Read an Excerpt
Making Your Work Go Faster
Computers are supposed to make your work easier and faster. And if you can cut through all the jargon and technobabble, they can really do that.
Part V explains shortcuts and commands that will help you become a speedy user of Word 97. Everything in this part of the book was put here so that you can get off work an hour earlier and take the slow, scenic route home.
In this part . . .
- Moving around quickly in long documents
- Creating form letters by merging letters with names and addresses in a database table
- Linking files
- Entering data quickly with forms
- Using master documents and outlines to organize your work
- Customizing Word 97 so that it works for you
(The online version of this book has been abridged.)
Bookmarks for Hopping Around
Instead of pressing PgUp or PgDn or clicking the scroll bar to thrash around in a long document, you can use bookmarks. All you do is put a bookmark in an important spot in your document that you'll return to many times. When you want to return to that spot, choose Insert-->Bookmark, double-click the bookmark in the Bookmark dialog box, and click Cancel.
This mystery writer, true to the craft, wrote the end of the story first and used bookmarks to jump back and forth between the beginning and end to make all the clues fit together:
To place a bookmark in a document:
- Click where you want the bookmark to go.
Choose Insert-->Bookmark (or press Ctrl+Shift+F5).
Type a descriptive name in the Bookmark Name box. You cannot include spaces in bookmark names.
Click the Add button.
To go to a bookmark:
- Choose Insert-->Bookmark (or press Ctrl+Shift+F5).
Double-click the bookmark or select it and click the Go To button.
Click Cancel or press Enter.
You can arrange bookmarks in the list in alphabetical order or by location in the document by choosing Name or Location at the bottom of the Bookmark dialog box. Click the Hidden bookmarks check box to see cross-references in the Bookmark Name box, although hidden bookmarks appear as code and don't tell you much about what they are or where they are in the document.
To delete a bookmark, select it in the Bookmark dialog box and click the Delete button.
Churning Out Form Letters
Thanks to the miracle of computing, you can churn out form letters in the privacy of your home or office, just like the big companies do. To create form letters, you complete three steps:
- Create the main document, the document with the actual text of the letter.
Create the source document, the document with the names, addresses, and any other text that differs from letter to letter. You can use an address list that you have already created and saved as the source document. To use that list, however, it must be in a table or database format. See "Constructing the Perfect Table" in Part VI to learn how to turn a simple list into a table.
Merge the two documents to generate the form letters.
Before you generate the form letter, write a first draft. You need to know precisely where the information that varies from recipient to recipient -- the names and addresses, for example -- goes before you start generating the letter.
To generate form letters:
- Open a new document by clicking the New button, pressing Ctrl+N, or choosing File-->New. With the File-->New command, you can choose one of the Word 97 letter templates for your form letter by choosing a template from the Letters & Faxes tab.
Choose Tools-->Mail Merge. The Mail Merge Helper dialog box appears.
Click the Create button and choose Form Letters from the drop-down list.
A message box asks if you want to create the form letters in the active document or in a new document. Click the Active Window button.
Under step 2 in the Mail Merge Helper, click Get Data to see the menu of choices for getting the mailing addresses for the letters:
Create Data Source: Choose this option to enter the names and addresses now. The instructions in the rest of this entry explain what to do if you make this choice.
Open Data Source: Choose this option to get the names and addresses for the form letters from a mailing list table that you or somebody else has already created. See "Printing Labels for Mass Mailings" in Part IV if you choose this option. The techniques for getting data from another source are the same whether you are creating labels or form letters.
Use Address Book: Choose this option to get the names and addresses from the Personal Address Book, Outlook Address Book, or Schedule+ Address Book.
Header Options: Choose this sophisticated option to get headers (data categories) from one file and the raw data from another. (To find out about this option, choose Help-->Contents and Index, click the Index tab, and enter header sources in box 1.)
Choose Create Data Source. You see the Create Data Source dialog box. This is where you tell Word 97 which fields to include in the form letter. In computerese, a field is simply one piece of information. For example, your name and address include at least six fields: first name, last name, street number and name, city, state, and postal code.
In the Field Names in Header Row box, click on each field you don't need and then click the Remove Field Name button.
