5.2 Microsoft Word
No doubt you've already used Microsoft Word. Love it or hate it, you really can't avoid it; air is less ubiquitous.
But no matter how much you've used Word, you probably don't know all the cool stuff it can do for you. The following section explains a few handy tricks, like how to turn on or reveal text using "invisible ink," use Word as a personal translator, insert special characters , and create keyboard shortcuts for menu commands.
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Figure 5-3. You can hide text using this dialog box. To delete hidden text, you first have to make it appear, then you can delete it as you would any other text.
| ALTERNATE REALITIES |
A Free Office Suite
Full-blown office suites with word processors, spreadsheets, and graphics programs commonly cost several hundred dollars ‚ the most popular being Microsoft's Office suite. But if you're willing to sacrifice a few bells and whistles, you can still get a very effective alternative for free.
The 602Pro PC SUITE 2001 includes a word processor that can create files Word can use, an Excel-compatible spreadsheet program, photo-editing software, and a photo album. And it's free. It's available from 602 Software at http://www.software602.com/products/pcs/ . It doesn't include all the features that Microsoft Office has, and it doesn't include a presentation program like PowerPoint. But if you can live without those features, and you're allergic to stuffing Microsoft's coffers, this product is a good choice.
5.2.1 Using Invisible Ink
Unbeknownst to many people, Word has a feature that acts like invisible ink ‚ text you can see onscreen, but that doesn't appear on paper when you print. This option is useful if you have a document chock full of comments and notes that you wish to distribute on paper ‚ minus the personal notes. To make selected text disappear in a Word document, first highlight the passage you want to make like Houdini, and then choose Format Font. In the dialog box that appears, under Effects, select Hidden (see Figure 5-3). The text disappears entirely ‚ in fact, you can't even see it on your screen.
If you want the text you've hidden in a Word document to reappear onscreen, choose Tools Options View. Under "Formatting marks," select "Hidden text." The text now appears on your screen, with a dotted line beneath it to indicate it's hidden. Again, this means that even though you can see it on your screen, it won't appear on paper when you click Print.
5.2.2 Inserting Special Characters
At some point, you've probably wanted to use a special character in a Word document ‚ perhaps the symbol for trademark ( ‚ ), or copyright ( ‚ ), or pounds ( ‚ & pound ;). While these babies are fun to use, they're usually hard to find. But insiders know the real deal: while using symbols in Word isn't obvious, it is easy.
First, make sure your cursor is wherever you want the symbol to appear, then choose Insert Symbol. A dialog box appears with a few dozen characters to choose from (Figure 5-4). Select the one you want, and click Insert.
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Figure 5-4. Select the symbol you want to insert into a Word document. To save time, check the ones listed under "Recently used symbols" first. This list reveals the last 16 symbols you've used. Now just double-click any one to insert it.
5.2.3 Creating Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
Performing basic tasks in Word can take many clicks and a lot of navigating through menus ‚ if you're a novice. Power hounds go for the convenience and speed of keyboard shortcuts. And you can create them for every Word command out there. If you constantly count all the words in a document, for example, simply assign a keyboard shortcut, like Alt+C, to the Word Count command. Then you can just press two keys to get your answer.
Here's how to create a keyboard shortcut in Microsoft Word:
Choose Tools Customize Keyboard .
The Customize Keyboard dialog box, shown in Figure 5-5, appears.
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Figure 5-5. When creating a shortcut key, choose a feature you use frequently. An example might be Word Count, or if you often translate text, the translate pane.
The list on the left side of the dialog box includes all the categories of commands in Word. Click the category most likely to contain the command you want to assign a keyboard shortcut .
It's not always obvious which category a command appears under, so you may have to click a few categories to find the command you want ‚ or choose All Commands and scroll through the alphabetized list.
From the list of Commands on the right side of the Customize Keyboard dialog box, choose the command you want to assign a keyboard combination, and then press the keys you want for your shortcut .
For example, choose ToolsWordCount, and press Alt+C to assign the Word Count feature to the Alt+C key. Whatever keyboard combination you typed appears in the "Press new shortcut key" box.
Click Assign, then Close .
From now on, whenever you type that keyboard combination, Word executes the command you've assigned this shortcut.
5.2.4 Turning Word into Your Personal Translator
You don't need to be a master linguist to translate a Word document into a foreign language or vice versa. You just have to be the proud owner of a computer outfitted with Word. Thanks to its amazing Translate feature, Word can translate a word, a phrase or an entire document for you automatically.
Like all digital interpreters, Word can mangle a phrase faster than you can say quel dommage . That tendency makes it a decent choice for small tasks, like translating a word or very short note. If you're going for a long document, however, proceed with mucho caution: Word's translation skills are not much better than a slow second grader 's.
| POWER USERS' CLINIC |
Frequently Used Symbols
If you frequently use the same symbol, here are a couple ways to simplify the insertion process.
