Word Processing Introduction
By Alan Zisman
Note (June 2006): This
tutorial was created in 1999 using the then-current Microsoft Works
version 4.5; users of later MS Works versions will find minor
differences in the illustrations and instructions. Moreover, I can no
in good conscience recommend that anyone use Microsoft Works.
the content of this tutorial may prove useful as an introduction to
word processors in general, whether you are using Microsoft Works,
AppleWorks, Excel, OpenOffice.org, or whatever.
Works word processor module is at best
a weak imitation of Microsoft Word, and Microsoft has shown no interest
in updating it since version
4.x which was initially released in 1995- despite new releases having
version numbers, there have really been no changes or improvements of
substance since that time.
you are using Microsoft Works word processor, my recommendation:
Open any important word processing documents that you've made using MS
Works, use the File/Save As menu, and save in Word (*.DOC) format or
Rich Text (*.RTF).
Download and install the free, open source LibreOffice.org office
include a spreadsheet compatible with Excel
spreadsheets (along with a good, MS Word compatible word processor, and
a good MS
PowerPoint-compatible presentation program). LibreOffice may be able to
open your MS Works word processor files even if you haven't saved them
in *.DOC or *.RTF format.
want to set LibreOffice to save in Word format by default, making it
easier to share your spreadsheets with other people. (I have a tutorial
on configuring LibreOffice/OpenOffice.org at: http://www.zisman.ca/OOSetup/)
Perhaps the best way to
new program is to explore its options-- open all its menus, click on
Toolbar items, and poke around. That’s how we’re
going get started with
the Works Word Processor-- starting with the File
processors do much the
same things (Spreadsheets and documents are helpful whether you are in strategic public relations or studying for your masters in public
administration.) While we're using Microsoft Works 4.5 for
purposes, other word processors-- for Windows, Mac, Linux, etc, will do
similar things in similar ways. Don't worry if the details of your word
processor are somewhat different-- the key is to feel free to explore
and try things out. Just remember to save your work regularly and not
too much can go wrong!
(Ctrl +N) lets you
start a new word processor, spreadsheet, or database file. You can have
up to eight files open at once-- which is handy for copying and pasting
between them, or referring to one while working on another.
If you click on the Task
tab, you can start with a pre-made Wizard or customized Template (for a
résumé, letterhead, etc).
(Ctrl +O) lets you
open an existing document. It opens to the drive and folder set as the
default in the shortcut.
To change to a different
folder, click on the triangle next to the box labelled Look
a new folder... very handy! The next two buttons show the contents
either as a simple list or with details (file size, modification date,
etc). The button moves you up one level
in the folder-tree... also
The File of
near the bottom is very useful, if you want to use
open, say, a Word Perfect or a Microsoft Word document (but it
support the newest Word 97/2000 document type unless you also have Word
97 installed). If you can’t find your file, choose All Files
released an add-on
for Works 4.x that allows it to open and save in MS Word 97/2000/XP
format. Get it at: http://www.zisman.ca/files/Works-wordconv.exe
there's an add-on
allowing it to work with Works 2000 word processor files, available at:
Many students get
when to use File/Open and File/Save... if they choose Save instead of
Open, and then click on their saved file’s name, they replace
saved work with a blank document! Very bad news!!!
students’ folders seem
vanish-- kids with shaky hands can easily move a folder inside someone
else’s! Use Windows Explorer to check inside nearby folders--
eventually find the missing one, and move it back.
closes a single
document, but not the program.
-- Save/Save As
The first time you save, these two menus give you the same thing... a
dialogue box almost identical to the Open one...
clicking on Save no longer gives you a dialogue
box-- it just
saves, with the same options already chosen. Save As,
always shows the dialogue box... handy if you want to save under a new
name or in a different location-- a quick and dirty way to copy a file,
or to create a backup version.
-- be aware of the File
option... it lets you save in Microsoft Word or Word Perfect format to
work on your document on another computer (at home, for instance), if
you don’t have Works available. File type text
is a lowest common
denominator-- every computer can read it, but font and formatting
information is lost.RTF (Rich Text Format) is
universal, and includes fonts, graphics, etc.
-- File Names can be up
characters long in Works 4, and can includes spaces-- but not a fewcharacters such
question marks or colons that have special
meanings to the
operating system. If you are using Works 2 or 3, you are limited to
8-character file names. In either case, do not end your file names with
a period, or add a customized three letter extension-- either will
confuse Windows when you try to open your file again.