Carefully consider which fields your form letter requires, and look in the Field Names in Header Row box to see which fields you need. Likely, your form letter needs the FirstName, LastName, Address1, City, State, and PostalCode field.
To create a field of your own, type its name in the Field Name text box and click the Add Field Name button. If you were just creating an address list, you could get by with the fields I mentioned in step 7. However, your form letter likely needs other fields. For example, if you want to include a date -- perhaps the recipient's birthday -- you need to create a "birthday" field so that you can enter birthdays in your letter. Field names cannot have spaces in them.
Arrange the field names in the Field Names in Header Row box in the order in which they will appear in your form letter. To do so, highlight a field and press one of the Move buttons to move the field to the right place.
Click OK to close the Create Data Source dialog box.
In the Save As dialog box, enter a name for the new document you are creating to save your form letters. If you have been following these steps to create labels, enter a name for the labels you are about to create. Then click Save.
Word tells you that you need to add records to the data source document you just named. Click the Edit Data Source button. The Data Form dialog box appears with the names of the fields you created in the Create Data Source dialog box.
Enter data in each field. If you need to leave a field blank, leave it blank -- don't put any blank spaces in it.
Click the Add New button to enter the next name and address. When you're done entering all of them, click OK.
Now you see the main document again. This is where you type the text of the form letter. If you followed my advice, you have a first draft to copy from. Now all you have to do is insert the fields in the correct places.
Start typing the letter. When you come to a place where you want to insert a field, click the Insert Merge Field button and choose the field from the list.
Keep typing and making field selections with the Insert Field Merge menu. Click the View Merged Data button from time to time to see how you are progressing. You can format the letter any way you wish. It will look something like this when you're done:
When you're done, click the Mail Merge Helper button.
In the now familiar Mail Merge Helper dialog box, click the Merge button. The Merge dialog box appears.
In the Merge dialog box, tell Word 97 how to merge the data source with the main document:
Merge To: Choose New document to create a new file with all the form letters in it. If you're generating a lot of form letters, this file can get very large. Choose Printer to merge the names and addresses with the form letter as the form letters are printed. This choice requires less disk space. Choose Electronic mail if you are merging e-mail addresses with e-mail messages.
Records to Be Merged: Click All, or else enter a record number in the From and To boxes.
When Merging Records: Make sure the Don't Print Blank Lines When Data Fields Are Empty check box is selected. That way, you keep blank lines from appearing in addresses.
Check Errors: Click this button and Word 97 reports errors as the files are merged. For example, it tells you when it can't find a match between the data source and a field in your form letter.
Query Options: Opens a dialog box so that you can sort (rearrange) or filter (weed out) records. Click this option, for example, to merge the letters in a different order (perhaps in zip code order) or merge only addresses in a certain state or zip code.
Click Merge in the Merge dialog box.
If you chose to merge to the printer in step 19, the Print dialog box appears so that you can choose settings and print away. If you chose New document, Word 97 creates a new document with the name Form Letters1. Look over the form letters for mistakes and perhaps enter a few chummy, personal comments before you print the document.
Sign and mail the form letters. Use Elvis stamps if you can find them.
Correcting Typos on the Fly
Unless you or someone else has messed with the Word 97 Auto-Correct settings, the invisible hand of Word 97 corrects certain typos as you enter them. Try misspelling weird by typing wierd to see what I mean. Try entering two hyphens (- -) and you get an em dash (--). You can have Word 97 correct the typos you make often, and with a little cunning you can even use the AutoCorrect feature to enter long company names and hard-to-spell names on the fly.
To change the settings and make AutoCorrect work for you, choose Tools-->AutoCorrect. The AutoCorrect dialog box appears.
Remove the check marks from the AutoCorrect features you don't want. For example, if you enter a lot of computer code in your manuscripts, you don't necessarily want the first letter of sentences to be capitalized automatically, so you should click the Capitalize First Letter of Sentences check box to deselect it.
If you want, remove the check mark from the Replace Text as You Type box to keep Word's invisible hand from correcting capitalization and spelling idiosyncrasies as you enter them.
Scroll through the list and take a look at the words that are "autocorrected." If you don't want a word on the list to be corrected, select it and click Delete.
