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Top Tips for Using Microsoft Word

Although MS Word seems like a very simple program to use and manipulate, there are innumerable possibilities that it offers, some of them being very complex and others, quite intriguing. In fact, there are several thousands of users all around the world who do not know the salient features of Microsoft Word and how they can be used. If you thought this was just a virtual extension of a notepad or diary, you will be surprised to learn what all you can actually do with this humble program. Let us take a look at the top 5 tips on using Microsoft Word, besides the obvious purpose of writing.

Using Styles In MS Word: If you thought styles only referred to CSS, you are in for a surprise! You need not install heavy design software to render a unique look and feel to the text you have typed. You can use the basic Word 2007 version to tag your posts that you feel should be of the same color or style and render the desired effects on all of them – at one go! Predefined Word Styles help you format your text or content and make it look unique.

There is a default ‘Normal’ Style in play for all new Word documents that you create. This means, when you type something, they get formatted and appear in a certain manner according to a pre-defined and pre-selected style on the ribbon. Some of the most common styles available for you to use include Normal, No Spacing, Heading1, Heading2, Title, Subtitle and so on. You can see them depending upon your screen resolution. All you need to do is go to the ribbon and select the Style that you want – it’s easy and time saving. Alternately, imagine going to each paragraph or heading for instance and changing them as per the desired style one by one.

That indeed would consume a lot of time, isn’t it? Using the Navigation Pane to Work Smart and Easy: The navigation pane in the new Word2010 edition is a superb feature gaining a lot of popularity. You can use this feature to recognize your documents just by dragging the headings. It saves you a lot of time from scrolling up and down documents, selecting relevant portions and cutting and pasting them at the desired place. In fact, the longer the document, the more time you save in sampling, formatting and arranging it by using the new navigation pane. You can also go to any place in the document simply by clicking on one of the headings, or edit the heading levels while keeping a track of all the changes made through a small thumbnail view that acts like a document map. Plus, Word starts showing you instant results as soon as you begin typing your query text, quite like Google instant results! The navigation pane in Word 2010 is indeed smart, simple and wonderful.

Comparing Two Documents: Often we create several copies of the same document and end up with a pile of versions with edits, changes or modifications. Sifting through each of these copies is an extremely time consuming task. But thanks to Microsoft Word’s amazing feature that makes comparing two documents a cakewalk, you can actually save a lot of time! All you need to do is open MS Word, go to Review and then click Compare. This will pop open a dialogue box that will allow you to select the documents that you wish to compare. You can select the original version of your document in the Original document field and the one with edits or revisions in the Revised document field.

All changes between the two versions will be visible to you in the Compare Document field. Using the New Graphics Feature in Word 2010: Ever thought MS Word could give design software such as Photoshop a run for their money? Well, it almost is! The new Word 2010 allows you to edit, enhance, crop and stylize your images with just a few clicks. All you need to do is insert a graphic in a Word document, use the background tool to remove the background (if required) and move to the Pictures tool to carry out the desired corrections. Using this tool, you can choose to sharpen or soften your inserted image and even adjust its brightness and contrast. Just hover your mouse over to see a preview of the changes that will be rendered to your image and select the one that seems the best. What’s more, just like Photoshop, you can also add saturation or other tone, tints and color effects to your image. Whether you want a red hot image or a sober sepia tone, you can get it by picking on the options provided.

Need to lend an artistic touch to your image? Why that’s quite simple too! Word2010 allows you to render a host of artistic effects to your image. Simply click on the Artistic Effects icon and select from a host of effects to make your image look like a creative piece of art. Interestingly, Word 2010 also allows you to compress your images, change the images and reset images in an easy and effective manner. Why bother about spending on Photoshop or other design software when the best style effects can be achieved using Word? Word2010 can turn even a layman into a designer! Creating Printable Booklets: Word not only allows you to create documents but also a host of other collaterals such as booklets, company portfolios and newsletters. All you need to do is Click on File and Select the Page SetUp option. In the dialogue box that appears, you can choose your desired option from the drop down menu that appears right beside Multiple Pages option. Adjust the Gutter settings under margins and click OK.

The document you type will automatically be set up in the form of a booklet and ready to be printed out in that manner too. Microsoft Word is indeed a wonder program. Why don’t you try out its features and settings to explore further into what all this humble program can do for you?

This article by Frank Johnson is the fist in his series on ‘Microsoft Word’.  Frank is a regular editorial contributor on technology products and services. To know more about using MS Word, you may interact with him here

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