Microsoft Word Tips

Microsoft Word Tips

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People have all kinds of obsessions. (Don't get excited; we're not going to list them all here.) Some folks--and this is a clinically proven fact--are obsessed with counting. They count stairs as they climb them. They count the clicks of their directional signal as they wait to make a turn. If there's a clock with a not-so-silent second hand in the room, they count the seconds. If you're one of these people, Word 97 tables probably drive you to distraction: No sooner do you create a table than you start subconsciously--and uncontrollably--counting all the rows and columns. This, of course, wastes time and consumes valuable brain cells (as do all your little obsessive counting sessions). So why not let Word count the rows and columns for you?

To count rows: - Select the entire leftmost column of your table. - Click the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar.

To count columns: - Select the entire top row of your table. - Click the Numbering button on the Formatting toolbar.

And good luck with your little obsession, whatever it is. (By the way, this tip has 203 words, not counting the title--just in case you were curious.)


How fast could YOU indent in an emergency? Imagine you're working away on a document when, suddenly, a voice emerges from your speakers--loud enough for every one in the office to hear. "Your computer has been sabotaged by hackers hired by your company's leading competitor," the voice says, as people begin poking their heads out of the cubicles and looking in your direction. If you don't indent the paragraph you're working one-half inch from the left margin, within two seconds after I say "go," the bomb we've planted in your computer will go off, destroying your company and leaving us as MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE! Ready, set, GO!

What do you do? Press Ctrl-M.

Should you ever need to save lives with a fast unindent, press Ctrl-Shift-M.


OK, maybe every Word user from here to eternity knows that you can change the width of a Word table column or the height of a Word table row by moving the table gridlines with your mouse. But what if you want to change column width or row height to an EXACT amount, one that you can't guess against the marks on Word's rulers?

Well, you could choose Table + Cell Height and Width from the menu, but menus, as we all know, are like your boring Uncle Clyde: an unbearable time-suck to be avoided at all costs. Instead, try this shortcut:

  • Select the column or row you want to change (remember to select ALL the cells in the column and row; otherwise, Word changes only the cells you select).
  • In the horizontal ruler, hold your mouse over the Move Table Column marker (you'll find one for every column) and double-click on it.

The Cell Height and Width dialog box appears, in which you can set row heights and column widths just as precisely as your picayune little heart desires.


Your Word 97 document is beautiful because you've spent lots of time selecting special fonts that make it look the way you want it to. But now, just as you're saving the document file for someone else to use, it hits you: What if he or she doesn't have your fonts installed? The document will look just like everyone else's--the same old boring mix of Times New Roman and Arial you see everywhere. How utterly horrifying!

Hey, no need to get snippy: The truth is, you can save your fonts with your document so that the document looks the same on anyone else's computer as it does on your own, whether that someone else has the same fonts installed or not. Here's how:

  • Choose File + Save As.
  • In the Save As dialog box, click on Options.
  • In the Save dialog box that appears, select Embed True Type fonts in document.
  • Click on OK and then click on Save.


Do you get really into your work? Do you sit down at your desk and start typing in the morning only to find, the next time you look up, that the lights are out and everyone has gone home? Are you momentarily disoriented, wondering if you were abducted by aliens, say, sometime around noon--and if they've been watching you type away, oblivious, in the cargo hold of their mother ship ever since?

Or do you just wonder what page you're on? Lucky for you, Word offers two instant ways to know what page you're on in a document:

  • Check out the lower left corner of the screen.
  • Click and hold the elevator in the vertical scroll bar.

Next time, consider breaking for lunch.


We know your type--the type who needs a little more "graphical reinforcement" than most. When you write on unlined paper, it looks like you wrote during an earthquake; if it weren't for those white lines on the sides of the road, you'd drive right off.

It's no surprise, then, that Word 97's default margin indicators--those gray areas on the rulers--just don't give you the guidance you need. You don't trust them. You ask yourself, "Who's to say, just because that margin's on the ruler, that my text won't keep going right off the page as I continue to type?" And you're continually surprised every time your text wraps.

