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Microsoft Word is possibly one of the most important tools to master today. It is the program that many people use as the basis of their digital writing and is a one stop solution for developing your document be it a letter or an elaborate brochure.

When you first open Microsoft Word, you are given the option to choose from thousands of templates to choose from.  The first option is a blank document with a ‘Take a Tour’ option also on screen. This is a tour of MS Word for beginners.

Choose the blank document.  The ribbon at the top of the screen gives you the ability to format and customise documents to your preference.

In the top of a Word documents is a ‘quick access toolbar’ where you can choose tools your use regularly as shortcuts. ̕Two useful shortcuts are arrow left and arrow right, undo and redo, for quick corrections.  Click on the quick options to suit.

There is also an Autosave, which you can turn on or off after you first save your document. Save a document by clicking on File -Save and choose where in your file explorer to save the document.  After you name a document, the name will appear in the top centre.  To the right you will see – an which will reduce or enlarge the size of the document on the screen. X closes the document. There is also the option to hide the ribbon with the arrow up command, just before minimize.

Some useful shortcut commands when using Word are holding down together Ctrl + C (Copy), Ctrl + V (Paste), Ctrl + X (Cut), Ctrl + Z (Undo), Ctrl + Y (Redo), Ctrl + B (Bold), Ctrl + I (Italic), Ctrl + U (Underline), Ctrl + P (Print).  Cut, copy and paste options are also found in the Home tab in the clipboard section.

Home – Fonts

In the Home tab you can format the font style, size and colour. Calibri is the most commonly used font in Word. Highlight a range of text by left clicking and dragging or set the font to your preference before you begin. You can also Bold, Italic and Underline using B, I, and U.  Here you can also change the font colour or highlight some text by clicking on the colour dropdowns.  In the lower right of the font section, click on the arrow for all the font options available and test some out to understand what they do.

Home – Paragraph

The first options you see in this section are bullet points, numbering and secondary bullet points. All have dropdowns to allow you customise how your bullet points will look. Just below the bullet points are options for text alignment.  Most text is aligned left, but you may want to centre a heading. This can be done by highlighting the text to centre and aligning centre, second option. The third option is aligning text to the right and the fourth is ‘justify’ where text is arranged to be aligned both right and left, most notably seen in newspaper articles.

Right of the bullet points is the ability to move paragraphs inwards, away from the margin, or outwards, closer to the margins.  To the bottom of paragraph section, you can change the colour behind the text using the dropdown and add borders to chosen text using the second dropdown. Again, the bottom right arrow takes you to the advanced options.

Insert Tab

The Insert tab allows you add pictures, videos, tables and graphics to your document. To add a picture, click ‘Pictures’ in the illustrations section and choose a picture from your file explorer. Reduce or increase the size of the picture by holding down left click and dragging inward or outward. Clicking on the picture will bring up a new tab on the ribbon ‘Picture Format’.  Here you can do some edits, including cropping, to the picture.

Clicking on the picture and choosing the ‘Layout’ tab allow you to move the picture to where you wish and align text around the picture in the ‘arrange section’.  Click the dropdown beside ‘position’ to place the picture where you wish and click the dropdown under ‘Wrap Text’ for options on where and how to place text around the picture.

Tables

Tables are used to set out information in a way that is easy to evaluate. Insert a table by using the Insert – Table and then choose the numbers of rows and columns you need. Right click inside the table to see how you can add or delete rows and columns. You will also see an option to split an individual cell which brings up a window on how you want the cell divided. If you wish to merge two or more cells, highlight the cells (hold down left click and drag), then right click and you will see the options to ‘merge cells’.  You can change the width of the columns and rows by putting the cursor over the relevant line and dragging to suit.

If you would like to change to table to define borders or shade some areas, click on the cross in to highlight the whole table and a new tab ‘Table Design’ will appear in the ribbon.  Here you can customise your table with header styles and borders.

Design Tab

The design tab allows you to format the entire document. Here you can change the font and paragraph spacings.  You can also add borders and change the background colour to the document using the dropdowns ‘Page Color’ and ‘Page Borders’.

Layout Tab

In the ‘Page setup’ of the Layout tab you can change the width of margins, change paper size from the standard A4 and standardise the document to have more than one column of text. You can also change the orientation of the document between portrait and landscape.

Review Section

‘Proofing’ in the review section is a useful tool for spell checking and grammar. Track changes is an editing command that allows you make changes to a document but keep track of the changes that were made to the original document. To use track changes, click – Review – Tracking and highlight track changes. Then go through the document replacing text with corrections. Turn off tracking when finished by ensuring ‘track changes’ is not highlighted.  For someone to change the document and accept tracking changes to the document, go to Tracking – Show Mark-ups. Then click on ‘’Accept’ or ‘Reject’ options in the changes section.

This tutorial has been an Introduction to Microsoft Word, which I hope you have found useful. Word is an extensive application with very advanced features, some of which I will cover in later tutorials.

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