When you start Word, it gives you a blank document to let you start typing right away. Word makes some assumptions about how the document will look, so you don't need to worry about formatting at all unless you want to change the default settings. Here are the most important ones:
8 1/2- by 11-inch paper
1-inch margins on the top and bottom of the page, and 1 1/4-inch margins on the left and right sides of the page
Times New Roman, 12-point font
Later in this book, you learn how to change all of these formatting options. For now, you can just focus on typing.
Typing Paragraphs and Creating Blank Lines
The key to having a happy typing experience is knowing when to press Enter. Follow these two rules for typing paragraphs of text:
When your text
the right margin, just continue typing. When Word can't fit any more text on the line, it automatically wraps the text to the
line for you. You should not press Enter at the ends of the lines within a paragraph.
When you reach the end of the paragraph, you do need to press Enter. This
the insertion point (the cursor) down to the next line.
Figure 2.1 illustrates these two rules.
Figure 2.1. Do not press Enter within a paragraph. Do press Enter at the end of the paragraph.
If you do
press Enter at the end of lines within a paragraph, your line breaks go haywire as soon as you add or delete any text. If your paragraph has some lines that are much shorter than they should be (a telltale sign that you pressed Enter within the paragraph), follow the instructions in "Viewing Paragraph, Tab, and Space Marks" later in this
to hunt down the offending paragraph marks and delete them.
When you press Enter, you actually insert a hidden character called a
Word to end the paragraph. Word's definition of a paragraph may be a little broader than yours. It considers a paragraph to be any amount of text that ends with a paragraph mark. So as far as Word is
, blank lines and short lines of text ”such as headings or the lines in an address block ”are separate paragraphs.
To create lines between your paragraphs, press Enter twice at the end of the paragraph: once to end the paragraph you just typed and once to create the blank line. If you need several blank lines, just continue pressing Enter. If you press Enter too many times and need to delete a blank line, press the Backspace key. You'll learn much more about deleting paragraph marks later in this hour.
Figure 2.2 illustrates when to press Enter to create short lines of text and blank lines.
Figure 2.2. Press Enter to end short lines of text and create blank lines.
In "Adding Paragraph Spacing" in Hour 7, you'll learn how to automatically add a blank line after each paragraph without pressing Enter a second time.
As you type, you may see a variety of nonprinting underlines and
popping up automatically in your text. Here is a list of what they are and where you'll learn about them:
Red or green wavy lines. These lines
possible spelling or
errors. They are discussed in Hour 11, "Checking Your Spelling and Grammar and Using the Thesaurus."
lines, often accompanied by small "i" icons, called Smart Tag Action buttons. These represent
, and they are discussed in the "Working with Smart Tags" section at the end of this hour.
Clipboard icons. These are Paste Options buttons, and you will learn about them in the "Cutting, Copying, and Pasting Text" section later in this hour.
Lighting bolt icons (which first appear as a small blue bars). These are AutoCorrect Options buttons, and they are discussed in Hour 12, "Handy Editing Techniques."
Purple wavy lines. These are XML schema violation markers, and they only appear in XML documents. They are discussed in Hour 24, "Smart Documents and XML."
Word gives you default tab stops every one-half inch across the horizontal ruler. (If you don't see your rulers, choose View, Ruler.) Each time you press the Tab key, the insertion point
out to the next tab stop. Any text to the right of the insertion point moves along with it. Figure 2.3 shows the beginning of a memo in which the Tab key was pressed after the labels To:, From:, Date:, and Re: to line up the text at the half-inch mark on the horizontal ruler. When you use tabs, you can align your text far more precisely than you can by pressing the Spacebar multiple times.
Figure 2.3. Press the Tab key to push text out to the next tab stop.
You can also press the Tab key at the beginning of a paragraph to indent the first line by one-half inch. Figure 2.4 shows a document whose paragraphs are indented in this way.
Figure 2.4. Press the Tab key at the beginning of each paragraph to indent the first line.
If you need to line up your text at precise locations along the horizontal ruler, you may want to replace the default tab stops with
custom tab stops
. You'll learn how to do this in Hour 7, "Formatting Paragraphs."
Viewing Paragraph, Tab, and Space Marks
As you're typing your document, you may occasionally want to check to see whether you accidentally pressed Enter at the end of a line within a paragraph, or pressed Enter too many times between paragraphs. Or, maybe you think you might have pressed the Tab key one time too many, or typed an extra space between two words. You can use Word's Show/Hide feature to solve these mysteries. To
it on, click the Show/Hide button on the Formatting toolbar (or press Ctrl+Shift+*). This is a
button, meaning that you click it once to turn it on, and again when you want to turn it off (see Figure 2.5).
Figure 2.5. The Show/Hide feature lets you see your paragraph, tab, and space marks.
The Show/Hide feature uses the paragraph mark symbol to indicate where you pressed Enter, a right arrow to show where you pressed the Tab key, and a dot to mark where you pressed the Spacebar.
Figure 2.5 shows a document that has an
paragraph, tab, and space mark. The
accidentally pressed the Tab key a second time on the From: line, typed an extra space between the words
, and pressed Enter at the end of a line within a paragraph.
To delete any of these
, click immediately to the left of the character and press the Delete key (or click immediately to the right of the character and press the Backspace key). Figure 2.6 shows the same document after these three problems were fixed.
Figure 2.6. The extra paragraph, tab, and space marks have been deleted.
Typing onto the Next Page
As you're typing, Word calculates how many lines fit on a page. When the page you're on is full, Word automatically
a page break and starts another page. Figure 2.7 shows the break between two pages of text, as it appears in Print Layout view. (If your page breaks look different than what you see in Figure 2.7, choose View, Print Layout.)
Figure 2.7. Word breaks pages for you.
As you add or delete text, Word
the page break so that it is always in the right place. This type of "adjustable" page break is called a
soft page break
automatic page break
). Sometimes you may need to break a page even though it is not yet full. For example, you might want to start the next section of a report on a new page, or create a title page. To do this, you have to insert a
hard page break
manual page break
). You'll learn more about page breaks in Hour 8, "Formatting Pages."