Well, you don't have to keep living in this kind of suspense. You can get the extra reinforcement you need by displaying your margins right on the page, as follows: - Choose View + Page Layout to display your page in Layout view.

  • Choose Tools + Options and click on the View tab.
  • Under Show, select Text Boundaries.
  • Click on OK.

If this isn't enough, seek help.


At one time or another, you may feel the need to place a copy of one entire Word 97 document within another Word 97 document (we're sure you have other needs, but we have absolutely no interest in discussing them here). You could get this done by copying and pasting: that is, you could open the file you want to copy, select the entire thing, choose Edit + Copy, return to your "target" document, position the cursor where you want the copied document to appear, and choose Edit + Paste.

Of course, if you've got time for all that, you could churn your own butter, too. For those of you with things to do, people to see, and places to go, here's a faster method:

  • Position the insertion point where you want to insert the file.
  • Choose Insert + File.
  • In the list of files, find and double-click on the file you want to insert.


Maybe it's that cute little pair of scissors on the Cut button, maybe it's the word "cut," or maybe it's a deep rooted psychological problem we dare not even imagine. But for some reason, when you want to remove text or objects from your document, you always "cut" them rather than delete them.

Does it make a difference? Sure. When you cut something, Word places the cut material on the Windows 95 Clipboard (until you "cut" or "copy" something else), from which you can then paste it. When you delete something, it vanishes (although, if you deleted recently enough, you can probably get it back with the Undo command).

Our advice: When you want to move something to another location in your document, cut it:

  • Select the text or object.
  • Choose Edit + Cut (or click on the Cut button on the toolbar).

When you're sure that you won't ever need the text or object again, delete it:

  • Select the text or object.
  • Press Delete.

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Ah, a new file. The possibilities! Which of Word 97's built-in, preformatted, ready-to-use templates will you use? The Elegant Letter template, with its understated, er, elegance? The Contemporary Resume template, with the kind of "hep" design that's sure to impress your prospective employer? The Professional Fax template, with its bold, clean lines?

Oh, spare us--we're talking about typing some text, not decorating your !!#$@*% home! Just get to work with a new, blank, normal document, as follows:
- Click on the New button on the Toolbar (or press Ctrl-N).

Of course, each of the aforementioned Word templates is perfectly useful in its own way. When looks count, peruse the templates before you create a new file, as follows:

  • Choose File + New.
  • Click on the appropriate tab (General, Letters & Faxes, Memos, and so on).
  • Select a template from those provided (you can preview the template in the Preview box).
  • When you find the template you want to use, click on OK.


In earlier tips, we explained how to select a whole document. Let's review, shall we?

Of course, you have the ever-popular Ctrl-Home, Ctrl-Shift-End technique, as well as the Ctrl-A "shorter" cut. And here we are with another way to the same thing. It's something we just stumbled upon, the serendipitous result of spending every waking moment using Word 9- In fact, you'll agree that this is the type of rare, undocumented information you can expect only from true software product experts such as we imagine ourselves to be. Without any further ado, here is a third way to select an entire Word 97 document:

  • Hold down the Ctrl key.
  • Click ANYWHERE in the left margin of ANY page.

Rest assured that when we find a fourth way to do the job, you'll be the first to know.


Congratulations: You've used Word 97's outstanding Table of Contents feature to create a table of contents for your document. Now you can be sure that even your easiest-to-disorient readers will never get permanently lost in that tangle of nouns and verbs you generously refer to as your prose. But enough about THEM. What about YOU? What do you get out of having a table of contents? Quite a bit as it turns out, because your TOC also serves as a cute little hyperlinked map of your document, enabling you to jump to any page with a click of your mouse. Try it yourself:

  • In your TOC, find the page you'd like to go to.
  • Click the page number.

Presto--you zip to the page in question. May the wonders of technology never cease.


