BOOT CAMP 266 (11/03/03)
WORD HINTS AND TIPS
It’s time once again for our annual round up of hints and
tips for the three most widely-used PC applications namely Microsoft Word,
Outlook Express and Internet Explorer. We begin this week with Word. Most of
what follows is for Word 2000/2 though the majority of them also work on Word
Many Word problems are caused by a corrupt ‘normal.dot’
document template file. To return Word to its default condition close the
program and rename normal.dot (i.e. call it normal.old) and a fresh normal.dot
will be automatically created when Word is opened. Normal.dot can usually be
found in: C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates (Windows 9x) or
C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Templates (Windows XP).
Be aware that you will loose all of your preferences, custom
dictionaries and macros, so it’s a good idea to make a backup of normal.dot when
Word is running smoothly and use that as a replacement when it goes wrong. You
can also copy normal.dot onto a floppy and use it to transfer all of your
settings and auto-correct entries to another instance of Word (it must be the
same version) on another computer.
Take control of your Toolbars. The standard Word layout has a
number of shortcomings and omissions. Try adding the Work menu icon. This gives
you rapid access to documents that you open frequently. Right-click onto an
empty area of the toolbar, click Customize, select the Commands tab and work
your way down the Categories list to Built-In Menus. Select it then go to the
Command list and scroll down to Work. Click, hold and drag it onto a toolbar and
release and close Customize. Click ‘Add
to Work Menu’ to add any open document to the list. To delete entries press Ctrl
+ Alt + - (hyphen), the cursor changes to a thick bar, go to the Work menu and
click on the item you want to remove.
Adding SaveAs and Document Close icons to the Toolbar are
useful time-savers and putting them on the right side of the toolbar also
reduces mouse mileage. On Customize select the Commands tab and click File under
Categories. Scroll down the list in the Commands Windows and drag and drop
SaveAs and Close onto the Toolbar. The SaveAs button doesn’t have an icon so
right-click on it select Change Button Image and select something from the page.
Other items you might want to add to your Toolbars include Insert Date and Page
Number (on the Insert menu in Categories) and Word Count (Tools). To remove any
icon or menu from the Toolbars open Customize then drag and drop the item onto
Keyboard shortcuts save a lot of time and Word has them in
spades but you’ll be hard pressed to find much about them in Word Help. Here’s a
way to print out a complete list. Go to Tools > Macro > Macros, on the
‘Macros In’ drop-down menu select Word Commands. Scroll down to ListCommands,
click Run and in the new dialogue box that opens choose Current menu and
Keyboard Settings. This creates a document, which you can save and print. It’s
quite long but you can edit it and use a smaller typeface to get it down to 5 or
Whilst we’re on the subject of keyboard shortcuts, here are
three to remember. When Word does anything unwanted or unexpected the instant
get-out is the undo command Ctrl + Z. Copying and pasting words or chunks of
text is made a lot easier with keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + C (Copy) and Ctrl + V
(Paste). If you want to create your own shortcut, or change an existing one,
open the Customize menu and click the Keyboard button. Locate the function in
the Categories and Commands windows and the existing shortcut will be shown
under ‘Current Keys’. To change it or compose a new one, enter the key
combination in the ‘Press new shortcut key’ window and click the Assign
We’ll round off with a small selection of well hidden and
undocumented features in Word, starting with a way to password protect any
document. You’ll find this on the SaveAs menu, click the Tools drop-down menu
and select General Options and set up your password.
On the Font Size drop-down menu the largest value shown is 72
point but you can specify any size you like (in 0.5pt increments), up to a
massive 999.5 points, simply by typing in the number.
If you want to exit Word quickly and you have a lot of open
documents that all need to be saved press and hold the Shift key whilst clicking
on the File menu. A new item, SaveAll will appear.
When faced with a document that contains several different
styles or formats you can quickly apply your chosen format to any block of text.
Highlight a portion of text with the formant you want to copy then click on the
Format Painter icon (paintbrush). Now move the mouse pointer to the text you
want to change and drag the paintbrush across it.
Finally, Word can generate blocks of random text (actually
‘the quick brown fox…’etc., repeated over and again), which you can use for
sizing or layout on dummy documents. All you have to do is type ‘=rand()’,
(without the quotes) where you want it to go, then press Enter. Putting a number inside the brackets, i.e.
=rand(50) will repeat the block of text that number of times.
Next week – Internet Explorer Tips
Embedded instructions within a document that specify the
typeface, font size page layout and any special characteristics or features
simple and ideally memorable sequence of two or three key-strokes, used to
invoke a frequently used action or activity within a program or
programming function in Word (and many other programs) used to automate
frequently used commands and functions
TIP OF THE WEEK
If you’ve ever wondered why Word document files are so large
it’s due to ‘Metadata’. This is hidden
information that contains the author’s name, summaries, revisions, hidden text,
previous authors and so on. Metadata can still be recovered, even if the
document is sent as an email attachment. If you are concerned you can remove
Metadata by sending the document as a plain text file, or have a look at
Microsoft Knowledgebase, articles Q223790, Q237361 and Q290945 (Word 97, 2000