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Basic Microsoft Word - Free Computer Tutorials

Posted by Jim Bernstein

Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing program in use today. It is used throughout the world and is available in many different languages. Since Microsoft makes both Word and Windows you can see why it is so widely used. There is even a version that runs on Macintosh and Linux. Word is not the only word processing software available of course. There are other applications such as WordPerfect and Lotus Word Pro among many others.

If you need to make a simple document such as a letter or a resume then it's fairly easy to create them without major adjustments. In this tutorial we are going to go over how to make a document, perform simple formatting, and saving and printing your document. This tutorial will be using Word 2000 so if you have a newer or older version it may vary a little.

Navigating Word
First we will go over the toolbars and menu items available to you in Word. The toolbar is basically a graphical representation of what you can do from the menu items. The menu items consist of the words above the toolbar such as File, Edit and View.

As you can see there are many buttons/icons on the toolbar to choose from. If you hold the mouse over a toolbar item it will show a tooltip explaining what the button is used for. For example the 3 most buttons on the top left are New, Open, and Save. If you click on the File menu on the top right you will notice you get the same options as the buttons plus other options not on the toolbar.

There are usually more options in the menu items than on the toolbar and all of the buttons should also be accessible from the menu items. One of the most overlooked buttons is the Help button, which looks like a question mark. Or you can use the Help menu item.

Creating a new document
To create a new Word document you simply click on the New Blank Document button on the upper left or go to File and then New. If you go to File and New you get more options compared to just clicking on the New Blank Document toolbar button. Word has built in templates you can use to get started creating various types of documents.

There are many types of pre-defined documents you can choose from to get you started making professional looking documents.

Once you choose your blank document or template you can immediately start typing and creating your document. One section of Word you will visit frequently is the Page Setup area. Here you can set your margins, paper size, page layout and other options. This can be accessed from the File menu. You may want to adjust these settings before you begin to create your document.

Formatting your document
As you type you may want to make sections of your document stand out from the rest. This can be done by making words bold, underlined, italicized or colored. To do this simply highlight your word or words and clicking on the appropriate button on the toolbar. You will notice there is a B, I and underlined U for bold, italics and underline. There is also a button with an A on it with a dropdown list allowing you to choose the color you want for your type. Next to the A there is an option for highlighting your text to make it really stand out. If you do not have these buttons on your toolbar then most likely you don't have it enabled. Go to the View menu then pick Toolbars and then Formatting to have the toolbar displayed in Word.

If you want to align your text to the right, left, center or justified its as easy as a click of the mouse. Simply highlight your text and choose one of the alignment buttons on the toolbar that corresponds to what you want to do. The text alignment buttons look like lines of text on top of each other.

Microsoft Word also has a nice feature to make numbered or bulleted lists if you want to organize your information in a list or table of contents type fashion. There is a button for numbered lists which has a 1,2 and 3 on it, and next to that is the button for bulleted lists, which has 3 bullets on it. These features can be customized by going to the Format menu, selecting Bullets and Numbering and changing it to suit your needs.

If you make a mistake such as deleting some text or want to undo a formatting change you can click on the Undo button, which looks like a left pointing arrow. You can also go to the Edit menu and select Undo. A shortcut is to press Ctrl-Z on the keyboard. You can redo a change as well by using the right pointing arrow on the toolbar.

Word shares the same cut, copy and paste features that most other Windows programs use so if you want to add text or images from other documents you can simply copy and paste them right into word. These options are available on the toolbar and also on the Edit menu.

When you are finished with your document and want to print it or email it out you should use the spelling and grammar checker to make sure you don't have any mistakes. By default Word will check your spelling as you go by underlining misspelled words in red and grammar errors in green. To check your whole document simply click on the spell check button which has a checkmark and ABC next to it or go to Tools and then Spelling and Grammar or press F7. I have noticed that Word suggests grammar changes that may not be correct or that don't make much sense so you can simply ignore them. During the spell check you can have word correct all instances of a misspelled word by clicking on Change All or have it ignore all instances by clicking on Ignore All to speed up the process.

Printing documents
Printing from Word is a very easy process, assuming you have a printer to print to! You may want to preview your document before printing to make sure everything looks the way you want it to. As you are working on your document there are several ways to view it such as changing the size percentage from the Zoom feature on the toolbar. You can use one of the predefined sizes or type in whatever percentage you wish in the box. On the View menu you have the options of what layout you want to use such as normal, web, print and outline.

To get an overall view of how your document will look when its printed you can click on the Print Preview button which looks like a sheet of paper with a magnifying glass on it. This option is also available under the File menu. You can zoom in and out of the document and scroll up and down the pages. When you are finished with the preview click the Close button to get back to the main page.

If everything looks good and you want to print then all you need to do is click on the print button to print your document. There is one very important thing to know about the print button. When you click on the print button it will print all the pages to your default printer. You will not be prompted to pick a printer or tell Word what pages you want printed. To get these options click on the File menu and then Print.

Now you will be able to select a different printer if you have more than one as well as choose what pages you want printed. You can also go to the printer properties to make any changes to the way the printer will print before proceeding. You can also select how many copies of your document to print from here.

Saving documents
If you need to save your document so you can access it later or send it to someone else Word makes the process very easy. If you are used to saving files in other Windows programs then it is pretty much the same process with Word. There is a Save button on the toolbar which looks like a floppy disk. You can also get to the save option from the File menu. If you want to save a copy of your document with a different name then you can choose the Save As option from the File menu. This will allow you to have 2 copies of the same document but with different names.

From the save dialog box you can browse to where you want to save your document. Most of the time the default location is My Documents. In the File name box you will type the name of your document. If you want to make a new folder to store your document then you can click the Create New Folder button on the top right.

Now you know how to create and format a basic Microsoft Word document. Just remember if you need to know how to do something in Word to use the overlooked help feature!


Related Tips:
Microsoft Word Save As Options
Add a Background Watermark to Your Word Document

Change the Default Font for New Word Documents

Pasting Non Formatted Text into Word

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