John McCormick

Microsoft Word 2000 has handy formatting tools that you can apply selectively.

In the Format/Change Case pull-down menu are five formatting styles that arrange selected text as standard sentences or titles in all capitals or all lowercase. There's a toggle option to switch the case of each letter in a block'handy for typists who hit the Caps Lock key by mistake.

The menu alters case settings in selected text on the fly so that a typist won't have to apply new styles or templates to an entire document.

Spaced out? Here are more formatting shortcuts that occasional Word 2000 users ought to know.

Pressing the Ctrl key plus the spacebar removes all formatting from a highlighted block, returning the text to default settings. If you haven't highlighted any text, it removes all formatting from the word under the cursor.

Keyboard hijinks

The Shift key plus the spacebar usually moves the cursor one space, but if you happen to have a block highlighted, it will delete the entire block. It does the same thing if you press Caps Lock plus the spacebar. Ditto on keyboards with the Windows key: Pressing that plus the spacebar, or Num Lock plus the spacebar, will delete the highlighted block.

All such deletions, accidental or otherwise, can be undone by pressing Ctrl plus Z or by clicking on the toolbar's Undo icon.

The Alt key plus spacebar opens the Window size/position menu whether text is highlighted or not.

Most users go to Word's pop-up menu to print their documents, hitting Enter or clicking OK and accepting the defaults. Only occasionally do they drill deeper to make changes via the Properties button, and few users ever explore the Options button in the lower left corner.

To make changes that affect only the current print job, use the pull-down menus shown on the main printer dialog page that appears when you press Ctrl plus P, click on the print icon or select Print from the File menu.

If you frequently make the same menu changes when you print, save time by changing the defaults permanently.

To reset printer defaults, go to the Tools menu and click Options and then the Print tab, or just click on the Options button in the lower left corner of the main print dialog window.

Both paths lead to the same options menu, where you can choose basic settings to control background printing, reverse page order, or specify printing of items such as document properties and hidden text.

Many users probably should change the update options, which by default are turned off. If you place hyperlinks in a document and neglect to alter this default, a newly printed page will not show the latest link information.

Under printing options, select the check boxes to update links and fields. Word will then update the linked information before printing a document.

Virus inhibitor

Most government users know that sharing Word files can be dangerous because of the epidemic of malicious Word macro viruses. It's not enough to install antivirus programs because new viruses are always a step ahead of the best filtering software.

An obvious solution is to share files only in Word's Rich Text Format. You can keep 99 percent of the fancy formatting but lose the macros.

Did you know that Word macros still work when you save files as rtf? It's a feature Microsoft has never gotten around to promoting, probably because it didn't want to publicize the dangers of macros embedded in .doc files.

When you create a .doc file using macros or build a macro within a document, the macro can be attached to the file so that recipients can take advantage of the special macro features. But many macros merely speed up document creation, and there's no need to distribute them along with the document.

If you save a file as rtf, you can still use your macros because they are stored locally. Once the document leaves your PC or network, however, it can no longer call up the macro routines and is effectively sanitized against spreading any macro viruses. The same applies to incoming .rtf documents.

What a drag

I have a large monitor and like to work with wide text on screen. I prefer word processors that let me widen the margins while editing, then change them back before printing.

Unfortunately, you can't set arbitrary margins in Word 2000 by dragging the rulers. The best workaround I've found is to go to Files, Page Setup, then change paper size to legal and paper orientation to landscape. Build a macro to automate this.

The margins extend to a maximum width and height of 22 inches. Word will remind you that the result can't be printed, but eventually it will let you work with really big text on-screen.

This change makes moving paragraphs around a lot easier because you can see more of the document at a time. Isn't that the whole point of having a big monitor?

John McCormick, a free-lance writer and computer consultant, has been working with computers since the early 1960s. E-mail him at [email protected].


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