-- The Template
you save a document that you will often re-use, with changes...
customized letterhead, report card form, etc. When you save a template,
you open it by using the File/New/TaskWizardsitem, and scroll down
the list to
User Defined Templates:
-- Page Setup
lets you set
the margins (note-- in the units you set in the Options). The Source,
Orientationlets you set the paper size and whether
want your document to be vertical (portrait) or
may need to set your printer to match these settings.
Also look at the Other
for a few extra tricks.
earlier versions of
Works, you set double-spacing in this menu.
Preview shows you
a minature view of how your document will look when it’s
You’ll save lots of paper if you routinely use this before
(Ctrl +P) lets you
control pages printed, number of copies, target printer, etc. If you
have multiple printers, choose the target printer using the drop-down
triangle next to the Printers box. (You set the default)
the Start Menu’s Settings/Printers
right-click on the desired printer, and choose Set as Default.
To print just page 3,
you need to
set it to print from Page 3 to
-- Exit Works
closes the program. You will be prompted to save any unsaved work.
-- On the bottom of the
you’ll see the last four documents opened... this is handy
quickly get back to your most recent work.
These items are very
useful. Be sure to memorize the keyboard shortcuts!
Most of the Edit Menu
involve working withselections-- telling the
computer that you
want to do something to part of your document. To select some text, you
can do one of the following techniques:
1) Click at the
beginning of the
desired selection, hold the left mouse button down, and drag over what
you want to select. It can often be hard to be precise this way.
2) Click at the
the shift key down, and click at the end of the
3) Click at the
the shift-key while using some combination of the arrow keys (left,
right, up, or down), Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, Ctrl+Home, or
Ctrl+End to extend the selection.
Selection is also useful
with the Format
the contents of the Edit
-- Undo Editing
can be a lifesaver-- if you try it immediately when you make a mistake.
If it (and any menu) is greyed-outit is unavailable
(Ctrl +X) and Copy
(Ctrl +C) are only available if something is selected.
they both copy the selection into the Clipboard for
(The Clipboard is a metaphor-- not a real, physical part of the
computer. It means the selected item is being stored in memory. The
Clipboard only holds one thing at a time... when you Cut/Copy something
else, the previous contents disappear).
When you Cut
it vanishes from the page... when you Copy it, it
(Ctrl + V) places
whatever is in the Clipboard where ever the cursor is. Note that when
you paste, the selection is not removed from the
you can paste the same item multiple times.
a techie option that you’ll never use. Trust me.
(Del) erases a
selection, without sending it to the Clipboard.
-- Select All
selects the whole document... useful for making global changes like
changing the font and size, or double-spacing everything.
(Ctrl + F) lets you
search a document for desired text... similar but probably more useful
is the next item:
(Ctrl +U --
they ran out of letters? Why not Ctrl + R?) lets you find
automatically (or manually) replace it with something different: Pete
with Mary, for example.
The Find Next
to the next instance of the Find text, giving you the choice to replace
it or not... Replace All automatically replaces all
and reports on the number replaced.
Note that if some text
selected, this only searches in the selection-- the #1 reason why this
might not work as expected.
The two buttons in the
you add a Tab and a new Paragraph to the desired text to search or
Note the two options:
[x] Find Whole
if selected, would replace ‘Pete’ but not
‘Peter’... if that was not
selected, PeterMaryr, probably
not what you intended. would
[x] Match Case,
selected, would only replace the word if capitalization is exactly what
you typed in the Find Whatbox... i.e.
‘pete’ would not be
-- Go to
(Ctrl+G) is only
useful if you’ve created Bookmarks (see
below)... if so, it
lets you jump to a bookmark. Useful it you’re creating long
documents... like chapters in a book.
-- Easy Text
lets you save
and insert something you’re often going to use... your return
for example. To create Easy Text, highlight desired text, and choose
this menu item. Choose New, and type a name for it.
Easy Text from the Insert menu)
lets you add or
delete bookmarks, to use with the Go to menu. (I
for the sections in this document).
are two other menus you’ll never use. They’re
greyed out most of the
A bunch of options about
see on screen... note that these don’t change the actual
how they’ll be showed to you.
shows text and
graphics, but not margins, headers, or footers... it you find that
can’t see all the way across the page, try changing to this
also faster on an older computer.
-- Page Layout
like what your page will look like when printed... You have to choose
one or the other of those views.
this if the toolbar has disappeared!
to display a ruler
on the top, in the units set in the Options.
