Seven More Word Tips

Some practical advice this week. I did a post a while back about my all time top five word tips. But here are a few more, some quite small things that I’ve realised people often don’t know and make more work for themselves figuring out ways around.

I’m using Word 2007, but most of these will be somewhere in your version of Word if that is different, and probably in other word processors too. Click on the pictures to open larger, clearer versions.

Paste Special

Suppose you want to paste in some text from a different document, but it has different formatting from the destination document? You could just paste it in and then adjust the formatting. Or you could use Paste Special (click the arrow under Paste in 2007 and 2010).

Select Unformatted Text and it will paste in the plain text with no formatting, so will just format in the style of the destination document.

Paste Special

Format Painter

But let’s say you already pasted it in with just Paste and want to change its formatting to match the rest of the destination document. Use the Format Painter.

Format PainterSelect a paragraph with the right formatting.
Click the Format Painter.
Select the text you want to apply that formatting to.

Hard Page Ends

You get to the end of a chapter and want to start the next chapter on a new page. So you hit Return/Enter a few times until Word breaks onto the next page, and type ‘Chapter #’, right? That will work – if you’re never ever going to change the text above it, causing your chapter heading to move up and down and need manual correction.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! By entering blank lines until you got to the next page you created a soft page end. But what you want is a hard page end, that will always start your new chapter on a new page, whatever you do to the previous text.

And it’s easy. Hold down Ctrl and press Return or Enter. You immediately jump to a new page and that’s where your chapter heading will stay – on a new page. Alternatively choose Insert, Page Break. If working with text already typed in, position your cursor where you want to start the new page. This will save you so much time later correcting the position of new chapters.

Hide White Space

Before - note the header and footer space either side of the page break.Speaking of page ends, hard and soft, they sure do take up a lot of screen space when your document is in Print Layout view, showing the headers and footers. Okay, you could use a different view, but if you need to be in Print Layout view, you can regain a bit of screen space, while still seeing your page breaks.

After - note the header and footer are hidden and the break is shown by only a narrow gap - but is still visible.Hover your cursor in that small gap between pages on screen. The cursor will change to what looks like two small pages with arrows on them. Double click on that to hide the header and footer and bring the bottom of the last page of text and the top of the next close together.

Much more room for text on screen! Ideal for small screens. To reverse it, just do the same thing and it will put it back.

Reading Highlight

Reading HighlightDo you have a hit list of overused words and other problems you search your document for when editing? Do you want to easily see how often you use a problem word per page? Use Reading Highlight.

Go to Find and type in a word or phrase. Click on Reading Highlight. Word highlights that search term in your document. (It’s just a temporary highlight, not formatting.) You can then close the Find box and the highlight should remain, so you can scroll through and see just how thickly the word is scattered in your document.


Quick! You have to go to Chapter Six right now to check something! Or you have to go check that scene where the hero talked about the twelve dogs his family used to own and all their names! Scroll scroll scroll scroll… or go to Find and type in Chapter Six – or was it Chapter 6. Or did you managed to type it as Chaoter Six and didn’t correct it yet?

Bookmarks to the rescue! Know you’ll keep coming back to a scene for reference? Or started a new chapter? Position your cursor at the start of the chapter or scene and choose Insert, Bookmark. Give it a name (no spaces allowed.) Click Add. You don’t see anything in the document, but Press Go To (F5) and choose Bookmarks, or Insert, Bookmarks again and you can select that bookmark to jump right there.
(BONUS TIP: You can use Bookmarks to create hyperlinks to ‘places in this document’.)

Page numbers

Hey, they are easy! I hear you cry. Insert page number, pick one, job done! But what about if you want a title page or cover sheet on your document, with no page number showing and the first page of text to be page 1?

This takes two steps. (You can do them in any order.)

Click on Insert, Page Number and choose Format Page Numbers from the menu. Under the Page Number section select Start At and change the number to 0.

Format Page Numbers

Go to the first page of the document. Double click in the Header space (you’ll need the white space showing to do that.) Or open your header for editing however you do normally. You see the Header and Footer Design tools. In the Options section tick Different First Page. Your page number (and anything else you added to the header for the document) will now vanish from the header. Add in anything you do want in there and close your header.

Different First Page

Your page numbering now starts from 1 on your first actual document page and your title page/cover sheet has no number.

I hope these seven tips bring you luck!

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