In last week's episode of Boot Camp we showed how to set up Microsoft Word and tailor it to your way of working. Now, in part two we're going to tackle a few real-world applications.

If you write a lot of letters, or you regularly prepare and send out mail-shots then there are some features in Microsoft Word you really should get to know.  On the Tools menu there's an item called Envelopes and Labels. The Envelope tab allows you to print directly to envelopes but it can be a fairly tedious business especially if you've got a lot of them, and some printers make heavy weather of it. Select the Label tab for the easier and faster alternative.


Sheets of sticky-back labels are readily available from stationers and they're relatively inexpensive, particularly if you buy the own-label brands. There's a huge range of standard 'Avery' styles plus specialist designs, for floppy discs, video cassettes, name badges and even business cards.


From Envelopes and Labels select the Labels tab and click on the Options button. Scroll down the list until you find the type or style of label you're using; if it's not included you can manually key in the dimensions by clicking New Label. At this point you have several options, you can make a sheet of labels with one address repeated, or create a custom sheet containing your own selection of addresses. In that case check the 'Full Page of the Same Label' option (yes, we know it doesn't make senseā€¦) then click on the New Document button. This will bring up a blank sheet of labels, with the outlines marked. Click a cursor into each box and key in the addresses, save and print the sheet as required. It's a good idea to do a test run on an ordinary sheet of paper first, to make sure the text is correctly aligned.


Table is one of Word's most powerful functions; In addition to creating very neat looking tables (have a fiddle around with the Table icon on the Toolbar) it can do all sorts of other clever things and it's well worth reading up on the subject. To give you a taste of what is possible we'll create a simple invoice form that automatically calculates totals and VAT.


Open a blank page, click on Insert Table on the table menu, select 2 columns and 6 rows and click OK. You can choose Autoformat and view the default styles, though for this example a plain grid is best. You can move the vertical lines around by clicking and dragging; to make it look a bit more professional click on the centre line and shift it to the right to make one wide and one narrow column. Table uses the spreadsheet convention of assigning letters and numbers to columns and rows, so our simple table has columns A and B, and rows 1 to 6. Put a cursor in square or 'cell' A4 and Type in the words 'Sub Total'. In cell A5 type 'VAT at 17.5%', and in cell A6 type 'Total'.


Now click a cursor in square B4, go to the Table drop-down menu and select Formula. In the field marked Formula you should see an equals sign, after it type 'SUM (ABOVE)', omitting the quotation marks of course; in the Number Format box below select the £#... option. This tells the table to add together all the numbers in the column above the cell and display the total after a £ sign. Now click a cursor into cell B5 and go to Formula on the Table menu once again. This time after the equals sign type 'B4*17.5%', (don't forget to highlight the £ sign on the Number Format box). This instructs the table to take the number that appears in cell B4 and multiply it by 17.5%. Finally, click the cursor into cell B6 and after the equals sign type 'SUM(B4,B5)', this tells the table to add together the contents of cells B4 and B5, and show the total. 


Now you can try it out. Click a cursor into cell B1 and type in a number (pounds and pence), do the same in cells B2 and B3. Put the cursor into cell B5 and you should see a grey box, press the F9 key and the sum of the numbers on column B will appear. Put the cursor into cell B5 and press F9 again and it will work out the VAT, repeat for cell B6 and the total will be displayed. Add extra information and embellishments to your form as required.  


Our final trick concerns the Macro function. A macro is a simple program that strings together a set of commands, controlled by a toolbar button, menu selection or keyboard shortcut. There are two ways to create a macro: manually record a set of actions, or write the instructions in a text-based language called WordBasic. The latter is necessary when an action or command isn't available from the keyboard or mouse. If you fancy having a go at keying in some simple commands see 'Tip Of The Week', which is a macro for automatically backing up documents to floppy disc, give it a try, it only takes a few minutes to key in. Recording a macro is the best technique for beginners, the following example creates a toolbar icon that will automatically insert the words 'Yours Truly', in a letter or document.


From the Tools menu click on Macro, then select the Record New Macro item. This opens a dialogue box, click on the Toolbar icon and another window opens. Click and hold on the triangular icon and drag it to the toolbar, right click on the button and select Change Button Icon, choose a design and click OK, then right click on it again, this time choose Default Style, then click on the close button. Ignore the dialogue box labelled 'Stop Recording' this signifies that every action you make is being recorded. Now go to the Insert menu, select AutoText, then Closing and highlight 'Yours Truly', finish off by clicking the Stop Recording symbol. If all's well clicking on the new toolbar button will place the text wherever the cursor happens to be. The same basic technique can be used to automate almost any action; have a go it's not difficult!





A range of standardised label styles and formats, developed by the office equipment company of the same name



A set of styles, that decides how numbers, symbols and mathematical expressions are presented



Simple text-based programming language used by Word, to control various behind-the-scenes functions and features. (BASIC = beginners all-purpose symbolic Instruction code)



This Word Basic macro for Word 97 saves your current document, then makes a backup copy on floppy disc. (It's fairly rudimentary and assumes your hard disc is drive C: and you're backing up to a floppy in drive A:). From the Tools menu click on Macro, then Macros, give it a name and click on the Create button. The Word Basic window opens and you will see a flashing cursor after the words 'Sub', (and before the word End Sub). Type in the following text, observing all line breaks.


Dim strName$, Ini$

Dim ch


strName$ = WordBasic.[Filename$](1)

ch = Len(strName$) - 1

While Mid(strName$, ch, 1) <> "\" And Mid(strName$, ch, 1) <> ":"

ch = ch - 1


strName$ = Mid(strName$, ch + 1)

WordBasic.PrintStatusBar "Backing Up" + WordBasic.[Filename$](1) + " To " + Ini$ + strName$

WordBasic.CopyFile WordBasic.[Filename$](1), "A:\" + strName$

WordBasic.MsgBox "Boot Camp Backup Complete"


To assign the macro a button on the toolbar (or keyboard shortcut)  click on Customize on the Tools menu, select the Commands tab, scroll down the list in the left hand window and click on Macros. Drag and drop your new macro onto a toolbar. Select an icon using the same procedure for macro recording .

Search PCTopTips 



Boot Camp Index















Top Tips Index

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Internet & Email

Microsoft Word

Folders & Files

Desktop Mouse & Keyboard

Crash Bang Wallop!

Privacy & Security

Imaging Scanning & Printing

Power, Safety & Comfort

Tools & Utilities

Sound Advice

Display & screen

Fun & Games

Windows 95/98/SE/ME






 Copyright 2006-2009 PCTOPTIPS UK.

All information on this web site is provided as-is without warranty of any kind. Neither PCTOPTIPS nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained herein.