Characters shows the hidden
characters-- spaces, Enter, tabs, paragraph, etc... if your
looks like it’s got a bunch of wierd stuff on it, try turning
option off. (But DOS Word Perfect users will find it similar to that
program’s Reveal Codesoption, and may
jump you to the top or bottom of the page (respectively). Headers and
Footers are for text that you want to appear on every page-- titles,
page numbers, date, etc. In normalview, these are
shown as a
single line labelled H or F at
the beginning of the
document. In Page Layout view, these are shown as
approx 1 cm.
wide areas at the top (or bottom) of every page. Don’t try to
main body of your text in these areas!
The tab key moves you
left, to the centre, to the right of the Header/Footer area, so you can
have three items in each. You set the font/size separately from the
text. You can use the Insert menu items to insert
page numbers, or date into the Header or Footer. So to have a Footer
that reads “Page 23” (or whatever the correct
number is), go to the
Footer and type the wordPagefollowed by a space,
then click on
the Insert menu, and choose Page Number. Your
will read ‘Page *page*’, but when you print (or
print preview), the
correct page number will appear.
If you want
Headers/Footers on all
pages except the first (for a title page, for example), go to File/Page
Get in the
habit of using
Headers and Footers-- they will make your work look much more
shows you the
footnotes that you created with the Insert/Footnote
these are at the bottom of the page unless you chose to put them at the
end, using File/Page Setup/Other Options.
changes the size
your page is displayed at... not the size it will print at. Useful if
you need to get up close, or if you can’t see a full
screen at once.
These items add
where the cursor is...
-- Page Break
Enter) starts a new page. Handy if you want to have each section start
on its own page, or to change the automatical pagination-- In normal
view, you’ll see a dotted line across the page wherever
a page break-- to remove one, click on the dotted line, and press
-- Page Number:
discussion of Headers/Footers
the saved filename, but shows up as ‘*filename*’
until you print. (Should
-- Date and
Time gives you
a choice of different formats (some showing only the date or the time,
some showing both). There’s an option that will automatically
whenever you print the document. Nice for Footers, or letterhead
doesn’t let you insert all those hard-to-type French
and is limited to specialized hyphens and spaces (i.e. if you want a
phrase (‘Girl Guide’) to be treated as a single
word, and not broken
over two lines, insert anon-breaking space between
the two words.
Field is very
useful for form letters, etc... we’ll look at this in detail
Database workshop. Stay tuned!
-- Easy Text
lets you save
and insert something you’re often going to use... your return
for example. Save Easy Text with the Edit menu
it from this menu item.
lets you insert
a footnote (duh!) either at the bottom of a page or at the end of the
document (if chosen in Page Setup). It
automatically adds the
proper number as a superscript in the body of your document... and if
you add or delete a footnote, it automatically resets the number.
are useful not
only for traditional rows and columns of text or numbers, but also if
you want a more complex page layout than Works will normally give you--
for instance, if you want three columns of text in part of your
document, make a table with three columns and one row, and type away. (Remember--
up and down, rows go across!)
You have the option to
pick one of
a bunch of colour schemes for your table.
clipart into a table, making it less useful for fancy layout.
To change the number of
rows/columns in a table, right-click on it, and make your choice from
the popup menu.
If you want more power--
instance, to alphabetize data in a table, use a spreadsheet, then copy
and paste into your word processor.
To remove a table, click
and press Backspace.
you the option to choose from an existing file or to create a new
one... you can also simply Copy/Paste from your spreadsheet.
Clipart Gallery, showing thumbnails of a bunch of pictures, sorted by
category. When you pick one, it appears much larger and clearer than
the thumbnail picture.
Note that there are lots
clipart available from www.microsoft.com/clipgallerylive (or clicking
the globe icon on the Clip Gallery page).
lets you perform
fancy effects on words/letters... upside down writing, words on an
angle or a curve, etc. You get a box to type the desired text, and a
new toolbar with various special effects. Play around with it!
(may not be
installed), adds a post-it-note to your document. You might use this to
make comments on a student’s work.
(may not be
installed) opens Microsoft Draw-- a vector drawing
These sorts of graphics programs work differently from more common
programs, and may be harder to get used to-- but a better for drawing
with smooth lines... they don’t get blocky when printed or
lets you insert
any other type of saved work... a KidsPix picture, for instance (though
you could also Copy/Paste from the other program).
If you choose
items in this
menu when text is selected, it only applies to the selection... a way
change what you’ve written. If nothing is selected, the
applies to new text typed after the cursor.
-- Font and
Style lets you
change font, size, style, and colour of text.
