• Technology Today: Word tips and tricks for PC users

    This column is devoted to issues related to technology at the University of St. Thomas. It is a joint effort of Computing and Communication Services, Instructional Support Services and the university libraries. Please send your comments to tech_column@stthomas.edu.

    By Naomi Kritzer
    Computing and Communication Services

    Almost everyone at the University of St. Thomas has to use Word occasionally. Most of us, though, learn to use just the features we most urgently need to do our jobs — even when the features we don’t know about could save us a lot of time in the long run. With that in mind, here are eight Word tips designed to make your work more efficient (or just more pleasant). (These tips are for Word for Windows; watch for Mac-focused tips in the future.)

    Want to start a new page within your document? Press Ctrl-Enter to insert a page break.

    Want to have the same information appear at the top or bottom of every page? Use headers (to have it appear at the top of the page) or footers (to have it appear at the bottom). Choose View, then Header and Footer to bring up the header. You can format the text in the header just as you would format text in the main document (change the font, make it centered or flush with the right margin, etc.) To edit the footer, click the Switch Between Header and Footer button.

    Tired of the same old bullets? You can customize the bullets you use. Choose Format, then Bullets and Numbering. You’ll have a selection of options other than the default round bullets. If you don’t like any of the options provided, select one that you don’t think you’ll be likely to use in the future and click Customize. To choose a new bullet, click Bullet. When you’ve made you’re selection, click OK, then OK again to close the dialog box.

    Want to customize the toolbar? Choose Tools, then Customize and click the Commands tab. Choose the command you want from the list (menus are displayed in the left-hand list, commands are displayed in the right-hand list; to see commands from the Edit menu, you’ll have to select Edit from the left-hand list). To add it to the toolbar, you can literally just drag it there. If you have trouble getting the button to “stick,” try putting it between two existing buttons. (You can do this in the public labs, but your change is wiped when you log out of the machine.)

    Want to add a short-cut key for a command you use a lot? Choose Tools, then Customize and click the Commands tab. Then click Keyboard. You’ll see another list of menus and commands. Choose the command you want, then click to put your cursor in the Press new shortcut key field. Type the short-cut key you’d like to add (for example, Alt-A). If the key command you choose is currently assigned to something else, Word will display this information under the field. You can backspace over that key combination and try a different one. (Most ALT key commands are unassigned.) When you find a key command you like, click Assign, then Close, and Close again to return to your document. (You can do this in the public labs, but your change is wiped when you log out of the machine.)

    Want to put a table in your document? Click the Insert Table button on the toolbar, then drag to select the number of rows and columns you want your table to have.

    Did you just realize you’ve been typing “Acquinas” instead of “Aquinas” for your entire document? Use the Replace function! Choose Edit, then Replace, type the word you want to replace in the Find What field, and the word you want to replace it with in the Replace With field. You can click Replace All to replace every instance of that word at once, or Replace to let you see each instance Word finds. You can click the More button to further specify whether you want Word to match the case, or to replace only the whole word, as well as several other options. One warning: be careful with the Replace All button when you’re replacing a short word, like “Rob.” If you unilaterally change “Rob” to “Bob” without telling Word to match the case or replace whole words only, you’ll change robot to bobot, robbery to bobbery, and strobe to stbobe. Probably not quite what you had in mind.

    Want to get rid of the dancing paperclip? Right-click on the Office Assistant and choose Options. If you’re annoyed by the paperclip but like the concept of the Office Assistant, you can click the Gallery tab and choose a different assistant. If you’re really not impressed by the dog, either, click the Options tab and turn every option off (especially the ones under Show Tips, which have a tendency to make the assistant pop up when you least expect it). Then click the Close button to close the assistant’s box. (As with toolbar changes, this change may not stick in the labs.)

    Did this article not include the Word tip that you really wanted to know about? Consider signing up for a Word class, downloading the CBT module on Advanced Word (you can find the computer-based training modules at http://cbt.stthomas.edu), or, as always, you can call the CCS Help Desk at (651) 962-6230. Good luck!