A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Often overlooked MS Word features that are sweet as hell

I haven't been on as much lately, so here's my re-jump-off. Some of these pointers were gleaned from the blog entry here. And some of these you probably already well know, especially if you have done a lot of academic shit.

1. Trackchanges
I never knew about this until I got into the editing biz. Trackchanges, when turned on, allows you to start at a basepoint and "track" every change that is made to a given document. Especially useful if a document is being passed around among several users. Relatedly: the insert a "comment" feature is good if you want to point out something that needs to be looked at further or something that perhaps can't be adjusted with a simple delete-and-switch.

2. ΒΆ
I always thought of this button, which I affectionately refer to as "the paragraph button," as a nuisance. Actually, it is EXTREMELY important for formatting and basically making your document look good. It shows you where page breaks, line breaks, section breaks, extra spaces, and other annoying shit that clutter up your document are located. It may take some time to get used to, but use this on your resume/CV if it looks funky and you just can't get it to format like you want it to.

3. Find
Y'all probably know about this shit, but it can be incredibly useful if you want to, say, remove all double spacing after periods in a document and replace them with single spaces. Just Ctrl + F, then tab to "replace," and voila!

4. Highlighter
Cool to flag stuff with. You can put this one in your toolbar. I also like to put my superscript/subscript buttons in my top toolbar. Don't make fun of me for talking about my toolbar.

5. Undo
You probably know about this too. But it's nice to make a change and then quickly revert, especially if you are in trackchanges mode, so that it doesn't look like anything was changed at all.

6. Tools > Autocorrect
Go to this menu and you can turn off the smart quotes, replacing them with straight quotes. I have dealt with this before and never could figure the fucking thing out. Also, you can turn off all auto-hyperlinking in this menu.

7. Header and Footer stuff
One other thing is that in the Header and Footer menu, which you get to via the "View" tab, you can choose to a) not have any header/footer on the first page of a section; and b) create different odd and even headers. Also, it is easier (in my opinion) to manage pagination via the "insert page numbers" command up top. From here, you can choose to not have a page number on the first page, start numbering at whatever number you choose (say you are working on chapter 2 and it doesn't start on page 1), and other stuff.

8. Tables and Borders
The other function I really like is the pop-out tables and borders tab. You can position your text within the cells, merge cells (important!), make lines thick/thin/dotted... Good stuff.

9. Bonus: Small Caps.
The coolest of the cool fonts. Go to Format > Font and click the "small caps" field.


Blogger steve said...

I am so sick of using LaTex

11:00 PM

Blogger Jefe said...

I just read about LaTex the other day. Does it suck? Why do you use it?

8:59 AM

Blogger neill said...

It doesn't suck, but it's just way too counterintuitive.

On Office -- I just learned the other day about how Ctrl+arrow bumps you around the spreadsheet. Hot damn.

11:04 PM

Blogger David said...

Try using Styles and Formatting in Word - its basically all the good parts of LaTex but less nerdy.

9:37 PM


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