What would you say if we told you that you may be dramatically shortening the life span of your Backspace and Delete keys? Probably nothing, except to make some remark about the quality of our social lives. And you would be right--but we would, too, because you may be one of the millions of clueless Word users who uses the Backspace or Delete key to remove unwanted text before replacing it with the text you really do want.

If you were hip and with it like us, you'd know that all those keystrokes are unnecessary and wasteful. Because to replace text in Word (and in just about every other Windows application, truth be told), all you have to do is the following:

  • Select the text you want to replace.
  • Type in your new text.

Word magically deletes the selected text and replaces it with your new text. And that quiet sound you hear in the background? That's your Backspace and Delete keys sighing with relief.


Now that Word 97 has quite sensibly disabled the Ins key (instead of using it to toggle to the completely useless Overtype mode), it's free for you to use for something else. Word lets you program the Ins key to paste (or "insert") the contents of the clipboard--in other words, use the Ins key as a shortcut for the Paste command. Here's how to do it:

  • Choose Tools, then Options.
  • Click the Edit tab.
  • Select "Use the Ins key for Paste."
  • Click OK.

We've rigged our Ins keys to spray insecticide. (Just kidding.)


Yes, even though Windows 95 allows you 256 characters with which to name your files in detail, somehow you've managed to misplace that all-important file. Not to worry: Never one to overestimate its customers, Word 97 includes a built-in file finder for people--er, situations--just like yours. Here's how it works:

  • Choose File, then Open (just as if you know where your file is).
  • At the bottom of the Open dialog box (under "Find Files that Match this Criteria"), enter either the file name (if you remember it), the file type (if it is a type other than a Word document), or--and this is the beautiful part--in the text or property box, type any word or text you think the misplaced file might contain.
  • Click Find Now.

Word finds and lists all the files on your hard disk that match your criteria; just double-click on any file to open it.


There's an old saying that goes something like this: Never run when you can walk; never walk when you can sit; never sit when you can lie down; and never just lie down when you can slip into a benign, temporary coma. If this kind of thinking sounds good to you, pay attention because today we show you how to open a Word 97 document without first starting Word! Here's how:

  • Click on the Start button.
  • Choose Open Office Document.
  • Double-click on the Word document you want to open.

The system automatically loads Word for you and then opens the file in question--saving you valuable nanocalories along the way.


In the last tip, we told you how to open an existing Word 97 document without having to start Word yourself. This time, to ensure a minimum level of activity on your part, we explain how to create a new Word document without first starting Word:

  • Click the Start button.
  • Choose New Office Document.
  • In the dialog box that appears, click through the tabs until you find a template for the type of Word document you want to create.
  • Double-click the template icon. Word opens automatically and then creates a new file, using the template you chose.

So, are you gonna spend all the time you saved in one place?


Yep, Word can sure do some fancy tricks. For example, if you type a colon followed by a closed parenthesis, Word transforms the two characters into a cute little smiley face:
If this isn't the epitome of technology benefiting humankind, well, we'd just like to know what is. But a discriminating user like you isn't so easily pleased. "What about ARROWS?" you scream. "How come I can type all kinds of fancy smiley faces, but I can't type a !@##!$ good-looking arrow?"

After washing your mouth out with soap, we recommend you try any or all of the following:

  • To type an arrow that points right, type --> (two dashes and a right-facing chevron).
  • To type a heavier arrow that points right, type ==> (two equal signs and a right-facing chevron).
  • To type an arrow that points left, type (left chevron, equal sign, right chevron).


What separates the word processor from a typewriter? Typographical experts (also known as "font weenies") insist that it's the word processor's ability to use typographically correct dashes instead of minus signs--specifically, an em dash instead of two minus signs and an en dash instead of one minus sign. "This is great for them," you reply, "but if I aspire to font weenie-dom, how can I insert these characters into my documents?" Easily, as follows:

  • To type an em dash, press Ctrl + Alt + the minus sign on the number keypad.
  • To type an en dash, press Ctrl + the minus sign on the number keypad.

