Introduction to Microsoft Word





Word processing is the ability to create text and format it so it appears good looking, using different fonts, fancy characters, formatted paragraphs, and possibly other features not found on classic text editors.

Microsoft Word is a computer application used perform word processing for a document open in a Microsoft Windows computer.

Launching Microsoft Word

To use Microsoft Word, you must first open it. To do this, you would click Start -> (All) Programs -> Microsoft Word.

Microsoft Word 2000 is a member of the Microsoft Office 2000 family of applications. As such, it shares a lot of characteristics with other applications that are part of the same group.

A Microsoft Word file is called a document or a text document. Microsoft Word is a Multiple Document Interface (MDI). This means more than one document can be opened at a time and a user can work from many document alternatively. The first document created when the application starts, by default, is named Document1. If many documents are created while the program is running, they can be accessed from the main menu under Window. If the files are not being saved, subsequently created documents will be called Document2, Document3, and so on.

By default, when Microsoft Word 2000 starts, it displays a menu on top and two adjacent toolbars. In earlier versions, the application used to display the same toolbars but one on top of the other. These are the Standard and the Formatting toolbars.

Before digging into the intricacies of text manipulation in Microsoft Word, we will first analyze and review its interface.


Microsoft Word Interface

Since you have probably used Microsoft Windows before, you are expected to have done some word processing in WordPad. Therefore, the Microsoft Word’s interface is surely not intimidating. Although they share a few things such as some parts of the menus, the presence of two toolbars, a horizontal ruler, and vertical scroll bars, as a commercial and highly functional word processor, the application we are about to meet is a full-featured one.

On of the first differences between WordPad and Microsoft Word is the extended menu and toolbars of the latter. But the biggest difference is that WordPad is a Single Document Interface, which means only one document at a time can be opened. In Microsoft Word, you can alternate through various documents, cutting, copying and pasting from one to another with a single instance of the running application.


Practical Learning Practical Learning: Introducing Microsoft Word

  1. To start Microsoft Word, from the Taskbar, click Start -> Programs -> Microsoft Word
  2. On top of the application is a long bar called the Title Bar.
    On the most left side of the title bar, there is an icon that represents the application. That application icon also represents menu used to perform many operations related to Microsoft Word as an application.
    To use the system menu on the application icon, click the small icon
  3. A menu appears. From the system menu, click Restore
  4. To maximize the application again, click the icon again, and click Maximize from the menu
  5. On the right side of the icon, there are two groups of words. When Microsoft Word starts, it creates an empty document called Document1. You can then type your text. If at one time you find that you need another document, you can initiate a second one. In that case, you would have Document2. Eventually you can add more documents. We will come back to that feature. DocumentX represents the name of the file you are working on. If you save your document under an appropriate name, the new name would display in that area and Document1 or DocumentX would disappear.
    On the right side of Document is the name of the application. Microsoft Word would like you to know that it is the running application.
    On the right side of the application’s name, there is a long empty bar; this is the main area of the title. As empty as it looks, this area can be used to perform many actions because it has a menu of its own.
    To experiment with the title bar, double-click it. The window is restored
  6. To access the menu of the title bar, right-click the title bar and click Maximize from the shortcut menu.
    The window application is maximized
  7. On the most right side of the title bar system buttons used to perform routine operations on Microsoft Word as a window.
    Every one of these buttons has a name can display it when you position the mouse on top of the button (this feature is not available in Microsoft Windows 95).
    To see how they work, position the mouse on the left button. A tool tip appears displaying Minimize. Click the Minimize button
  8. To restore the window, click Document1 – Microsoft Word on the Taskbar.
    The Microsoft Word window is maximized
  9. Under the title bar, there is a group of aligned words such as File, Edit, View, etc. This group is called the Menu Bar or the menu.
    The menu allows you to perform all or almost all kinds of operations pertinent to word processing. To use the menu, you have to click one of the words. Here is an example.
    Click File
  10. The new menu in Microsoft Word 2000 is configured to display the most recently used items or the items that are most often used with the application. That is why you see the button.
    To display the rest of the menu, double-click File
  11. The File menu allows you to do many things. For example, from here you can create a new empty document and do many other things such as closing the current document, saving the document, or opening an existing file.
    Besides the File menu, to view other menu items, position the mouse on Edit. Notice that the menu is different from the previous. Position the mouse on Format and observe the menu
  12. To use a menu example, click Tools -> Options…
  13. From the Options dialog box, click the Blue Background And White Text check box. Increase the Recently Used File List to 8 Entries
    The General tab of the Options dialog
  14. Click OK. Notice that the screen is blue
  15. Type: This text is going up front and press Enter. Notice that the (white) text is displaying on a blue background
  16. Again on the main menu, click Tools -> Options…
  17. From the Options dialog, click the General property sheet. Click the Blue Background And White Text line to deselect its check box
  18. Click the File Locations property page. In the File Types list, make sure the Documents line is selected or highlighted; if it is not, click Documents to select it.
    Click the Modify… button
  19. From the Modify Location dialog, click the Look In combo box and select the (C:) drive. After the drive letter displays, double-click My Documents (if you are using Microsoft Windows NT, you might have to locate the folder where the exercises were installed). Double-click MS Word Exercises to display it in the Look In combo box.

