new page.

To start page numbering with 1 after the first page:

For example, you can omit page numbers for the document’s title page or introduction and then start page numbering later in the document using Roman numerals, then create a new section to continue numbering in Arabic numerals.

  • Click in the section in which you want to start page numbering.
  • View –› Header and Footer.
  • If you want to position the page numbers at the bottom of the page, click Switch Between Header and Footer on the Header and Footer toolbar, or move between them with the up and down arrow keys.
  • If a header or footer has been defined for a previous section in the document, click Link to Previous on the Header and Footer toolbar to break the connection between the header or footer in the current section and the previous section.
  • If there’s already text in the header or footer that you don’t want, delete the text before inserting the page number.
  • Insert –› Page Numbers –› Format.
  • In the Start at box, enter the page number you want to start with.


Most publications want double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman font. How do you get it?

  • Format –› Font –› (Select Times New Roman, Regular, 12, Font Color Black)

And the double spacing? Don’t hit the [Enter], twice to get it. If you haven’t started typing anything yet:

  • Format –› Paragraph –› Indents and Spacing
  • Align: Left
  • Indentation: If you choose: Special: First Line, By: .5, you will get a consistent first line indent on your paragraphs.
  • Spacing: Line spacing, Double.

If you already have information typed in, highlight the portion you want to change. If you want to change the whole document, highlight everything or

  • Select “All” – Control [CTRL] keystroke [A]
  • With the material highlighted, format your Font and Paragraph as above.

Another slick trick is to place your cursor within the paragraph you wish to space, or highlight the whole document.

  • Control [CTRL] keystroke [1] will single space the selected text
  • Control [CTRL] keystroke [2] will double space the selected text
  • Control [CTRL] keystroke [Z] will back out changes you have made.

Symbols and Effects

First, that little TM. Where does that come from? Along with the © symbol. Go to:

  • Insert –› Symbol –› (you’ll find these characters under the Font: Symbol selection) Highlight the character you want, select Insert at the bottom of the dialogue box, then close the box (Select the red ‘X’ in the upper left hand corner.)

While we’re looking at all the neat symbols in the text box, select:

  • Insert –› Symbol –› (you’ll find these characters under the Font: (Times New Roman – more about that later. What is neat here is that you can find all those odd and foreign characters: é, á, ń for starters. Now you don’t have to pull out your pen and add in those odd accents and tildes [ ~ ] by hand.)
  • Underline – Control [CTRL] [keystroke] U
  • Italics – Control [CTRL] [keystroke] I
  • Bold – Control [CTRL] [keystroke] B

Text manipulation commands:

  • Edit –› Select All – Control [CTRL] [keystroke] A
  • Edit –› Copy – Select desired text, Control [CTRL] [keystroke] C
  • Edit –› Cut (Delete) – Select desired text, Control [CTRL] [keystroke] X
  • Edit –› Paste – Select desired position to place text, Control [CTRL] [keystroke] V
  • Edit –› Save – (the whole document), Control [CTRL] [keystroke] S

Other Tools

  • Tools –› Spelling and Grammar (You can have the system check a certain word or the whole document, but it is not 100%).
  • Tools –› Language –› Thesaurus (Do not quite have the right word? This fast and dirty way may occasionally solve your problem.)
  • Tools –› Options –› Spelling and Grammar tab (You can find a lot to pick, but checking readability statistics can be quite useful. If you select that, run a spell check over your whole document and the readability statistics will pop up at the end—the percentage of passive sentences, Flesch reading ease, and Flesch-Kincaid grade level.)
  • Edit –› Find (Replace) (Know that word is somewhere in your document. Use the Find command to locate it. Or maybe you decide that your character Hieronymus should really just be called Sam. Use the Replace command to fix all of it. Be careful in replacing smaller words since quite often they will appear as parts of other words, and if you [Replace All], you might not be real happy with the results. You can also select a word you have and Find other examples of it in your document.


  • If you don’t have Microsoft WordTM, you can download a free word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation software package from http://www.openoffice.org. Although not as full featured as WordTM and operating a little differently, the folks at Open Office are continuously improving the product. You just go out and download the changes (they let you know when it happens and there’s no charge). Open Office will let you save documents in its own proprietary format, or you can choose to have them saved in Word? or WordPerfect?. I keep it as a backup when WordTM decides it is not going to let me delete page breaks. I copy the whole documents into Open Office, clean it up, and copy it back into WordTM.
  • Another free tool to download is at http://www.wordweb.info. It provides more information than Microsoft’s Thesaurus or language links, and is quicker to use. Hold down your control button, and right click a word—find out everything about it from synonyms, definitions, origins, and even what it sounds like.


  • To make a copy of the active window, press ALT+PRINT SCREEN.
  • To copy the entire screen as it appears on your monitor, press PRINT SCREEN. Note
  • To paste the image into a document, click the Edit menu in the document window, and then click Paste.

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