Category Archives: Word

Be stylish – Use Word Styles

Thank you for responding the vote in the previous article on 3 Efficiency Best Practices. In this article, we explore Word Styles in greater detail. Read this even if you are using Word Styles.

word styles

Picture created using Fresh Paint on Surface Pro with finger painting.

Problem: We spend too much time on formatting and too little on the core content.

Solution: Use Word Styles

Styles are just ready to use formatting which is created by graphics experts. There are 9 styles – Heading 1 to Heading 9

While creating a document, you know which of the paragraphs are Headings or Topics or Titles. As soon as you type the paragraph, choose the style.

Word styles

Main topics get H1, sub topics get H2 and so on.

How to select styles quickly

  1. Click the style in the Home tab – Styles drop down (it is called a Gallery).
  2. Or use keyboard shortcuts CTRL ALT 1 for H1 CTRL ALT 2 for H2 and
    CTRL ALT 3 for H3
  3. Or use the shortcut Shift Alt Up arrow to apply Higher styles, Shift Alt Down arrow to apply lower styles

Default styles in Word 2013

This how the default styles look. If you want to change the appearance to match your corporate branding guidelines, Right Click on each style, Choose Modify and change the look and feel.

Default styles in Word 2013

Customized styles affect only the current document by default. If you want all further documents to have the customized styles, choose the following option in the Modify dialog.

Customized styles in Word

Change the look and feel instantly using Themes

Choose Page Layout tab (2007,2010) or Design tab (2013) and open the Themes dropdown. Just move the mouse cursor over each theme and see how the document reformats instantly with different color and font combinations.

If you find some combination which resembles your brand colors, it is the easiest way of customizing document look and feel for corporate branding. Remember to use the same theme in Excel and PowerPoint as well.

What are the benefits of using Word Styles?

The main benefit is that Word knows what are the main and sub-topics in your document. Word uses this information intelligently to provide you with many useful features.

Navigation Pane

Choose View tab – Navigation Pane. Now a Separate window opens on the left side and shows you the document hierarchy. This never gets printed. This is your on-screen navigator.

Navigation Pane in Word

  1. Just click on the item to navigate to that area. No more scrolling and searching.
  2. Reorganize the document (and your thoughts) by just using drag-drop.
    (Amazing! is it not?)
  3. Right click on any heading and you get many useful options. Explore and find out.
    The Show Heading levels option is very useful for reading complex documents. Just show level 1 first and then drill down into the desired area quickly.

image

Sample file for practice

This file contains styles and TOC Download Style Document

Automatic Table of Contents

Now that word knows your topics and it anyway knows the page numbers, it can put these together and create a TOC automatically.

Go to the place in the beginning of the document where you want to create the TOC and Choose References tab and choose Automatic Table of Contents

Automatic table of contents

By default three levels of headings are added to the TOC along with page numbers. You can change the settings from the Custom Table of Contents option.

Remember to update the table before printing because the page numbers are not automatically updated when you edit the document. Right click on the TOC and choose Update Field or click inside the TOC and choose Update Table option.

Choose the second option.

Update table of contents

For very large and complex documents you can choose the first option (which is faster) when you are sure that you have not added any new headings. In most cases using the second option is safer.

Retrofitting styles into non-style documents

You will love Styles once you start using them. But then you will feel very sad that your older documents are not getting all these benefits of styles. But don’t lose heart. Microsoft has thought of that as well.

Open a document which is using manual formatting. You need to find all areas where manual formatting indicates various levels of headings and then apply the correct Heading Style. But this is going to be very time consuming if you want to do it one by one. Repetition means inefficiency.

Solution: Select text with similar formatting

  1. Click in one of the manually formatting heading. Choose Home tab – Select dropdown – Select text with similar formatting

Select text with similar formatting
Don’t worry if it shows (No Data). It works anyway.