    The Modify Location dialog is used to specify the default folder location
  20. Click OK
    Use the Options dialog to modify the default folder locations
  21. From the Options dialog, click Close
  22. Just like any menu that is part of the operating system, especially programs published by Microsoft, there are four classic categories of menus in Microsoft Word.

    A sub-menu that is gray is temporarily disabled, which means it is not available. Some examples at this time are Edit -> Paste, Data -> Refresh Data.

    To experiment with this kind of menu, click Edit then click Cut. Nothing happens. A menu in this state will not work, it is waiting for something else to happen, then it will become enabled
  23. A sub-menu that stands by itself will perform a simple action, some of those actions even occur behind the scenes, sometimes giving you the impression that nothing happened when you clicked them. Examples of such menus include File -> Save, Edit ª Copy, etc (The File ª Save menu will behave like the next category if the workbook has not been saved yet).

    To see an example of such a menu, click File -> Select All.
    A sub-menu is a child of another menu. It is used to group menu items that belong to the same sub-category.
  24. Menus in another category have three dots on their line. These menu items will call a dialog box when you click them.

    To see an example, click File, observe that the New... sub-menu has three dots, just like the disabled Save As..., the Page Setup..., and the Print...
    Click New.... Notice that it calls the New property sheet. Click the General property sheet. Click Blank Document and click OK
  25. The last category of menus has a right pointing arrow. You don't need to click these menus, the arrow means they have a sub-menu; just position your mouse on them and you will have access to the sub-menu.

    To see an example, on the main menu, double-click File, and then position your mouse on Send To. Notice the Send To sub-menu. While the menu still has focus, on the main menu, position the mouse on View, then position the mouse on Toolbars. Notice the list of toolbars
  26. To dismiss the menu, click the File menu.

    26. Whether a menu falls under one of our categories or not, some menu items display a combination of buttons on their line, these are shortcuts. A shortcut is a key or a combination of keys that you press (simultaneously) to perform an action.

    To see some of the shortcuts, on the main menu, click Edit and notice the shortcuts on Cut or Copy
  27. Position the mouse on Format and notice the Cells... shortcut
  28. Whenever you have opened a menu by mistake or you simply want to get rid of it, you usually can click somewhere else or the same menu.

    To cancel the open menu, press Esc
  29. To perform a single key shortcut, press the corresponding key. To perform a combination key shortcut, press and hold the first key, then press the second key once.

    To see a shortcut in action, notice the name of the document on the title bar (it might be Document2).
    Press and hold Ctrl, then press n once, and release Ctrl. Notice that the document name on the title bar has changed.

    From now on, if you are asked to press Ctrl + O or § + o, this means press and hold Ctrl, press the letter O once, and then release Ctrl.
    An MDI is a window application that has children windows.
  30. Since we already know that Microsoft Word is an MDI, you can check how many documents are opened at this time, using the main menu.
    On the main menu, double-click Window; observe the names of different documents. Click the second document on the list

  31. Some shortcuts can be seen or checked on the main menu, some of the shortcuts are not obvious, some others are part of the operating system.

    To display both workbooks, on the main menu, click Window -> Arrange All.

    The Ctrl + F4 shortcut can be used to close a child window in an MDI
  32. Some shortcuts can be seen or checked on the main menu, some of the shortcuts are not obvious, some others are part of the operating system.
    To close the current workbook, press Ctrl + F4 (Ctrl + F4 is a Microsoft Windows operating system's shortcut, that means it applies to almost any MDI application and is used to close a child window)
  33. To maximize the current workbook, press Ctrl + F10
  34. Under the menu bar, the Standard toolbar provides some of the most regularly performed actions of the main menu. Instead of using



General Help

Getting help is the ability to look for guidance or assistance with performing a task. Even the most skillful Microsoft Word users get stuck sometimes. Therefore, there is no shame with looking for help and only the most arrogant would pretend to know everything. Help is provided at different levels: from Microsoft Word, from the Microsoft web site, from friends and colleagues, from a teacher or a boss, etc.

The primary means of getting help in Microsoft Word is through the main menu. In this case, you can click Help -> Microsoft Word Help or press F1. This would display a window called Microsoft Word Help:

This HTML Help window is divided in two sections. The right frame displays the result of what is selected in the left section.

The left part displays categories of help. For detailed and titled sections, you can access the Contents property page and expand a section. To expand, you can either double-click a header or click its + button. Some headers are inside of others. Under each header, there are web pages. To see the contents of a web page, you can click it. This would display the page in the right frame.