Of course, continue to use the minus sign to indicate subtraction, if the need ever arises.


Ask your average grown-up to list the five things he or she hated most about high school, and invariably you'll get the same list:

  • Wedgies
  • Zits
  • Cafeteria food
  • Vomiting on prom night
  • Writing papers with footnotes

Well, here's great news, about 20 years after you needed it: Word 97 makes footnotes a snap! And it doesn't just make footnotes easy to create (as we documented in an earlier tip); it also makes them easy to reference, too.

To read the reference associated with any footnote or endnote in a Word 97 document, just double-click the footnote or endnote number.

You're instantly zipped to the relevant footnote or endnote text. And if you're jealous of today's high school students because they have Word and you don't, take heart: Improved weaving techniques and more durable cotton cloth make the wedgie an even more painful experience than it was in your day. Technology is a double-edged sword, no?


Sometimes you type something so stupid, so awkward, so utterly wrong, that deleting it by conventional methods is simply not satisfying enough. Select the text and press Delete? Too quick--not painful enough. Backspace over the offending text? Too conventional. Undo? May not get it all. Carve the text out of your monitor screen with a diamond-tipped glass cutter? Too expensive (plus, the tube will implode and you'll be blinded by flying shards of glass). No, the next time you want to eliminate some embarrassing text, try this:

  1. Position the insertion point marker at the beginning of the embarrassing text.
  2. Press Ctrl + Delete repeatedly.

Call us crazy, but you'll swear Word is EATING your miscreant prose, one word at a time. Enjoy!


Since the days when sorry, pattern-bald monks transcribed books by hand, page numbers have always appeared in one of two places: either in the document's header or the document's footer--nowhere else. For hundreds of years, there's been no change in the position of page numbers. In fact, if you were asked to pick the one phenomenon among all earthly phenomena that has not changed and will never change, you may be tempted to say that it would be the position of page numbers in a printed document (or the inexplicable appeal of headcheese). But you would be wrong. In the first case, Word lets you put a page number anywhere you can put the insertion-point marker:

  1. Position the insertion-point marker anywhere you want a page number to appear (even in a Microsoft Draw 97 text box).
  2. Press Alt + Shift + P.

In the second case, Jell-O vegetable molds replaced headcheese in the who-would-have-thought-people-would-eat-this? category. Hundreds of years of tradition down the drain. Makes you all tingly, doesn't it?


You say you like Word's paragraph styles because they let you format entire paragraphs with two clicks of your mouse. The problem is that the first click is SLOW--you click the little arrow next to the style list, wait for what seems to be most of the day, select your new style, see the change in your paragraph, save your file, and go to bed. Unless you decide you'd prefer a different style, in which case you're pulling an all-nighter.

Okay, we're exaggerating. But you can apply some styles much faster with the following keystroke shortcuts (be sure to select the paragraph[s] you want to change first, either by highlighting all the text or placing your insertion point within it):

  • To apply the Normal style, press Ctrl + Shift + N.
  • To apply the Heading 1 style, press Ctrl + Alt + 1.
  • To apply the Heading 2 style, press Ctrl + Alt + 2.
  • To apply the Heading 3 style, press Ctrl + Alt + 3.
  • To apply the List Bullet style, press Ctrl + Shift + L.


Last time, we passed on some shortcuts for applying styles via the keyboard. Today, we show you how to scroll through the style list via the keyboard so that you can quickly apply all styles, even those without shortcuts:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + S. This selects the current style in the toolbar's style box.
  2. Press the up arrow or down arrow key until the style you want to apply is selected.
  3. Press Enter to apply the selected style.

Believe it or not, you can expect one more style application tip next time (we're nothing if not exhaustive--and we don't mean people quickly tire of us, either).


