Chapter 1 Get Started with Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word 2007 to 2010

How to Open Microsoft Word

If you're not sure how to open up Microsoft Word, then do the following.

Click your left mouse button once on the Start button in the bottom left of your screen. If you have Windows Vista or Windows 7, the round Start button will look like this:

The round Start button in Vista and Windows 7
If you have Windows XP the start button looks like this:
Windows XP Start button
On the Start menu that appears, click your left mouse button on the All Programsitem. On the All programs menu, look for Microsoft Office. If you have Office 2007 (or 2010), you'll see this:
Office 2007 Start menu
If you have an earlier version of Microsoft Word, you'll see something like this:
Office menu for older versions
When Microsoft Word opens, you should a screen something like this one (Word 2007):

In Word 2010, you won't see the round Office button in the top left. Instead, you'll have an extra item in the top left - the File tab.
The main area, all that white space, is the page you type on, just like a piece of paper. The area above the white space is called the Ribbon. The Ribbon contains all the toolbars (known as Tabs) that you can use to brighten up the plain white text on your page. The Tabs are called: HomeInsertPage LayoutReferences,MailingsReview and View. (Word 2010 will also have a File tab, which will be the first item.)
Click each of these in turn to see what items are on each tab. When you have finished exploring, click back on the Home tab. The Home tab contains the items you'll use the most, like font formatting, alignment, cut, copy and paste.

Finding your way around

Have a look at the bottom right of your screen and locate the following area:
The zoom tools in Word 2007 and 2010
If your screen is too small or too large, you can use the zoom slider to increase or decrease the size of your page. Hold down your left mouse button on the slider. Keep it held down and move it to the left to make your page smaller, and to the right to make it bigger. (You can also click the plus and minus buttons.) The default setting is 100%, and the slider is in the middle.
Just above the slider, you'll see some arrows. The two sets of double arrows allow you to move up or down one page at a time:
Previous and Next Page shortcuts
Clicking the round button between the two sets of double arrows opens up a shortcut toolbar. This one:
Word Shortcuts
The items on the menu are shortcuts that allow you to browse through various areas of your document. The double arrows then turn blue. So, for example, if you wanted to jump from image to image in your document, you would click the Graphic item on the toolbar, which is the second from the right on the top row in the image above. After the double arrows turn blue, you would click one to move to the next or previous image.
Another area worth exploring is just to the left of the zoom slider. This one:
Word icons for Page Views
These are various page views you can have. The first one, highlighted above, is called Print Layout, and is the default. Click the other four to see what they do. To get out of Full Screen, which is the second one, click the Close button in the top right.
Click back on the first icon, however, when you finished exploring. We'll make a start.

Your First Letter

Have a look at the blank page on your screen, all that white space. The first thing to notice is the flashing vertical line. This is called the Cursor, or the Insertion Point. Its normal behaviour is to flash on and off.
The cursor is where all the action takes place. Try touching one or two of the letter keys on your computer keyboard and watch what happens. You should see the vertical line, the cursor, move to the right. Your letters will appear to the left of the cursor. In other words, when you tap a letter on your keyboard, the letter will appear where the cursor is. The cursor will move across, ready for the next thing you type.
Before we start typing the letter below, there are three keys on your keyboard that might come in very handy: the Backspace key, the Enter key, and the Shift key.
Keyboard with Backspace, Enter and Shift keys highlighted
If you have made a spelling mistake, tap the backspace key to get rid of your unwanted characters. You can also click the Undo icon right at the top of Word. Here's what the Undo feature looks like Word 2007:
The Undo icon in Word 2007
In Word 2010 it will look like this:
The Undo icon in Word 2010
To get a new paragraph, press the Enter key on your keyboard. You cursor will move down one line to the start of the new paragraph.
The Shift key is held down if you want uppercase characters (capital letters). Keep the Shift key held down then press a letter. It will then be a capital letter. You also need to hold the Shift key down to get any of the characters on top of another key. For example, to type an ampersand character ( & ) hold down your Shift key. Keep it held down and press the number 7 (on a UK keyboard).
So, time for your first letter. Type the following onto your new white page. Type it in exactly as it is, spelling mistakes included. (You don't have to make your text bold, though):

Dear Sir or Madam,
It has come to my attention that our local council has decided to close down our one and only library. While it is true that no new books have been bought for seven years £12.50 was recently raised in a local raffle. This is nearly enough for an entire Delia Smith! Do you not think that your decision is a little premature?
Yours truly
Mr Irate

Ok, you can stop typing now. You've finished. So, how did you get on? There's a good chance that you needed to use the backspace key a few times. And finding keys like the pound sign and the exclamation point might have took you more time than you would have liked. But this is usual when you are first starting out: it will come.
Before we get on to those spelling mistakes, let's learn how to save your work.