If a word that you misspell often isn't on the list, you can add it to the list and have Word 97 correct it automatically. Enter the misspelling in the Replace box, enter the right spelling in the With box, and click the Add button.
If you don't like one of the Word 97 replacement words, select the word on the list, enter a new replacement word in the With box, and click the Replace button.
Click OK when you're done.
The Spelling dialog box has an AutoCorrect button. Click it when you're spell-checking a document to add the word you're correcting to the list of words that are "autocorrected." The AutoCorrect choice also appears on the shortcut menu when you right-click a misspelled word.
If AutoCorrect frustrates you, you don't have to ditch it altogether. You can have Word make exceptions for the words, proper names, and abbreviations you use. For example, if you work for QUestData Corp., you can make Word allow that name to stand but still correct other instances when you type two capital letters at the start of a word. If you use a certain abbreviation often, you can add it to the list of abbreviations that Word 97 lets stand without starting the next word with a capital letter. Here's how:
- Choose Tools-->AutoCorrect.
Click the Exceptions button.
On the First Letter tab, enter abbreviations that you intend to use but that aren't on the list. Word capitalizes the first letter after a period, except in the cases of the abbreviations listed here.
On the INitial CAps tab, enter words or names with two capitals in a row that you want Word to let stand.
Click OK twice to get back to your document.
With a little cunning, you can use AutoCorrect to enter long words, long e-mail addresses, and the like. Suppose you are writing the definitive work on Gaetano Donizetti, the Italian opera composer. To keep from having to type his long name over and over, choose Tools-->AutoCorrect, enter /gd (or something similar) in the Replace box, enter the full name in the With box, and click Add. Now all you have to do is type /gd and a blank space, and AutoCorrect writes out the entire name. The catch is that you have to enter letters in the Replace box that you won't ever, ever, ever need to really use.
Customizing Word 97
You can make Word 97 work your way by fiddling with the commands in the Options dialog box. You can even put menu commands in different places and invent your own keyboard shortcuts for executing commands. See also "Rearranging the Toolbars," also in Part V, to learn how to make toolbars with your favorite command buttons on them.
One glance at the ten tabs in the Options dialog box tells you that there is a lot to fiddle with. You can see this dialog box by choosing Tools-->Options. If you decide to play around with these options, do so carefully because you might change a setting, forget where you changed it, and not be able to change it back again.
Changing the menu commands
You can decide for yourself which menu commands appear on which menus. You can also add macros, fonts, AutoText entries, and styles to menus. Doing so is easy, and if you make a mistake and want to go back to the original menus, that is easy, too.
The quickest (but scariest) way to remove a command from a menu is to press Ctrl+Alt+hyphen. When the cursor changes into an ominous black bar, simply select the menu command you want to remove. Press Esc, by the way, if you decide after you press Ctrl+Alt+hyphen that you don't want to remove menu commands.
A more precise way to remove menu commands or alter the menus is use the Commands tab of the Customize dialog box:
- Choose Tools-->Customize.
Click the Commands tab.
If you want to make the menu changes to a template other than Normal.dot or the template you are working in, choose the template in the Save In drop-down list.
In the Categories list, select the menu you want to change. If you're adding a macro, font, AutoText entry, or style to a menu, scroll to the bottom of the Categories list and select it. The commands that are on the menu you chose appear in the Commands list on the right.
Choose the command you're changing in the Commands list.
What you do next depends on whether you want to remove the menu command, add it to a menu, or change its position on a menu. Changing menu commands requires moving the pointer out of the Customize dialog box and clicking on menus on the menu bar.
Removing: To remove a menu command, move the pointer over the menu that holds the command you want to remove and click gently. That's right -- click on the menu name as you normally would if you were pulling it down to choose one of its commands. When the menu appears, click the menu command you want to remove and drag it off the menu. You see a gray rectangle above the pointer and an X below it. Release the mouse button after you have dragged the menu command away from the menu.
Adding: To add a menu command to a menu, drag it from the Commands list in the Customize dialog box and to the menu itself. As you do this, you see a gray rectangle above the pointer and a plus sign below it. Move the pointer over the menu to which you want to add the command. The menu appears. Gently drag the pointer down the menu to the spot where you want the command to be listed. A black line appears on the menu to show where your command will go. When the command is in the right spot, release the mouse button.
