Lately, I have received numerous questions about using Microsoft Word. For the next several articles, I’ll cover how to set it up once you have it installed, how to use it to write letters, and some other features you may find useful for personal use and for business use.
Since there are several versions out there that are in use, most of what I write about should be exact, but there may be times when the information will vary slightly. I will primarily focus on Word 2007 and 2010.
Once you have Microsoft Word installed, there are a couple things I like to do to get it ready. Let’s begin by setting the default font so that when you first open up a new document, you can begin writing a letter without having to change this setting.
Open Microsoft Word and near the top in the ribbon of options, you’ll see different labeled sections. Find the Font section and to the right of Font, click the tiny arrow and the Font dialog box will open. In the Font window, scroll down and select “Times New Roman” or whatever you choose to have as your default font. Next under “Font Style” select “Regular” and under “Size,” select 12. You can leave the rest of the settings as they are. Now, click the “Default” button below. The next box will indicate you are about to change the default font to Times New Roman, 12pt. Click “Yes” to make this “affect all new documents based on the NORMAL template.” Click “OK” to save your changes.
Times New Roman is the generally accepted font for business letters because of its readability, but if you desire another font, style or size, just select it and click “Yes” then click “OK” to save your changes.
While you are writing your document, it’s important that you save it from time-to-time. Many people get confused between the “Save” and “Save As” options. Go ahead and open Microsoft Word and even before you type a single word, you can choose to save your document to your computer.
To begin, click the round circle at the top-left and select “Save” or press the “Ctrl” and “s” keys on your keyboard simultaneously and the “Save As” dialog box will open. You’ll notice that this box resembles the Windows Explorer box we use to browse our folders and files on our system. Once open, to the left, I recommend you select “Documents” under the Libraries category. I say this because when it comes to finding your personal files, saving your files in one of the four categories (Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos) makes it simple to find your stored files in the future and since this is a document, it makes sense to save it in the “Documents” library. It also makes it easier to do backups. Go ahead and name your document by choosing a file name, something that will allow you to identify your document the next time you open it. For now, you may leave the “Save as type” field on “Word Document.” Click “Save” when you are ready.
Now, as you are typing your document, save it often so you don’t lose any data if the power goes out or your computer decides to freeze up.
The difference in using “Save” and “Save As,” the “Save As” option allows you to change the options such as where the document will be saved, the name of the document and the type of word document.
Let me illustrate this. After you have saved your document, let’s say you want to save it to another location on your computer, or you may want to give it a different name or you may even want to save it in an earlier Microsoft Word version. In any of these cases, you select the “Save As” option so you can change these choices. If your document has already been saved and you click the “Save” option or you press the “Ctrl” and “s” keys on your keyboard simultaneously, it will merely save your document using the same options you already selected.
When we first began our new document above and we clicked the “Save” button, it opened up with the “Save As” window because we hadn’t selected any of the aforementioned options yet.
Practice these options and next week, I’ll cover paragraph formatting.
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 13 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@MicroScottPro.com.