If you thought "The Godfather" was the best trilogy ever produced, hold your judgment until you read this, the long-awaited third part in our critically acclaimed three-part "Apply Styles with Style" trilogy. You thrilled to our style-selection keyboard shortcuts in Part 1. You were on the edge of your seat for the keyboard style-selection tip in Part 2. But nothing compares to the excitement you'll experience in this, the granddaddy (godfather?) of all style-application tips. To repeatedly apply a style you just applied:

  1. Select the next paragraph to which you want to apply the style.
  2. Press Ctrl + Y.

Okay, so it's a sleazy adaptation of the well-known Edit + Repeat shortcut. It just goes to show that, except for "Rocky III," the second sequel is never what it's cracked up to be.


Imagine for a moment that no matter where you go, your appearance automatically changes to blend in with the scenery. You go to a mattress store, and--poof!--you're wearing a union suit. You go for a hike in the woods, and--presto!--your skin is as scaly and gray as tree bark. You visit the sideshow at the circus and . . . well, need we go on?

If this thought scares you, imagine how the paragraphs in your Word 97 document feel: Every time you move or copy a paragraph to another place in the document, it assumes the formatting of the text around it. You can prevent this, so that paragraphs keep their formatting when you move or copy them, by doing the following:

  • Choose Tools + Options and click on the View tab.
  • Under Nonprinting Characters, select Paragraph Marks.
  • Click on OK. Your page should now be littered with those little backward P's.
  • Select your paragraph, including the paragraph mark at the end of it.
  • Move or copy the paragraph to the desired location. It retains its original formatting.

Hint: The key is to include the paragraph mark. If you miss the paragraph mark, your text does the chameleon number again--changing to match its surroundings.


Sure, some people are content to move around one character at a time, using the left-arrow and right-arrow keys. But not you. You want to move through your Word 97 document the same way you move through life--with big bold steps, steps that dwarf those of the ordinary person, steps that take you further and further in less and less time.

Yes, what a big deal you are. Word 97 indulges your delusions of grandeur with the following insertion point movement shortcuts:

  • To move forward one word at a time, press Ctrl-right arrow. To move backward one word at a time, press Ctrl-left arrow.
  • To move forward one paragraph at a time, press Ctrl-down arrow. To move backward one paragraph at a time, press Ctrl-up arrow.

Lest you get too full of yourself, just remember: He who takes the largest steps is most likely to split his pants


OK, this is going to sound ridiculous, but it--or something very much like it--could happen to you: Suppose you're writing a document that has a word in it--say a product name like "Whizzo"--that keeps getting flagged by Word's spelling checker. On the one hand, you don't want to add the word to the spelling checker's dictionary because in any other document, "whizzo" would be a complete embarrassment. On the other hand, in this document, seeing it with that squiggly red underline--or stopping at it every time you run the spelling checker--is starting to get on your nerves. How can you get the spelling checker to ignore "Whizzo"--or any other word--just for this document?

  • Select the word (or words).
  • Choose Tools + Language + Set Language.
  • In the Mark Selected Text As list, select (no proofing)--the topmost item in the list.
  • Click on OK.


Nothing against menus, but . . . who the heck needs 'em? You can count on your carbuncles the number of commands you can access only through the menu in Word 97. The entire display is alive with shortcuts, just waiting to be clicked, right-clicked, or double-clicked. Take the ruler, for instance. You can zip straight to any of several important dialog boxes if you know where and how to click:

  • Double-right-click on any tab stop (on the ruler) to open the Tabs dialog box.
  • Double-click on the indent marker to open the Paragraph dialog box (used to format paragraphs).
  • Double-click on either the vertical or horizontal ruler to open the Page Setup dialog box.

By the way, if you're going to count Word commands on your carbuncles, PLEASE do so in the privacy of you own home.


Ah, hanging indents--for most word processing users, they're THE VERY BANE OF THEIR EXISTENCE. All those settings--first line indent, rest line indent, tabs--it's almost not worth the trouble.

Well, Word 97 changes all this. Instead of forcing you to spend a few minutes formatting a single hanging indent, you can get the whole thing done with one keystroke, as follows:

  • Select the paragraph you want to indent.
  • Press Ctrl-T. To increase the indent, press Ctrl-T again, until you get the "hang" you want.