Changing position: To change the position of a command on a menu, move the pointer out of the Customize dialog box and gently click on the menu whose command you want to move. Then drag the pointer up or down the list of commands. A black line shows where the command will move when you release the mouse button. When the black line is in the right spot, let go of the mouse button.
If you wish that you hadn't messed with the menus and want to repent, choose Tools-->Customize click the Commands tab, right-click on the name of the menu whose commands you fooled with, and choose Reset from the shortcut menu.
Changing the keyboard shortcuts
If you don't like Word 97 keyboard shortcuts, you can change them and invent keyboard shortcuts of your own. You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to symbols, macros, fonts, AutoText entries, and styles.
- Choose Tools-->Customize.
Click the Keyboard button. You see the Customize Keyboard dialog box.
To make the changes to a template other than Normal.dot or the template you are working in, choose a template in the Save Changes In drop-down list.
In the Categories list, choose the menu in which you want to assign the keyboard shortcut. At the bottom of the list are the Macro, Font, AutoText, Style, and Common symbols categories.
Choose the command name, macro, font, AutoText entry, style, or symbol name in the Commands list.
Click in the Press New Shortcut Key box and type the keyboard shortcut. Press the actual keys. For example, if the shortcut is Ctrl+Z, press the Ctrl key and the Z key -- don't type out C-t-r-l-+-Z.
If you try to assign one that is already assigned, the words Currently assigned to and a command name appear below the Press New Shortcut Key box. You can override the pre-assigned keyboard assignment by entering a keyboard assignment of your own.
Click the Assign button.
When you're done, click the Close button.
Click Close in the Customize dialog box.
To delete a keyboard shortcut, display it in the Current Keys box, click it to select it, and click the Remove button.
You can always get the old keyboard shortcuts back by choosing the Reset All button in the Customize Keyboard dialog box. Click Yes when Word 97 asks whether you really want the old keyboard shortcuts back.
Entering Graphics and Text Quickly
Put the text and graphics you use often on the Insert-->AutoText list. That way, you can enter the text or graphics simply by clicking a few menu commands or by choosing names from a toolbar. Addresses and company logos are ideal candidates for the Insert-->AutoText list because they take so long to enter.
To see how AutoText works, choose Insert-->AutoText and slowly slide the cursor over the AutoText command categories. As you do so, you see lists of the generic words and phrases that the mighty Microsoft Corporation thinks you are likely to need. To enter one of these words or phrases in a document, all you have to do is click it.
Creating your own AutoText entries
To create an AutoText entry:
- Type the text or import the graphic.
Select the text or graphic.
Choose Insert-->AutoText-->New or press Alt+F3. The Create AutoText dialog box appears:
Type a name for the text or graphic in the text box and click OK.
You can also create a text entry by choosing Insert-->AutoText-->AutoText. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, click the AutoText tab, and then type the word or phrase in the Enter AutoText Entries here box. Click OK when you're done.
Inserting an AutoText entry
The fastest way to insert an AutoText entry is to place the cursor where you want it to go and start typing the entry's name. Midway through, a yellow bubble appears with the entire entry. Press Enter at that point to insert the whole thing:
Another speedy way to insert AutoText entries is to type the entry's name and then press F3.
You can also enter text or a graphic from the Insert-->AutoText list:
- Place the cursor where you want the text or graphic to appear.
Choose Insert-->AutoText-->Normal. The Normal list is where the entries you made are shown.
In the Normal list, click the name of the AutoText entry that you want to insert.
Yet another way to insert an AutoText entry is to display the AutoText toolbar, click on the drop-down menu, and click on the entry.
To delete an AutoText entry, choose Insert-->AutoText-->AutoText, click the AutoText tab, click the entry you want to delete, and click the Delete button.
Those yellow AutoText bubbles can be very annoying. They pop up in the oddest places. Try typing the name of a month, for example, to see what I mean. To keep the bubbles from appearing, choose Insert-->AutoText-->AutoText and click to remove the check mark from the Show AutoComplete Tips for AutoText and Dates check box.