You are expected to model best word processing practice when producing documents for university. Your documents should be at workplace standard.
The following tips will help you make better use of the word processing software, use the keyboard and the mouse, and increase your efficiency.
- Open your document, name it and save it straight away. If anything happens and you lose the document then you should be able to recover part of it when you reboot the computer.
- Click on the save button regularly.
- Type everything first, then format (bold, italicise, create headings, spacings, etc.).
- Turn the paragraph symbol () to on by clicking on it. With this symbol turned on, you can see all the spaces as you type your text. You can turn it off when you've finished your document.
- Always check your document in preview mode by clicking on the preview button (piece of paper with the magnifying glass on it).
- To move to the next page, insert a page break.
- To select a single word place the cursor in the word and double-click.
- To select a block of text insert the cursor (by clicking on the mouse button) at the beginning of the text, hold down the shift key, scroll down to the end of the text, insert the cursor at the end of the block of text. The whole block of text should now be highlighted.
- To select a line of text, move the cursor to the left-hand side of the page. The cursor will change to a white arrow that points to the right. Move this arrow until it is pointing to the line of text to be selected and click. The line of text should now be highlighted.
- To select a whole page of text, move the cursor to the left-hand side of the page until the right-pointing white arrow appears. Hold down the control key and click. The whole page should now be highlighted.
Hotkey/Repeating an Action
- In Microsoft Word the F4 key is a hotkey. If you press the F4 key immediately after you have completed an action, the action will be repeated. For example, if you have to bold a number of words or titles on a page, select the text using the most efficient method from the previous section and click on the B (bold) button on the Standard toolbar. Continue to select text using the mouse while hitting the F4 key with your other hand to repeat the action.
Use tables instead of indents to format your work.
- It's easier.
- You have greater control over where text is placed on the page.
- You won't have trouble with indents moving when you add text at a later stage.
- To select a whole cell of the table, move the cursor to the left of a cell until it becomes a solid black arrow. Click on it. To select multiple cells, just hold down the mouse button and drag the mouse to the cells you want to select.
- To select the whole row of the table move the cursor to the left of the table until the arrow becomes white. Click on it. To select multiple rows, just hold down the mouse button and drag the mouse down the page.
- To select a single column of a table, move the cursor to the top of the column until the arrow becomes solid black and is pointing downwards. Click and the whole column will be selected. To select multiple columns, hold down the mouse button and drag the cursor across the top of the columns you want to select.
- To create new rows at the end of a table, just hit the TAB key.
- You can become very creative about how you use tables. You can merge cells by selecting them first, find Table on the Word toolbar and click on merge.
- If you don't want the table borders visible find the borders button on the Formatting toolbar. (Borders button -it's the one with either a square divided up into quarters or a single line depending on what was used last. Click on the down arrow to see the range of options and click on the square with no borders. Your borders, while still visible to you on the page, are no longer visible in preview mode and will not print.
- To use the TAB function when working in a table cell, just hold down the control key and hit TAB.
Creating Spaces Between Text
- Layout in a document is very important. You want to make it easy for the person reading your document. You can create space between lines of text by using the paragraph function. Select the text you wish to create space around, click on the Format button and click on paragraph. You can define the space around text by placing in a number. 12pts = one line break. Therefore 6pts = half a line break of space. The text within the paragraphs of this cell have a space of 3pts before and after each paragraph or line break. (When you hit the enter key to go to a new line you create a line break= 12 pts.) Highlight a paragraph of the text in this cell, click on Format, then Paragraph to see how space has been created using the paragraph function.
- It you are using dot points or numbered lists; you can create more space so they are easier to read by using the paragraph formatting function.
Moving Between Documents/Programs
- To move between documents and/or programs open/running on your computer, hold down the ALT key and tap the TAB key.
A good way to become an effective and efficient user of word processing software is to experiment.