Saving your work

To save your work in Word 2007, click the round Office button in the top left of your screen. You should see a menu appear:
The Save menu in Word 2007
In Word 2010, click the File tab at the top of Word:
The Save menu in Word 2010
In both versions, when you click the Save item you'll see a dialogue box appear (This image is from Windows 7. The one for Windows Vista is very similar):
The Save As dialogue box in Windows 7
There are three main areas to the Save dialogue box: Where do you want to save your document? What do you want to call it? What type of document do you want to save it as?
We'll take the three areas in turn, starting with "Where do you want to save your document?"
The "Where" is set right at the top. The default location is in the Documents folder on your computer. You can see where this is by clicking the arrow in the top left:
Changing folders from the Save As dialogue box
The dropdown menu is a list of locations on your computer. The image above is from Windows 7 and shows that we are in the Libraries folder. If you have Windows Vista, you won't see a Libraries entry. It will say Users. There will then be another one next to Users that has the user name you used when setting up your computer. For example: Users > Kenny > Documents.
Inside the Libraries folder is another one called Documents. We're saving it to this folder. The larger area of the Save As dialogue box shows you the folders that are already in the Documents folder:
Folder in the Documents folder, Windows 7
You can create folders of your own to hold your work. So click the New Folderbutton at the top:
The New Folder icon
You should see a new yellow folder appear in the main area of the Save As dialogue box, with some blue highlighting:
A new folder has been created
The blue highlighting means that it is ready to be typed over. Type the name My WP Projects. Then press the enter key on your keyboard (or just click away). The folder will then be renamed:
The folder has been renamed
If you get it wrong, click back onto the folder. Now click again, and you should see the same blue highlighting. Or just right click the folder to see a new menu appear. Select Rename from the menu.
Now that you have created a new folder, double click the folder name to move inside of it. Notice the location area at the top:
Folder locations on the Save As dialogue box
The name of our folder has been added to the right of Documents, indicating that this new folder is inside of the Documents folder. In other words, there is a folder calledLibraries, and inside of that another one called Documents. The folder we have created, the My WP Projects one, is inside of the Documents folder.

File Names

We now need to come up with a name for this particular document that we're saving. If you have a look at the bottom of the Save As dialogue box you'll see two areas: one called File Name, and the other called Save as Type. The File Name area is where you type a name for your document. The Save as Type means which type of document is will be. Microsoft Word documents from 2007 onwards end with the letters docx. Previously, the letters where just doc. If you sent someone a Word document with the ending docx, somebody with version 2003 of the software would not be able to open your file. Simply because previous Office versions don't know how to handle the newer format. The reverse is not true, though: they could send you a file that ended with the letters doc and you would be able to open it up in Word 2007 or Word 2010.
Microsoft Word allows you to save documents in a wide range of different formats. Click anywhere inside of the Save as Type area to see a list of the different formats:
The Save As Type list in Word 2007 and Word 2010
The image shows that we have Word 97 - 2003 Document in the Save as Type area. The three letter extension shows .doc. The first one on the list, however, isWord Document .docx, which is the one we want. Make sure this one is selected in your Save As dialogue box.
Now have a look at the File Name area. It should say Doc1.docx. (It might just say Doc1, however, if you haven't enabled file extensions on your computer. If you can't see any file extensions, do the tutorial here on our site: Enable File Extensions.
If you clicked the Save button now, your file will be called "Doc1". That's not a very descriptive name for a document, so we'll change it to something else. To give your document a different name, simply click inside the File Name text box. Delete everything in the text box. Type in a new name, something like Library Letter.
Your Save As dialogue box should now look like the one below. When it does, click the Save button:
Type a name for your document
You have now saved your work to your hard drive. To prove that it has indeed been saved, click the round Office button in the top left (or the File tab in Word 2010). Select Save As. When the Save As dialogue box appears, you should see the name of your file in the big white area:
The new document has been saved
Click the Cancel button to get rid of the Save As dialogue box.
You can continue to work on a document that has been saved. But if you add more lines to your letter, or make any changes, you need to keep saving your changes on regular basis. You don't have to use Save As any more. You can just click the Office button or the File tab, then click on Save. Or click on the circled icon in the image below. This will update your document.
Word 2007
The Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar, Word 2007
Word 2010
The Save icon on the Quick Access toolbar, Word  2010
A shortcut for saving your work is to hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard. Keep it held down and then press the letter S.
Remember to save your work on a regular basis. It's not a pleasant experience to have worked on a document for some time only for your computer to break down. When you finally get your computer to work again, if you haven't saved regularly you'll find all that hard work lost forever, with no way to get it back!