The Answer Wizard page allows you to type a question or a word and do a search. To use it, first click the What Would You Like To Do text box and type:

After typing your question of a word, you can click Search. The Select Topic To Display list box would then display the matches that the application was able to find. If you find one that is suitable, you can click it and its page would display in the right frame.

The Index property page displays a list of symbols, characters, and words that would need an explanation:

To use it, you can click the Type Keywords text box and start typing, Microsoft Word Help would look for the next match to what you are typing and display the result.


Practical Learning Practical Learning: Getting Help

  1. To access help, press F1 and click Microsoft Word Help on the taskbar
  2. In the left section and in the Contents tab, click the + button of Creating, Opening, and Saving Documents to expand
  3. To expand the next header, double-click Opening Documents
  4. To display a result, click Show Or hide The List Of Recently Used Documents On The File Menu
  5. After reading the result in the right frame, click the Answer Wizard tab
  6. In the top text box, type How to close Microsoft Word and click Search
  7. In the bottom list, click Close a Document
  8. After reading the result in the right frame, click the Index tab
  9. Type hyp and notice how the list is completing
  10. In the list, double-click hyphenation
  11. After viewing the result in the right frame, close Microsoft Word Help

Context-Sensitive Help

Context-sensitive help refers to help provided on a specific item on the screen. Such help is provided for objects that are part of the Microsoft Word interface. It includes buttons on toolbars or sections of the status bar, dialog boxes etc. Context-sensitive help is also referred to as “What’s This?”.

To get context-sensitive help, press Shift + F1. In addition to the traditional arrow, the mouse cursor would be accompanied by a question mark. To get help on an object, you can just click it.

Another type of context sensitive help is provided in various dialog boxes. They display a button with a question mark on the left of the system Close button. To use this type of help, click the question mark button and click the item on which you need help.

Practical Learning: Using Context-Sensitive Help

  1. Press Shift + F1 and notice the new mouse cursor
  2. On the Standard toolbar, position the mouse on the Open button
  3. Click
  4. After viewing help, press Esc
  5. To get context-sensitive help on a dialog box, on the main menu, click Format -> Paragraph...
  6. In the Paragraph dialog box, click the What’s This button  and position the mouse on the Line Spacing combo box
  7. Click the Line Spacing combo box

  8. After viewing help, click Cancel

The Office Assistant

The Office Assistant is a “character” or a “virtual person” whose main job is to provide instant help when using a Microsoft Office product. To use its service, just click it, then type a word, a sentence, or a question. After pressing Enter, a primary list of possible matches would be displayed. If you do not find what is close to your request, you can use the available options or change your request.

If you don't want the Office Assistant on the screen while you are working, you can hide it. To do this, in Microsoft Word 2000, on the main menu, you can click Help -> Hide Office Assistant. To display it when it is not available, on the main menu, you can click Help -> Show the Office Assistant.

Practical Learning: Using the Office Assistant

  1. If the Office Assistant is not displaying on the screen, on the main menu, click Help -> Show Office Assistant
    To use the Office Assistant, click it
  2. Type Create Table and click Search

  3. On the list that appears, click Create a table
  4. In the Microsoft Word Help that appears, read the text in the right frame
  5. After reading it, close the Microsoft Word Help window

Online Help

Online help is a separate program that provides help on Microsoft Word. There are two main types of online help. If you have access to a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) CD-ROM or DVD, which is the help system provided to programmers who use Microsoft technologies (such as Microsoft Visual Studio), it includes a section on Microsoft Office, which internally includes a sub-category on Microsoft Word. On that help system and in the left frame, you can expand the link that displays Office.

Although help on the Internet tends to be disparate, it is still the widest form of help available. This is provided in web sites, web pages, newsgroups, support groups, etc. As the publisher of the word processor, it is only natural to refer to the Microsoft corporate web site first for help. The Microsoft web site is divided in categories. A web site is dedicated to Microsoft Word at http://www.microsoft.com/word. You can get help at http://support.microsoft.com. Probably the most visited site of Microsoft for developers of all Microsoft products is http://msdn.microsoft.com. This last site provides a tree-based list that presents items in categories.

Microsoft Word Exit

Since Microsoft Word shares the same functionality with other applications, you can close it easily.

  • To close Microsoft Word, from the main menu, you can click File -> Exit
  • To close Microsoft Word from the system icon, you can either click it and click Close, or you can double-click its system icon
  • To close Microsoft Word from its title bar, you can click its Close button
  • To close Microsoft Word like any regular window of the Microsoft Windows applications, you can press Alt + F4
  • To close Microsoft Word using mnemonics, you can press Alt, F, X.

Practical Learning Practical Learning: Closing Microsoft Access

  • To close Microsoft Word, click the Close button on the top right corner of the window

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