Assign a keyboard combination to your favorite symbol . Instead of mousing through menus to insert the ‚ symbol, assign it a keyboard combo, such as Ctrl+Alt+C (or whatever you prefer ‚ just be sure to use the Alt key, the Ctrl key, or a combination of the two in any shortcut you create). To do so, in the dialog box shown in Figure 5-4, click the symbol you want, then select Shortcut Key. A new dialog box appears. Type the key combination you want to assign to that symbol ‚ such as Ctrl+Alt+C ‚ then click Assign, then Close, then Close again. From now on, when you type that key combination the symbol you've assigned it to will appear.
Create an AutoCorrect command. You can also have Word automatically turn a certain sequence of text you type into a symbol. For example, whenever you type (c), you can have Word turn it into the ‚ symbol using its AutoCorrect feature. To make the change, in the dialog box shown in Figure 5-4, select the symbol you want, then click AutoCorrect. In the new dialog box that appears, type the text you want Word to AutoCorrect--in this case, (c) --in the box that says Replace. Finally, click Add and OK. Whatever you do, just don't choose a word or series of characters that consistently appears in text, such as "the," or else AutoCorrect will become your own private Frankenstein.
188.8.131.52 Translating a word or phrase
To translate a single word in a document, select Tools Language Translate. The Translate pane appears to the right of your document, as shown in Figure 5-6. Type the word you want translated, and then from the "Look up in dictionary" menu, choose the appropriate languages (for example, English to French). Click Go, and the translation appears in the Results box.
184.108.40.206 Translating a document
To translate an entire document, you have to download a separate program from the Web. With a Word document open , select Tools Language Translate; the Translation pane appears. Choose "Entire document" at the top of that pane, then click the Go button near the bottom.
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Figure 5-6. You say "potato," I say "pomme de terre." To translate a single word, type it and click Go. Another method: Highlight the word you want translated in your Word document, choose "Current selection" in the Translate pane, and click Go.
The tool sends you to a Web page with a map of the world. Click the United States to trigger a page titled "Translation Services by WorldLingo." Download the free software and follow the installation instructions.
Next, close the document you want to translate, and then reopen it. You can now choose the languages you want to translate from and to.
5.2.5 Inserting Your Digital Signature into Word Documents
It's a fact of life: You can't do anything official without paperwork. Or course, that little chore is getting easier nowadays as more and more organizations accept signed documents via fax or email. What most people don't realize is that there's a way to sign files electronically .
Using Word's AutoText feature, you can easily insert your signature whenever and wherever you want. Here's how:
Tip: You can use this technique for other graphics or text as well. For example, if you frequently type a particular sentence or paragraph, create an AutoText entry for that passage by following these same steps. For example, if you always end your letters with "See you later, alligator," you can create AutoText for that phrase and quickly pop it in at the end of your letters .
Sign a piece of paper, scan your signature, and save the image as a digital file .
If you don't have a scanner, you can go to a copying business such as Kinko's to use one. Save the scanned image of your signature on your computer, noting the file's name and where you saved it.
Open the Word document you want to sign, and select Insert Picture From File, then browse to the file with your digital John Hancock and click Insert .
If you're not happy with the signature ‚ if it's the wrong size , for example, or the quality isn't great ‚ just rescan your autograph, then repeat the steps to insert it into a Word file.
To save your signature for reuse in future documents, highlight the signature graphic, and then choose Insert AutoText New .
The Create AutoText dialog box appears. Type a word or phrase to name your signature, such as mysig, and click OK. Word automatically creates a new AutoText entry, which you can use to automatically insert text or a graphic into a Word document. Now, to insert your signature in the future, just type the word mysig (or whatever) and press Enter. Presto! Word drops in your digital signature ‚ no ink necessary.
Tip: For a faster way to open the AutoText dialog box, highlight your signature graphic and then press Alt+F3.
5.2.6 Using the Word Count Toolbar
One of Word's most useful features is Word Count, which, as the name implies, counts the exact number of words in a selection of text or a whole document. Using this command is pretty simple: With a Word document open, choose Tools Word Count. A box then appears telling you the number of words you've written, plus how many pages, characters, paragraphs, and lines are in your document.
But for those who live and die by such numbers (such as writers paid by the word), mousing up to the Word Count menu may not be easy enough. You can get a quicker fix by displaying Word Count as a floating toolbar. Figure 5-7 tells you how.
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Figure 5-7. If you frequently need to know the exact number of words in a document, turn on the Word Count toolbar and leave it displayed. To display the Word Count toolbar, choose Tools Word Count, then click the Show Toolbar button. Click Cancel to close the Word Count dialog box (the Word Count toolbar stays open). To find out how much youve typed, click the Recount button.