Work Faster in Microsoft Word: 10 Secrets

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5. Create One-Click Icons to Insert Symbols

Record a macro to insert a symbol, and then add it to the Quick Access Toolbar.
If you repeatedly need to use a particular symbol, such as the cent sign or a foreign-language character, you can add it to the ribbon or to the Quick Access Toolbar (which appears in the upper left corner of Word, with such icons as a disk for Save and an arrow for Undo). This step is a somewhat advanced move that requires you to record a macro.

First, open the Developer tab from the ribbon toolbar, and click Record Macro. Type a name, such as CentsSymbol, and select that name to store it in All Documents (normal.dot). Click the Button option. Locate the Normal.NewMacros.CentsSymbol (or your macro name) in the panel on the left, and click Add. To choose an image for your symbol, click Modify and then OK.

Because Word records what you're doing, choose Insert, Symbol, and then locate and insert the symbol you desire--in our example it's the cents symbol. Click Insert and then Close. From the Developer tab on the ribbon, select Stop Recording. In the future, to add this symbol to your document, simply click the new button on the Quick Access Toolbar.

6. Add Words to or Remove Them From Your Dictionary

Word's options include a tool for working with your dictionary--or you can use a plain text editor.
Word offers a tool for managing its built-in dictionary, but it requires you to make changes one word at a time. To find the tool, select File, Options, Proofing, Custom Dictionaries. Next, select the dictionary--it typically appears as custom.dic--and choose Edit Word List. At this point, you can add or remove words one at a time.

If you want to work with the entire list of dictionary words, you can do so by searching for and opening the custom.dic file in any text editor, such as Notepad or WordPad. You can remove existing words and add new ones to the list, one word per line. You don't have to add the new words in alphabetical order--Word sorts the list automatically. Use capital letters only if the word is a proper name or if for some other reason it should always appear with the capital letters in place (as in the case of an abbreviation like GHz). Avoid adding hyphenated words and words containing fancy characters. Save custom.dic as a text file; then close and relaunch Word to start using the updated dictionary.

7. Clean Up Excess Spaces in Web Text

When you copy and paste content from a Web page or email message into a Word document, you may find that the text doesn't appear neatly left-aligned in Word. That may happen because spaces you weren't aware of precede each line of text, or because the original text had a line down the left side or was pulled from a table. You can strip out these spaces by selecting the text and pressing Ctrl-E and then Ctrl-L. These commands center the text and then align it to the left, thereby removing the unwanted spaces.

If the text that you've pasted from a website into Word has a line down the left margin of the page, you can remove that line by choosing the Review tab from the ribbon toolbar and then, from the 'Accept' drop-down list, selecting Accept All Changes in Document.

You can change the shape of text boxes anytime by choosing a different shape from the shapes collection.
To extract text from a table that appears in a Web page so that you can paste it into Word without table formatting, start by selecting the table. In the Table Tools, Layout tab, select Convert to Text. Choose to separate text with Paragraph Markers, and click OK.

8. Choose Your Own Shape for Text Boxes

If you're creating a pull quote for a newsletter, Word lets you get creative with the layout. First choose Insert, Text Box to add a text box to a document to accommodate the pull quote. To change its shape or its color, select the text box and then, from the Drawing Tools, Format tab, select the Edit Shape option you want to use. Then choose Change Shape and choose any shape to restyle your text box--which is essentially a shape filled with text. You can, for example, change the double-bracket text box to a curly double brace or to a callout. You may need to resize the text box or the size of the font if the text does not fit neatly.

9. Repeat the Last Command With One Click

Word's Format Painter formats text as well as images and shapes.
One of the handier and lesser-known shortcuts in Microsoft Word is the F4 key on your keyboard. This repeats the last formatting command you've made. For example, you can delete a line from a document, select another line, and then press F4 to repeat this last command and delete the newly selected line. You can also use F4 to style text: Select some words and apply a style to them; then select more text and press F4 to apply the same style. In these and many other situations, the F4 key can help you avoid having to make multiple tedious mouse clicks to apply straightforward formatting or to perform other types of repetitive tasks.

10. Use Format Painter to Format Images

Though historically Word users have employed the Format Painter tool to paste one text format onto another block of text, you can also use it with shape and picture styles. Select a shape or picture that has a formatting style you like, click Format Painter on the ribbon toolbar's Home tab, and click on another shape to apply the same format to it. The shape itself won't change, but the formatting specified in the Shape Fill, Shape Outline colors and effects settings--and even the image border--will be painted on.

For more useful Office 2010 tips, see "Make Image Magic in Microsoft Office 2010: 10 Cool Tricks." For a detailed review of Office 2010's many features, see "Office 2010 Review: Inside Microsoft's Newest Suite."

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