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Microsoft Word

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Microsoft Word is a word processor, part of the Microsoft Office suite of computer applications. It is commonly used by technical writers, sometimes in combination with document design applications.



Acronyms Master

Acronyms Master is a free utility for MS Word that automatically creates acronyms table in the document.

Becker, Alex. Acronyms Master (2007). Resources>Software>Word Processing>Microsoft Word


Actual Readers Versus Implied Readers: Role Conflicts in Office 97   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article uses reader role theory to explain the dramatic failure of Paper-clip, the interface to Office 97's online help system. Called an Office Assistant, it is designed to shield users from the complexities of the software. Problems with Paper-clip surfaced as soon as Office 97 was launched. This article explains the Paper-clip controversy in terms of reader role conflicts by showing why actual readers rejected Paper-clip's role as implied writer and why they rebelled against the reader role Paper-clip implied for them.

Shroyer, Roberta. Technical Communication Online (2000). Articles>Word Processing>User Interface>Microsoft Word


Add A Custom Menu To a Microsoft Word Toolbar

In Microsoft Word, you can use menus and toolbars to control how you manage your documents. Menus display a list of commands. Most menus are located on the menu bar at the top of the Word window. Shortcut menus are available when you right-click text, objects, or other items. Toolbars can contain buttons with images, menus, or a combination of both. By default, the Standard and Formatting toolbars are docked side by side below the menu bar. You can also add a custom menu to your toolbar.

Klariti. Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word


The Art of Defensive Programming

If you can't understand a program, then you can't debug it. Even with code that you have written yourself, if you come back to it six months or a year later, you may find yourself wondering “Why on earth did I write that? What was it for?” It doesn't take long to forget the details of a program when you aren't working on it any more. Make life easier for yourself, and write programs as clearly as possible. Also, provide such defences as you can against the possibility that VBA might change between versions of Word.

West, Jonathan. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Word Processing>Programming>Microsoft Word


Automating Your Word Indexes   (PDF)

Have you ever tried to create an index in Word? Were you dissatisfied with the options available in the dialogs? There are other features available that can provide you with a higher level of control over the structure of the index. This article gives you an overview of advanced indexing techniques; see Word’s online help for details. The menu sequences are for Word 2000; there are slight differences in Word 2002.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2003). Articles>Indexing>Software>Microsoft Word


Autonumbering with RoboHelp and Microsoft Word

Because of a bug in Microsoft Word (both Word 97 and Word 2000), it's difficult to number lists automatically. The Numbering Numbering toolbar button toolbar button doesn't work reliably, and neither does RoboHelp's Topic Text Numbered style. Even if you install Microsoft's SR-1 or SR-2 patch to Word 97 or upgrade to Word 2000, you are still likely to encounter problems with any complex numbered list formatting. As a result of these problems, many RoboHelp users have reverted to “manual” list numbering, which is both time-consuming and error-prone. Using the procedure described here, you can automate the process of creating numbered lists in Word and completely insulate yourself from the Word bug that has plagued so many Help authors. To accomplish this, you'll need to take steps detailed on this page.

Knopf Online. Resources>Writing>Software>Microsoft Word


Backing Up Word Templates and Shortcuts

If you’ve used Microsoft Word for any length of time, you’ve probably begun using its key automation features, such as macros and automatic text. If you’re as gung ho as I am, you’ve accumulated a significant collection of these shortcuts. You probably even depend on them for getting work done efficiently. You’ve also probably spent some time adding words to the software’s custom dictionaries, and may even have created specialized dictionaries for certain genres that have their own jargon. Wouldn’t it be a shame if you somehow lost all that hard work?

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Corrigo (2016). Articles>Word Processing>Microsoft Word>Technical Writing


Backwards Compatibility in Office Open XML

As a member of my country's national standards body committee on electronic data processing, I lately spend considerable time deliberating what our position should be in the upcoming Office Open XML ISO Ballot Resolution Meeting in Geneva. My biggest objection concerns large parts of the standard that are proposed to live in an Annex containing normative descriptions of deprecated features that will only be used by existing binary documents. The rationale behind this decision is backwards compatibility. My opinion is that this solution is counterproductive for a number of reasons.

Spinellis, Diomidis. Spinellis (2008). Articles>Word Processing>XML>Microsoft Word


Behind the Curtains: Table Styles

Table Styles are my favorite type of Style in Word. They allow you to quickly and consistently format the table itself (e.g. borders, shading, etc.), the content within the table (E.g. line spacing, font color, font size, etc.), and they can also can tell a table when to do these (e.g. shade every other row, bold text in the first column, etc.). The first two enable you to create really rich tables, and the last one (which I'll call Conditional Formatting for the rest of this post) enables you to easily work with those rich tables. Both are quite important.

