Dr Mike Unwalla of TechScribe (www.techscribe.co.uk) provides us with the 'Supercharging Series', a few hints and tips on how to get the most from Microsoft Word by using its advanced features - useful time savers if you write reports, proposals, training guides, essays, etc. All examples are based on Word 2000.If you have missed the previous parts of this series please visit the 'Learning Zone' on www.webexpressguide.com.
To use styles effectively, you need to be able to see the name of the style that you (or Word) has used for text. How can you do that? One way is to use the Normal view (View>Normal). At the left of the page you can see the name of the style for each paragraph. However, most people prefer to work in Print Layout view (View>Print Layout) because it shows what a printed page will look like. In this case no style information appears on the left. However, the Styles list shows the style for the paragraph that contains the pointer.
If the pointer is on text that has a style, then the Style box shows the text style, not the paragraph style. In the example, the text is of style 'Emphasis'. Usually, this is in italics, but we've changed it to something more exciting-a nice shade of pink and dotted underlined.
One style can be based on another style. A great advantage of this is that you can change just one style, and all the styles that are based on it also change (it's a bit more complex but for now this simple view is sufficient). For example, Heading 2 can be based on Heading 1, and Heading 3 can be based on Heading 2.
Now, say all the headings are black text, change Heading 1 so that it is blue, then all the subheadings become blue too.
Following on from this, best practice suggests that you shouldn't use the paragraph style 'Normal' for your text.
The reason for this is that Normal is the basic style on which all other paragraph styles are based. So, if you change Normal, there's a good chance that you'll affect other styles in a way you don't intend. It's best to use the style 'Body Text' for all your main text.
Unfortunately, Word uses the Normal style by default. Well, you can change your text to style Body Text and all the following paragraphs will use that style. But look what happens when you use, for example, a heading style and then press the Enter key at the end of the heading.
The next style to appear is Normal. Argh!
So, lets fix this little problem. Format>Style. The Style box appears. Highlight the Heading 1 style in the list and choose Modify. The Modify Style box appears. Change the Style for following paragraph box to Body Text. Click OK>Close. Now, when you press the Enter key after Heading 1 text, the new paragraph will have the style Body Text. All the style information is kept in a special Word file called a template. There is always one template called Normal.dot (that's right, it's .dot, not .doc). You can have more than one template so that you can have different styles for different types of documents. Well, that's a completely different story, which we can't address here. But briefly, to save the changes as a template: File>Save As. Save as type: Document Template (*.dot).
We can only touch the surface in this article. Now you know the basics, you can look at Word's online help (press F1 in Word) for more information about 'style' and 'template'. For basic and advanced training in Word, contact Wyvern Training (www.wyvern-training.co.uk).
Automatic table of contents
How do you create a table of contents? Place the pointer where you want the table of contents to appear. Choose Insert>Index and Tables. The Index and Tables box appears. Select the Table of Contents tab. Click OK.
With a large document you will often want a table of contents that shows chapters and subheadings with corresponding page numbers. Now, you can do this the laborious way by finding every instance of a heading and making a note of the page number. Then you can type out the headings and their corresponding page numbers. But what happens when you insert a few pages in the middle of the document? You have to remember to modify your table of contents. Well, if you have used heading styles, which we discussed in previous articles, Word can automatically generate a table of contents for you. If page numbers or headings change because you add or delete text, all you need to do is press one key and Word automatically re-generates a new table of contents.
You can insert a table of contents anywhere in your document; it needn't be at the front, although this is usually a good place to put it. Word creates a table of contents from your headings and subheadings (you will have noticed that there are various options, such as whether or not you want a page number to be included-you can of course use these to specify the appearance of your table of contents). If you click on a heading or page number in the table of contents, Word jumps to that page.
Let's say that you add a few pages to your document. How do you change the page numbers of the table of contents? Place the pointer in the table of contents. To do this, click the pointer at the side of the table of contents, otherwise Word will jump to whatever heading you click on. Press the F9 key on your keyboard. A message appears asking if you want to update page numbers only or the entire table. If you have changed any heading text, then update the entire table otherwise just update the page numbers.
Word updates the table of contents with new page numbers and any altered headings.
We can only touch the surface in this article. Now you know the basics, you can look at Word's online help (press F1 in Word) for more information. For basic and advanced training in Word, contact Wyvern Training