Note that font size is
measured in points:
72 to an inch. But because it measures from the lowest part on a
the highest part of the tallest capital letter, two fonts at the same
point size may not look the same height.
is like in math
exponents: X2. Subscript is
like in chemical equations: H20.
If you click the Set Default button, those settings
will be used
as default in future word processor documents... which can be an
unpleasant surprise-- I had a bunch of computers that accidentally got
set to start up in blood red Postcrypt characters-- a font where
letters look like they’re dripping blood. Nice at
Hallowee’en, less so
lets you set
default alignment (more easily set from the Toolbar), and indentation.
The SpacingLine Spacingselection.
page lets you set
double/single spacing... to double space, type ‘2’
in the space, for
lets you customize
the tab stops. Leaders are characters that appear when you press
tab........... for example.
-- Borders and
you add a border around a selection, or change the colour of the paper
within a selection. Borders created on the Border
have a bad habit of extending over two pages if your text moves...On
tab, you can set a shading pattern for the background. Note that the foreground
tab lets you create a border for
an entire page... nice for title pages.
are small graphics used at the beginning of list items. You can choose
from a wide variety of characters.
Once you start making a
you need to open this menu item and click the Remove
stop! (Or click on the Bullets toolbar icon).
lets you create a
document with multiple columns, optionally with a line dividing the
As it notes, the columns
applies to the entire document. If you don’t want this you
have a couple
-- If you want a headline
across a multi-columned page, use the Header for
-- If you want multiple
only a small part of a document, fake it with a table.
-- If you want different
different columns set-ups, save each as a separate document.
-- If you want much more
use a page-layout program like Microsoft Publisher or Adobe PageMaker,
or a more powerful word processor like MS Word or Corel Word Perfect.
columns in Works (and
Word) don’t let you easily fill, for example, the top 1/2 of
column.... text runs down the first column, then starts to run down the
second. For newspaper-like columns, you should use a page-layout
such as Microsoft Publisher.
-- Easy Formats
pre-set formatting to a selection... Headings, etc. This is called Stylesin
programs, and they can be customized. Very powerful,
unfortunately, too rarely used way to produce professional-looking,
consistent documents. Very good if producing something like a class
Wrap/Picture These only
apply if you have inserted clipart or a graphic, and have selected the
picture. Absolutetext wrap lets you position
multiple lines of
text around a picture, Inline text wrap lets you
only have a
single line of text beside your graphic (lined up with the bottom).
item lets you set
the exact size of your graphic-- either in units or as a percentage of
the original. (Note that you can manually resize a graphic by selecting
it, then stretching or shrinking by pulling on the
‘handles’ -- the
little squares in the corners. Holding shift down
while you do
this resizes it proportionally, so you don’t get skinny or
Book-- only works
if you’ve created one with the Database.
-- Dial This
need a modem for this.
(F7) spell checks a
selection, or the entire document. Of course, it doesn’t
incorrect homonyms: “Eye right reel good, write?”
Note the Change
All or Ignore
All buttons... very handy since students often make the same
You may want to use the Add
button to add your name and address to the Custom dictionary, so they
don’t always come up as mistakes. Get students into the habit
the spell check, but to use it critically... in some cases, none of the
suggestions will be correct, if the spelling is too far off. As well,
some students start pressing the Ignore button for
mistakes... or even worse, press the Add button,
their mistakes to the dictionary.
(This can be repaired
with the Edit
Custom Dictionaryoption. Or delete the C:\Program
Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof\Custom.dic file and start all over
this might be faster if you have to redo a bunch of computers!)
New generation word
including Microsoft Word 95 and later, Word Perfect, and MS Works 2000
and later include an option to check spelling in real time- indicating
miss-spelled words with a coloured underline. Right-click on the
underlined word and a list of alternatives will pop up, along with an
option to ignore the spelling.
gives synonyms for
the word where the cursor is. Double click on related
in the Meanings box to get more meanings, with
synonyms for each.
Like paper thesauri (?), students often have difficulty using this, as
they tend to be unaware of the nuance of words.
only works for a
selected word... showing where the word can be hyphenated.
-- Word Count
counts the words
in the entire document or a selection.
