DR. K's WRITING MANUAL

CHAPTER 3: Microsoft Word Basics

 
 
A. Beginning a Document
 
Figure 2 shows the typical Microsoft Word beginning screen. To begin a new document simply click on either the icon of a blank sheet of paper on the far left or select "New" under "File". As soon as you have done any work at all, be sure to save the document by selecting "Save" under "File". See section II. F. Saving a Document for details.
At this point it would probably be best to set the margins of the paper by selecting "document" under the "Format" menu seen to the left. When the margins come up simply click on any you wish to change, type in the new margin, and, when all are set, click "Done". You can also select the font and font size at this point by selecting whichever font and size you want under the "Font" menu. Then simply begin typing your document without worrying about what it will look like regarding spacing, centering, etc.
Since, as the saying goes, it takes a computer to really foul things up, be sure and save your document every ten or fifteen minutes and, at least every thirty minutes, save a back-up to the hard drive. See section II. F. for details.
 
B. Editing a Document
 
1. Open an Existing Document: Unless you are able to complete a document at one sitting, an unlikely and technically bad idea, you will need to "open" a saved document at some later time. To do so, insert the disk containing the document into the drive and select either the opening folder icon on the far left of the menu or "Open" under the "File" menu. When the "Open" window appears you will need to be sure that you are accessing the disk and not a folder on the hard drive or the hard drive itself. To do this click on the "Desktop" button and then, in the scrolling window, click on the name of your disk. This will list all the documents on your disk. Simply double click on the one you wish to open and it will show up.
2. Basic Editing: To simply change letters or words in the document, use the scroll bar to move through the document and place the cursor wherever you wish to make changes. Using the delete key will allow you to "erase" letters and words and, simply by typing, you can put in new letters or words.
To change larger blocks of text it is best to use the items under the "Edit" menu as shown here. To do this move to the beginning of the block of text you wish to move or delete and click and hold the mouse button. Then simply move the cursor through the text until you come to the end of the block you wish to edit. This will show the block of text in black or highlighted. Now go to the "Edit" menu and select "Cut". The block of text will disappear.
To move the text to another place in the document, simply use the scroll bar to move the cursor to the new location and, using "Paste" under "File", insert the block into the new location.
If at any point in this process you make a mistake, stop immediately and use the top two commands under "File" to attempt to correct the error. However, this will work only if nothing else has been done since you made the mistake.
 
3. Editing the appearance: The majority of such changes are best made using the various icons at the top of the document. Simply put the cursor where you want the change to occur or highlight the text to be changed and then click on the appropriate icon. The former will change anything you type after that point. The latter will change whatever is highlighted. The following descriptions of the icon functions start at the top row at the left and move to the right before beginning again at the left of the second row as illustrated in figure 3. (Note: by clicking and holding the ballooned question mark on the top right, you can activate balloon helps. These will tell you what each icon does by simply placing the cursor on the icon and waiting a second or two.)
Changing font type: by clicking on the down arrow alongside the current font name a variety of fonts will be available. Simply drag down to the one you wish and release the button.
Changing font size: simply click on the down arrow alongside the current font size and select the font size desired.
Bold: click on the "B"
Italics: click on the "I"
Underline: click on the "u"
Superscript: click on the up arrow
Subscript: click on the down arrow
Tables, Graphs and Drawing will be discussed in section VIII. "Advanced Microsoft Word".
Paragraph symbols visible: click on the paragraph sign
Number of columns: click on one, two or three column variations
Format Style: "Normal" will usually appear here but you can create set styles that can allow you to make your own custom paragraph styles.
Text alignment: allows you to select, in order, left justified, centered, right justified or proportional alignment.
Vertical Spacing: allows you to select, in order, single, one and a half, or double spacing.
Paragraph spacing: allows you to select the spacing between paragraphs.
Tab setting: Normally, hitting the "tab" key will automatically move the cursor by half inch increments as shown on the ruler. The tabs can be set however you wish by clicking and dragging one of five tabs to the desired place on the ruler. In order, the tab icons allow the user to move text to flush left, center, flush right or align around a decimal point. The last option allows you to create a row of vertical lines at that point. Note that once you enter a tab all the half inch tabs to the left of that space become inoperative.
Setting the ruler: three icons that allow you to make changes to the ruler.
Ruler: by clicking and dragging on the horizontal arrows you can change the margins of a given portion of the paper and, with the assistance of the tab icons, set tabs.
 