This technique is so easy, you'll be tempted to hang all your indents, which, of course, results in a ridiculous-looking document. To un-indent a hanging indent, do the following:

  • Select the paragraph you want to un-indent.
  • Press Ctrl-Shift-T.

Got the hang of it? Sorry.


For some reason, you hate indents--specifically, first-line indents. You don't know why, but you just can't bring yourself to indent the first line of your paragraphs. You'd rather fry in oil.

That's OK--we've all got our little idiosyncrasies. But if you're not going to indent the first line of your paragraphs, could you PLEASE put some extra space between your paragraphs? That way, the reading public can tell when your last idea ends and your next one begins--and your documents won't have that "one big paragraph" look often found in lengthy statements from criminal lunatics. To quickly add 12 points of space above a paragraph or above several paragraphs, follow these steps:

  • Select the paragraph(s).
  • Press Ctrl-0 (that's the number zero, not the letter "O").

To remove the space, just select the paragraph(s) and press Ctrl-0 again.


To paraphrase an old saying, "You can take the person away from the typewriter, but you can't take the typewriter away from the person." Perhaps that's why legions of former, would-be, and why-can't-I-just-use-my-Smith-Corona typists insist on using spaces and tabs instead of tables to create columns and rows of text (also called text tables) in Word 97.

Well, spaces don't work because, unlike the equal spaces between typewriter characters, the spaces between Word 97's font characters are usually unequal. And tabs aren't so great either because they don't allow multiline column entries in a single row.

No, if it's a table you want, it's a table you should make. In fact, you can avoid many word processing problems--and many problems in life--if you remember the following three rules:

  • Use spaces for spaces between words.
  • Use tabs for indents.
  • Use tables for tables.

To create a table, click on the Insert Table button or choose Table + Insert Table.


You're typing away, hard at work and--we want to emphasize this--minding your own business, when somebody with absolutely nothing better to do charges into your cubicle, points to a paragraph on your screen, and starts firing questions like these: "What's that font? What's the alignment of that paragraph? What's the line spacing? The indents? Good God, man (or woman), give me ANSWERS!"

If you choose to answer this person--instead of knocking him or her Senseless--here's how to do it with the least inconvenience to yourself:

  • Choose Help + What's This?
  • Click on the text in question.

Word displays all the formatting information anyone--even the hypothetical loser described above--would want to know about the text. Of course, there are times this information may also prove useful to YOU, but there's nosense in letting on.


Was it John F. Kennedy who said, "Before this decade is out, we should create a word processor that safely changes spacing with a single keystroke"? Of course not: He was leader of the free world, darn it (and apparently the keeper of a mighty busy social schedule)--a man with too many things on his mind to even consider word processing, which hadn't even been invented at the time.

But if President Kennedy had indeed said this, he would be happy to know that Word 97 has reached this lofty goal. To change the spacing of one or more paragraphs, do the following:

  • Select the paragraph(s).
  • Press Ctrl-1 to switch to single spacing; press Ctrl-5 to switch to line-and-a-half spacing; or press Ctrl-2 to switch to double spacing.


You're the cosmopolitan type. You smoke imported cigars. You eat at restaurants with French waiters and menus that require a translator. You have (and know how to use) a BIDET. And now, you've even joined a pen pal club, just so you can tell your friends and coworkers that you correspond regularly with people from all over the world. The problem? These pen pals have the gall to insist that their names and addresses be spelled correctly, including those special characters--accents, circumflexes, and so on--that make foreign text, well, look foreign. Luckily, Word 97 lets you appease your international clique, and impress your friends at the same time:

  • To type a character with an acute accent, press Ctrl + ' followed by the character.
  • To type a character with a grave accent, press Ctrl + ` (the apostrophe under the tilde) followed by the character.
  • To type a character with a tilde, press Ctrl + Shift + ~ followed by the character.
  • To type a character with a circumflex, press Ctrl + Shift + ^ followed by the character.
  • To type a character with a diaeresis, press Ctrl + Shift + : followed by the character. If you go through this trouble to appear cosmopolitan, consider dual citizenship.