Reference is only
available if another Microsoft product (Encarta, Bookshelf, etc) is
installed... in which case, it will look up a selected word.
open wizards that walk you through the steps for creating these special
-- Paginate Now
that the program hasn’t gotten confused as you move
Toolbar lets you
drag icons on or off the toolbar. I threw away the Printer icon, since
too often students clicked it multiple times, while waiting for their
page to print-- the File/Print option requires more thought.
a bunch of ways to
setup the program. Some things you might want to know:
are those “curly” ones, rather than the ugly
' and " characters that
used as abbreviations for feet and inches.
is turned on, if
your cursor is in the middle of a word and you type, it replaces the
next characters... if it’s off, it inserts letters in the
middle of the
word. If this is happening the way you don’t want, you can
press the Insert
key to switch its behaviour. This is sometimes referred to as
Insert/Overtype mode (and if you press Insert,
letters OVR appear or disapppear in the lower-right
corner of the
is on (the default), if you select something, and type, it replaces the
selection (duh)... this can cause problems-- imagine selecting the
entire document, then pressing Enter... the invisible Enter character
replaces Everything!!!(Click on Undo I to
get it back).
[x] Enable Drag and
Drop Editing (the default), lets you move text by selecting it, then
pulling it with the mouse to a new location. If this causes problems,
turn it off!
Tools: You may be
able to choose between American and British spell checks... but no
Canadian. It’s your call!
When you have multiple
open, you can switch between them using the Windows Taskbar, at the
bottom of the screen, or by pressing Alt+Tab, and repeatedly clicking
Tab until the desired program’s icon and name are selected.
When you have multiple
open (remember, Works 4.x will let you have up to eight), they
show up on the Taskbar (the new Office 2000 and Works 2000 or
later do this)... so there’s no easy way to switch between
them the way
you can switch between different programs. That’s the purpose
It will list all open
click on the name of one, to bring it to the front of the screen.
Or choose Cascade,
for different arrangements showing part of each on-screen-- in which
case you can drag the document’s border to resize it, to get
The Split menu
item lets you
split a single document, so you can view two parts of it at once, with
an independent scroll bar on the right of each. You can do the same
using the little teeny rectangle at the very top of the vertical scroll
bar-- pull it down, to get two windows on the same document... when
you’re done, pull it back up to the top.
The Toolbar is across
the top, under
the Menu bar... if it isn’t visible, click on View/Toolbar.
You can customize which
shown, using the Tools/Customize Toolbar command,
from the dialogue box to the Toolbar (or vice versa). To see what
command an icon in the dialogue box represents, click on it. For
instance, I added single-space and double-space icons.
When [x] Enable ToolTips
letting your mouse point to a Toolbar icon will bring up a brief
Some other tricks:
-- When you click on the
you get a listing of the fonts, showing what the font looks like (very
cool!), But if you have a long list, it may take a while to
to the one you want. If you know the name, you can jump to it much
quicker-- type the first letters of the name, and it will jump to the
-- The filesize list only
goes to 48
pts... but you can type in larger sizes-- up to 127 pts. Or type
in-between sizes (like the very useful 11 pts).
-- There are keyboard
shortcuts that may be even more convenient then the Toolbar items:
More Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts can
significantly more efficient than mousing around-- especially if
a reasonably efficient typist.
Many of them are shown
next to the
equivalent menu command (and have been mentioned in discussion of those
menu items). Others are useful for quick cursor movements:
beginning of the line
end of the line
scroll down one
of the document
end of the document
any of those keys selects from the current cursor
wherever the key combination goes... i.e. Shift+Ctrl+End selects
everything to the end of the document.
Not a Works accessory,
but a very
handy Windows accessory. CharMap lets you see all 128 characters in
font-- including the many not easily accessible from the keyboard...
foreign language and math characters, special symbols, and more.
in the Start Menu’sPrograms/Accessories
menu, but it isn’t part of
the default Windows installation. To add it, open Control Panel, open
the Add/Remove Programsitem, and go to the Windows
Double-click on Accessories...
if there is a checkmark next to [x] Character Map,
already installed. If not, check that option to install it. Click OK a
couple of times.
To use the Character Map,
program (Start Menu/Programs/Accessories/Character Map-- in some
versions, it's in the Accessories/System Tools submenu):
Notice that you can
choose a font, and
it shows all the characters... clicking on a character enlarges it. In
the lower right-hand corner, you can see the keystroke that produces
that character-- in this case, Alt+0175 to get that star in the
Wingdings font.... Note that Wingdings lets you use pictoral
using Charmap with text fonts like Arial or Times New Roman will let
you access foreign language characters-- accented vowels, for example.
Alternatively, you can
button to copy that character-- you can select multiple characters to
copy in one bunch... but in order to properly paste them into your
document, make sure you change to that font... otherwise, they
come out as you expect.
replacement for Charmap: Characteristica.
out if you frequently need to access accented or other
extended characters in a font.
Introduction to MS Works series
1999, 2002 by Alan