C. Spell Checking a Document
 
Under "Tools", shown to the left, are several items of assistance in the process of final editing of your paper. "Spelling" allows you to spell check a single word, a highlighted section or the entire document. To do a word or a section simply highlight the word or section. To correct the entire document simply place the cursor at the beginning of the document. To correct a section from the middle of the document to the end, simply place the cursor at the beginning of the section. Now, select "Spelling" under "Tools" and a window will come up and the program will begin spell checking. Any word thought to be incorrect will show up in the "Change to:" box. Alternatives will show up in the "Suggestions" section. If one of these is the word you wish simply click on it and click on "Change". If you wish to correct it yourself, simply click on the "Change to" box and type in the correct spelling. If you know the word is correct you can tell it to "Ignore" or "Ignore All" if the word is one that will crop up a lot in your document. If you realize you have made a mistake a lot simply click on "Change all" and all instances where that word is misspelled will be corrected.
If a word or number is repeated, you will see an additional option called "Delete". Clicking this will remove the second instance.
If you ever make a mistake in clicking on a button and it fails to correct a word, it is best to stop and "Close" the spell checker to correct the mistake. By selecting "Spelling" again the program will continue spell checking from that point.
 
D. Grammar Checking a Document
 
As with spell checking, Microsoft Word allows you to grammar check either individual sentences, sections or the whole document. Due to the nature of what the program is doing, this is a slower process and you may not want to do the whole thing at once. By highlighting a section or placing the cursor in a particular place and selecting "Grammar" under "Tools", the grammar checker will come up.
If there are misspellings in the section, the grammar checker will automatically switch to correct that first.
Each sentence will be analyzed at a time and will show up in the "Sentence" box while suggestions to correct the grammar will be displayed in the "Suggestions" box. By clicking the appropriate button you can "Ignore" that suggestion in that case, "Change" it to the suggestion, move to the "Next Sentence", "Ignore the Rule" throughout the section, "Close" the grammar checker or "Explain" the grammar error it has identified. Finally, "Options" allows you to tailor the grammar checker to your liking.
 
E. Using the Thesaurus
 
Microsoft Word offers a fairly complete thesaurus that assists you in finding similar words so that you do not keep repeating the same one in your document. To use it, simply highlight the word and select "Thesaurus" under the "Tools" menu.
The thesaurus window will show the word you have highlighted in the "Replace" box with the word you select in the "With" box. If the word has multiple meanings they will show up in the "Meanings for" box. By clicking on the meaning you are using a variety of synonyms for that meaning will show up in the "Synonyms" box. Click on one to select it and click on "Replace" to use it.
 
F. Saving a Document
 
It is vital that you consistently save your document as you are typing it!! To do so, simply select "Save" under "File". If you have already named the document it will instantly save the document under that name and to the location you originally selected.
If you have not named the document, the "Save" window will appear. The top box is the location to which the document will be saved. To change this click on the "Desktop" button. In the large box below the "Location" box will appear the options you have. Click on your disk to select it. Now your disk name will appear in the "Location" box and all the files on the disk will be in the large box below it. Click on the box below "Save current document as:" and type in the name of the document. Click on the "Save" button and the document will be saved.
If you wish to save this document as something other than a Microsoft Word document then click and hold on the "Save file as type:" box and a variety of options will appear. Slide down to the option desired, release and then click "Save". This is particularly important if you wish to use the document on your own IBM-compatible or if you are using a computer with a version of Word different from the ones in the Science computer lab. Word can open documents made on versions below the one being used. It cannot open documents made on versions higher than the one being used.
While you should not permanently save anything on the computer's hard drive, unless it is your computer, it is a good idea to create your own temporary folder for each session and immediately save a copy to that folder. Then, ever thirty minutes or so, save a copy to that folder. To do this select "Save as" under "File". This will allow you to select a new location, your own folder on the hard drive, and then save the file under the same name. At the end of your session on the computer, after you have quit Microsoft Word, eject your original disk and put in your backup disk. Then simply open your folder on the hard drive and drag the backup of your document to your back-up disk. To complete the process, drag your folder off the hard drive and into the trash, remembering to "Empty trash" using the "Special" menu item.

You can also use "Save as" if you wish to create an alternative version of your document. This is helpful if you wish to make a major change but are not sure if it will turn out to be better than the original. Simply use "Save as" to rename the document, i.e.. version 2, and save it on your disk.