  • Now Word finds and selects similar headings. You just have to apply Heading 1 once
  • If you have three levels of headings, you will have to do this thrice. Absolutely worth it because now you get all the benefits of Styles

Next article

Styles have many more benefits. One very useful feature is the ability to convert a Word document to a presentation. I will cover that in the next article.

Tight Wrap in Word – How to wrap text around images with irregular borders

In the last post, I had posted a quiz. We already have a winner (Nicholas) and the gift will be sent to him.

The question was the difference between SQUARE and TIGHT wrap around a picture or object in Word.

If the picture is rectangular – which most pictures are – there is no visual difference.

But if the picture has an irregular shape, TIGHT option wraps around the shape and SQUARE wraps around the rectangle.

Here is the difference…

image

Things are much simpler if it is an irregular shaped clipart…

image

Question: How do you create a picture with irregular borders?

Most pictures have rectangular border. If the picture has a transparency around an object, it has irregular borders. Most standard pictures, captured from cameras or downloaded from Microsoft Clipart are rectangular with NO transparency.

So how do you create transparency to retain what we want?

Here is an example.  The original picture in the above logo was like this – with a white background. (I have put a border to illustrate the boundary of the picture)

MaxOffice - Only image - white background

The white area around the actual logo is unwanted – and therefore, should be transparent. How do we do that?

  1. Click on the picture (double clicking the pictures opens the menu)
  2. Choose Picture Tools menu
  3. Choose Remove background (Office 2010 and above)
  4. Now PowerPoint attempts to guess what could be the foreground and what should be removed. It indicates the outcome as an altered image as shown below. The pink portions would be removed (make them transparent) and rest would be kept.image
  5. Readjust the inner rectangle to enclose the logo completely within it. Click on Keep Changes Button.Remove background
  6. Now it is a transparent picture. Whatever was shown in pink color has been converted to transparency.
  7. Now using the TIGHT option wraps text around the irregular shape.Tight wrap in Word

Refine the wrapping with Edit Wrap Points

Tight wrap edit wrap points

Next article

We will cover the amazing Remove Background feature of PowerPoint in detail.

Irritant: Text and Picture layout problems in Word?

New series

Our Copy Paste series is not yet over. But I am starting another one based upon feedback from readers. In this series, I will cover common  problems and solutions, starting with perhaps one of the most common irritant: Text and Picture layout problems in Word.

There are already many such sites for quick troubleshooting or Tips and Tricks. That is like spoon-feeding. This blog is not a quick fix.

Therefore, after giving the immediate solution, I will also explain the concept behind it and related features. This way, you learn something specific as well as something larger and generic. It amplifies the benefit and makes you more capable and confident.

Problem 1 – Text does not wrap around a Picture

When you insert a picture which is smaller than the width of the document it just stays there and space around it is wasted. If you type something before it, the picture moves. Very irritating! You want the text to wrap around nicely.

image

Quick Fix

  1. Click on the picture.
  2. Picture Tools menu appears in the Ribbon.
  3. Click on it. Choose Wrap Text dropdown
  4. Click Square
  5. That’s it

text and picture layout options in Word

If you realize that you need to set the Square option often, click on the last option Set as Default Layout. Now onwards, when you insert a picture, the desired layout is applied  automatically.

Text and Picture Layout Knowledge

  • When a picture is added, it behaves as though it is text – because that is the default setting In Line With Text
  • It basically means that the picture is treated as text (like a large font text).. Therefore it moves around when you edit the text before it
  • There are two modes in which pictures (or other objects) can be treated by Word
  • As text or as a floating object
  • Clicking on SQUARE option makes it a floating object and also specifies how it interacts with the document text.
  • Word is smart enough to wrap the text around
  • If you move the picture, the text will readjust

Exercise

  • Try different modes and see how it behaves. You will learn the usage.

More Picture Layout Knowledge

Look at the dropdown.

First option is treat the Image as text.

Next section (from Square, Tight, Through, Top and Bottom ) controls how the text wraps around the text.

The third section (Behind or In Front) decides the object position with respect to the text. Behind text is like having a paper on which you put a sticker and then printed the text on it. In Front of text is like you printed the text and then put a sticker on top of it.