Microsoft (2008). Articles>Document Design>Style Sheets>Microsoft Word


Building Blocks

Building Blocks are reusable chunks of a Word document. They can contain any thing a Word document can contain, including pictures, shapes, fields, and even other building blocks.

Boyer, Jodie. Microsoft (2008). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word


Changing the Default Font in Microsoft Word

Don't like the font that Word uses for a default in your new documents? You can pick a different font, but the way you make the selection is not as straightforward as you might expect. (This tip works with Microsoft Word 2000, Word 2002, Word 2003, and Word 2007.)

Wyatt, Allen. Word Tips (2009). Articles>Typography>Software>Microsoft Word


Cleaning Up Text Pasted from the Web

The ease of copying and pasting text from Web sites and email greatly simplifies many tasks in Word, but problems often arise in making the pasted text conform to the style of the document into which it is pasted. One of the most common chores is getting rid of excess line breaks, which cause the text to wrap short of the right margin. There are several ways to work around this problem.

Barnhill, Suzanne and Dave Rado. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word


Creating a Macro With No Programming Experience Using the Recorder

Word's macro recorder can help you acquaint yourself with macros and with Office 97's VBA programming language.

Coan, Bill. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Word Processing>Programming>Microsoft Word


Creating a Mail Merge Data Source

Microsoft Word supports many file formats which can be used as a Data Source for a mail merge. This article covers specifications and frequently asked questions on the most commonly used Data Sources, along with how to set up a Data Source in Word.

Melton, Beth. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Word Processing>Databases>Microsoft Word


Creating a New Microsoft Word Template

When you open a new file in Word, the font is probably set to Times Roman size 12. It doesn’t have to be like this; maybe you’d prefer a more glamourous font! In this tutorial, we'll explain how to create a new Word template.

Klariti. Articles>Writing>Software>Microsoft Word


Creating a Template (Part I): The Basics

The natural tendency of most users of word processing applications is to create a document and use it as a model for future documents. That is, you format a letter the way you want all (or most) of your letters to look, save it, and then, when you want to write a letter, open this document and save it under another name as the starting point for your letter. In WordPerfect, until recently, this was the only way to create a template. Word uses a different approach.

Barnhill, Suzanne. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Document Design>Software>Microsoft Word


Creating a Template (Part II)

This article tells you how to create a template to produce a software manual.

McGhie, John. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word


Creating an Index in Microsoft Word

For technical writers, a well-crafted index helps organise the writing process, in particular, when you get to the production stage.

Klariti. Articles>Indexing>Software>Microsoft Word


Creating Online Acrobat Documents with Word   (PDF)

This demonstration illustrates approaches to designing and implementing tools and procedures that have been used successfully at Unisys Corporation to deliver documentation to customers on CD-ROM and the Web. These include release management and production tools, program suites to organize and restructure documents so that they can be accessed and displayed effectively online, and tools to integrate and access multiple document types. Will describe several special techniques to generate links and set parameters directly in Word. Will demonstrate linking from other file types into PDF documents and dynamically attaching updates to legacy documents.

Teague, Tommy K. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Writing>Software>Microsoft Word


Cross-Referencing Step Numbers in Word

If you are like most technical writers, your procedures have automatically numbered steps (whether in tables or text), Microsoft Word provides two relatively simple ways for you to cross-reference a step number.

McConnell, Gloria. Usability Interface (2004). Articles>Documentation>Software>Microsoft Word


Death to Word

A Word file is the story-fax of the early 21st century: cumbersome, inefficient, and a relic of obsolete assumptions about technology. It's time to give up on Word.

Scocca, Tom. Slate (2012). Articles>Word Processing>Software>Microsoft Word


Review: Degunking Microsoft Office

Degunking Microsoft Office, by Christina Palaia and Wayne Palaia, addresses the problem of anything that slows down the computer, interferes with your operations, crashes applications, or loses data, and presents some ways of avoiding it.

Delwood, Robert. STC Houston (2006). Articles>Reviews>Software>Microsoft Word


Don’t be Normal!

Microsoft Word is great many kinds of documents, but it isn’t suitable for everything. If you do find yourself using Microsoft Word there are a few things you do well to look out for. Two of those things are called “Normal”, and my advice is to stay away from both of them.

Farbey, David. DavidFarbey.co.uk (2010). Articles>Word Processing>Style Sheets>Microsoft Word


The Draw Layer: A Metaphysical Space (And How to Bring It Back Down to Earth)

Word's draw layer is a metaphysical space where floating objects reside. It really isn't a layer, since floating objects can be sent behind the text layer or brought out in front of it. Either way, they continue to reside in the draw layer.

Rado, Dave and Bill Coan. Word MVP Site, The (2005). Articles>Graphic Design>Software>Microsoft Word



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