Word wrap is an amazing thing--one of the most basic benefits of word processing. Type a word that's too long to fit on the current line, and Word automatically moves it to the next line. You can't beat it with a stick. Unless, of course, Word's word wrap separates words you'd rather keep together--such as someone's first and last name, or the word "Chapter" and the chapter number. No problem; if you want to keep two words together no matter what, link them together with a nonbreaking space:

  1. Type the first word.
  2. Press Ctrl + Shift + space to insert the nonbreaking space.
  3. Type the second word.

From now on, these words always appear on the same line. If Word can't fit the second word on the current line with the first, it moves BOTH words to the next line. Pretty cool when words mate for life, don't you think?


If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: YOU SHOULD GET IN THE HABIT OF SAVING YOUR WORK. So why don't you save regularly? Maybe it's because you need more specific instructions. So here they are.

Press Ctrl + S to save at the following times:

  • Before you answer the phone
  • Before you leave your desk
  • After you finish typing a paragraph or passage that finally reads the way you want it to
  • Before you print
  • Before you insert an object from another program--such as an Excel worksheet range--into the document
  • After you format lots of text
  • Before you create a table of contents
  • After you set up or format headers or footers
  • Before uninvited visitors to your office start bothering you with their problems
  • Whenever you realize you haven't pressed Ctrl + S recently.

There. Is that specific enough for you?


Hello there! It's me again--your mother, brought to you by those nice people at Dummies Daily. How many times did I have to tell you not to sit too close to the TV screen? You don't remember? The answer is THOUSANDS. And did you learn? I don't think so--because every day you sit inches from your computer monitor, WHICH IS NOTHING MORE THAN A FANCY-SCHMANCY TV SCREEN! Now, the nice Dummies people told me that you're probably sitting so close to the monitor because you need to read the small type; but if you make the type bigger, you'll do too much scrolling--whatever that is. Well, take a tip from your cyberchallenged mom: Try Word 97's Online Layout View. Click the Online Layout View button (second from the left, to the left of the horizontal scrollbar) OR choose View + Online Layout.

Word enlarges your text so that you can read it from a distance, AND it wraps the text to fit your screen rather than your page margins. Sure, your document won't look exactly as it will in print, but at least you won't go blind. And not being blind should make it easier to dial my phone number once in a while.


You open a Word 97 document, and for a moment you're completely taken aback by its beauty. One paragraph in particular catches and holds your eye. The formatting is sensational, even beautiful. There's only one problem: You can't for the life of you figure out how it got that way. Well, here's one way to find out:

  1. Choose Help + What's This?
  2. Click in the paragraph.

A box appears, describing the formatting applied to both the specific character you clicked and the paragraph that contains it. Even better, you can keep clicking other paragraphs and characters to find out more about them; just press Esc when you have enough information.


Should you wear the red dress, or the blue pantsuit? Should you stop at the donut shop on the way to work, or start a diet today? Should you remind that cop who pulled you over that you pay his salary, or spare him this and other kernels of wisdom you picked up in your high-school civics class?

Yes, life is full of tough decisions, over which we tend to flip like a cheese omelet until the very last minute. Luckily for you, Word 97's designers understand this--and have provided a way to back out of any menu or button command at the last possible instant.

To cancel--or not perform--a menu or button command even after you've pointed at it with the mouse, simply slide the pointer off the menu command or button.

To cancel a menu or button command, even after you've pointed at it AND pressed the button:

  1. KEEP HOLDING DOWN THE MOUSE BUTTON (if you release the mouse button, that constitutes a click, and the command is activated).
  2. Slide the pointer off the menu command or button.


Last time, we told you how to get out of ANY menu or button selection at the very last minute. But suppose that you're even less decisive than we imagined--and you don't change your mind until after you've selected a command or pressed a button and then selected some options from a dialog box! How do you get yourself out of THIS fine mess? Quite easily, it turns out.