More options of course give you more sophisticated options. If you need to do precise arrangements in layouts like newsletters, professional reports, case studies, brochures – you must know every option there. You will be surprised to know how sophisticated it is.

Final option is obvious. If you have changed the settings and you like them, then set those as the default.

Win Prizes: Answer this Quiz question

image

Question: What is the difference between Square and Tight and when is tight option practically useful?

Post your answers as comments to this blog.
First right answer will get the gift voucher by mail.
Please mention your email id in the reply.

You can redeem it against any Amazon.Com purchase. It never expires.

Quiz closes on 11:59 PM, 19th November 2013 Indian Standard Time.

Copy paste – Part 14 – Explore Paste Special in Word

Copy paste goes wrong often while working with multiple word documents. Here is how to get it right – every time.

Question. Do you use styles in Word?

If the answer is NO, then we need a quick primer. If you already use styles, skip this section. Remember one general rule about using Office efficiently.

Office is created to help us. We are not born to help Office!

Sounds funny? It is not. Read on …

When we create Word documents, there is regular content and then there are topics and subtopics (headings or sub-headings). We usually format these topics manually to make them look prominent. That is a complete waste of time. That is what I call “we are trying to help Word”. Why? Because we think it is not capable of understanding what we want.

Trust me – just expect a little more from Word (and Office). You have no idea how much effort has gone into creating the product. Even the smallest and rarest inconvenience is taken care of.

To cut a long story short, just type the heading and click Heading 1 in the Styles dropdown in Home tab.

image

There are up to 9 levels of headings. If you use styles you get many benefits like automatic navigation pane, table of contents, automatic numbering, ability to rearrange document just with drag drop of headings, ability to create a presentation automatically and so on. I will write a separate series on Styles.

But for now just start using styles instead of manual formatting.

Copy paste in Word

Word works like this. There is the copied content (from source) and the destination where you are pasting it. If there is no style used in either, then it keeps the source formatting. If styles are used, it tries to merge the styles.

Copy paste without usage of styles

image

Now if you select and copy something from source to destination – what do you expect? It should adjust to the blue surroundings. Unfortunately, the default is – Keep Source Formatting. Therefore, this is what happens.

image

The answer is obvious if you have read the Copy Paste series of articles.

If not, notice that small little icon. Click on it.

Merge Formatting merges the paragraph level formatting and keeps the character level formatting (Bold, Italic, etc is applied and remembered at character level).

paste special in word

Choosing Keep Text Only (A) achieves the desired effect because it only pastes the raw text so that the local formatting is fully applied.

image

This is how it works – even across documents where styles are not used.

Remember that you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL T.

Copy pasting when styles are used

This is relevant only while copy-pasting across different documents.

If source style is different than destination style, then the default option is
Use Destination Style. The logic is simple – the pasted text looks uniform.

Copy paste with styles - paste special in word

The source Heading 1 style (brown) was adjusted to match
the destination Heading 1 style (blue). Notice that the formatting manually applied to the paragraph was retained. You will have to handle that separately.

If you want you can choose other options Keep Source Styles, Merge Formatting, Keep Text Only. But in case of style conflict, the default option works best.

Setting default paste

Word is a very sophisticated word-processor. Therefore, it provides very granular control over copy paste. Click the Set Default Paste… option and see for yourself.

Set default paste in Word

There are four possible options. You can change the settings independently. I suggest that you try changing the first two options to Keep Text Only if you do lot of cross-document copy paste without using styles. The third and fourth option defaults are usually appropriate.

Try how it impacts your copy paste effectiveness. If it is not satisfactory, you can tweak the settings as required.

For IT professionals

I have not checked this personally. But I think you can set these defaults using group policy for Office 2013. Yes. In case you have not noticed it, Office has been providing full Group Policy integration using ADM files since 2003. High time you explored and used it to improve efficiency. Will write an article about it later.

In the next article I will discuss more Copy Paste settings available in Word