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Word is much, much more than a text processing program. Read the tips below to see how you can get the most out of your experience with Word!
Download a handy A4 overview of commonly used Word short-cuts here
By turning on the paragraph function (or Pilcrow, ¶) hidden characters such as space, tab and return, or enter, are displayed to give you a much better overview of the structure of your text. Mystery indentations and sudden layout changes suddenly become clear.
By using ctrl-shift-8 you can turn the paragraph function on or off.
Hard and soft return
There are two ways to implement the enter function; namely hard and soft return. By simply pressing the enter key you select a hard return, or a new paragraph. By first pressing the shift key and then pressing enter (shift-enter), you select a soft return which adds white space until you reach the beginning of the next line. A paragraph insertion is often not visible until, for example, white space is deleted and the layout suddenly goes crazy! Word will merge the text of both (separate) paragraphs and adapt the new text to the current paragraph format.
In a document composed of multiple chapters, you often want the next part to start on a new page. By first pressing the ctrl key and then pressing enter (ctrl-enter), you insert a page break; everything you add after the page break will automatically appear at the top of the next page.
Find and replace
If you want to replace a frequently used term throughout the entire text, this is made simple with the find and replace function. Use the ctrl-h keys to call it up, or use the button in the Home tab. In the first box, type the text you want to replace; in the second box type the text you want to replace it with. Selecting the 'Replace All' button means you can immediately make sweeping changes to the entire document. With 'Find Next’ you have the opportunity to first check to see whether this word or phrase needs to be replaced. If it should, select ‘Replace’. If not, carry on to the next on the list with ‘Find Next’.
When multiple people work on a document, it can be useful and less confusing to see what changes have been made. With the 'Track Changes' function any changes are highlighted. This teaching video from Microsoft shows very clearly how the ‘Track Changes’ function works.
You can set up a commonly used standard layout in the layout themes. Select which font type and font size as well as your standard line spacing and numbering preferences. In addition to the text body layout, you can also define your header and footer, sub-heading or hyperlink style. Right-click a theme from one of the many layout templates, then click ‘Modify’ to make adjustments.
It is possible to compare two documents with each other - a revised version of a contract, for example - to see what has been removed or added from the original version. Choose the Compare option in the Review tab. Once you have selected your two documents and compare them, any differences will appear on the left hand side of the screen.