To exit virtually ANY dialog box without executing any of the options you've selected, do any of the following:

  • Press Esc.
  • Click Cancel.
  • Click the dialog box's Close button (the X in the top-left corner of the dialog box).

Whichever method you choose, Word 97 closes the dialog box without doing any of the things you specified. If only you could make such clean breaks in your personal life.


Call this part three of our "Can't Make Up Your Mind?" series. Suppose that you selected some text--for formatting, deleting, replacing, moving, copying, whatever. You're about to do whatever it is you want to do when suddenly, for no reason, you decide you don't want to do it. How can you unselect this text? It's easy--but in this case, what you DON'T do is as important as what you DO do:

  • DON'T type. By default, Word replaces selected text with whatever you type (next time, we show you how to cancel that default, if you wish).
  • DO click anywhere else on the page. Doing so immediately unselects any selected text.


Last time, we noted that by default Word 97 replaces selected text with whatever you type next, which is handy when you want to replace existing text. Instead of selecting and deleting the new text before you replace it, you can simply select it and type over it, thus saving a keystroke.

But this feature also makes deleting existing text by accident easier. For example, if you select some text and then accidentally hit any other key, poof! Your text is gone, replaced by the accidental keystroke. Now, you can always click the Undo button to retrieve your text. But if you find yourself accidentally deleting text more often than you use the type-and-replace feature, you may want to cancel the feature altogether, as follows:

  1. Choose Tools + Options to open the Options dialog box.
  2. Click the Edit tab.
  3. Under Editing Options, deselect Typing Replaces Selection.
  4. Click OK.


Okay, it's not as catchy a feature-film title as Escape from the Planet of the Apes or Escape from Alcatraz, but this tip could be a lot more important to you. Say that you've switched to Word 97's Full Screen view--which lets you enjoy your favorite word processor without the intrusion of menus, toolbars, scrollbars, and more. Everything is just ducky-until you remove the Close Full Screen button window by accident! How will you ever get back to one of Word's other views?
Easy: Press Esc.

Yes, just one press of this indispensable button returns you to your familiar standard Word view. The result may not be as much spine-tingling excitement as escaping from America's highest-security prison--or from a planet ruled by Roddy McDowell--but it will have to do.


In the true Darwinian state that is the American workplace, you're always looking for ways to demonstrate your superiority over your fellow workers. Well, in the interest of petty office politics, we'd like to offer you one way to strut your evolutionary stuff: Become a type-size snob. Here's how:

  1. Approach the desk of a person against whom you'd like to "naturally select."
  2. Look briefly at the Word document that person is working on and say loudly, so that others (including the dominant pack leader, or "boss") can hear, "You've used 10-point type in a place where 13-point type would yield a greater competitive advantage."
  3. Seize the inferior coworker's mouse, select the offending text, and click the Font Size list on the Formatting toolbar.
  4. Listen as the soon-to-be-a-bottom-dweller says something like, "See? No 13-point listing on the Font Size list!"
  5. Type 13--or any other point size you'd like to use--and press Enter. Word changes the selected text to the type size you entered. And you've just climbed up another rung of the evolutionary ladder.


Do you sometimes find yourself feeling nostalgic for the low-tech workplace of the 1970s and early 1980s? One way to kill that nostalgia is to collate multiple copies of your next long document by hand. Nothing brings back the horrors of the old days like turning one large pile of papers into several smaller ones, all the while muttering to yourself "Here's page 5 for you, and for you, and for you, and for you..."

Instead, why not just accept modern technology for what it is--BETTER--and let Word 97 automatically collate copies of your documents as it prints them, as follows:

  1. Choose File + Print to open the Print dialog box.
  2. Under Copies, select Collate (note that it may already be selected by default).
  3. In the Number of Copies box, indicate the number of collated copies you want to print.
  4. Click Print.

Your printouts emerge collated--leaving you time for other nostalgic pursuits, like watching reruns of Car 54, Where Are You?