OK, now that you know how to save a Microsoft Word document, let's move on.

Highlighting Text in Microsoft Word

It's a lot easier to show you what highlighting is, rather than explaining it. So examine the image below, which is what your letter should look like so far:
Two lines of a letter highlighted in Microsoft Word
The two lines with the blue background have been highlighted. When you highlight some text you can do things with it. You can change the size of the font, underline it, make it bold, delete it altogether, and many other things. But only the text that you have highlighted will change. The rest of your document will remain unchanged. So if we were to change the size of the font in the document above, only the two lines that have been highlighted will change size. Highlighting is very important in word processing.
So how do you highlight some text?
There are quite a few different ways to highlight text. We'll go through a few now. Practice them as you go along.

How to highlight an entire document

You can highlight your entire document from the Home tab at the top of Word. On the right hand side, you should see an Editing section:
The Editing panel in Word 2007 and Word 2010
Click on the Select item to see a menu appear:
The Select item on the Editing panel, Word 2007
In Word 2010 you'll see an extra item on the menu, right at the bottom:
The Select item on the Editing panel, Word 2010
Click Select All from the menu to highlight an entire document. To get rid of highlighted text, click anywhere in your document with your left mouse button.
An easier way to highlight all the text in your document is via a keyboard shortcut. Hold down the CTRL key on your keyboard. Keep it held down and press the letter A. This is will select all text. (This shortcut works in other software, not just Microsoft Word.)

How to highlight an entire line
Most of the time, though, you won't want to highlight the entire document, but just sections of it. You can highlight an entire line with just one mouse click.

To highlight a single line, move your mouse over to the left margin of your document. As in the image below:
Highlight an entire line

If you can't see a ruler at the top of the page and the left of the page, click the tiny icon in the top right of Microsoft Word:
Another way to display rulers is from the View tab in the Ribbon at the top of Word. Locate the Show/Hide panel, and the click the Ruler item.
When you move your mouse pointer to the margins, it will turn into an arrow. When it does, click your left hand mouse button once, then let go. A single line will be highlighted.
A line highlighted
You can use the same technique to highlight more than one line at a time. Instead of letting go of the left mouse button, keep it held down. Then move your mouse upwards or downwards in a straight line.
Highlight several lines
Let go of the mouse button when you are satisfied.

Highlighting blocks of text

This one is a little trickier, but not too tricky. To highlight a block of text, do the following:
  • Click at the start of the block of text you want to highlight. (For practice purposes, click just before the letter "I" of "It has come …" on the first line.)
  • Hold down the Shift key on your keyboard (The Shift keys are the ones with the block arrows on them, pointing upwards. You hold down a shift key if you want a capital letter.)
  • With the Shift key held down, click your left mouse button at the end of the block of text you want to highlight. (Click after the question mark of " … premature?")
  • A block of text will be highlighted

Highlight by dragging

This is another tricky one, when you're starting out. A bit of practice, though, and you'll soon master it. To highlight some text by dragging, do the following:
  • Click with your left mouse button at the start of the text you want to highlight
  • Keep your left mouse button held down
  • Drag your mouse pointer across the screen (Your mouse pointer will change shape. It will be the shape of a capital letter I.)
  • You can drag in any direction you like
  • When you've reached the end of the text you want to highlight, let go of the mouse button
  • Your text is highlighted 

Highlighting a single word

Highlighting a single word is easy. All you have to do is to double click on the word with your left mouse button. That's it!

Highlighting with the keyboard (no mouse needed)

For more precise highlighting, nothing beats the keyboard.

Line Highlighting
  • To highlight a single line, move your cursor to the start of the line you want to highlight. (You can move the cursor about with the arrow keys on your keyboard. Play about with them and see what happens.)
  • Hold down a Shift key on your keyboard
  • With the Shift key held down, press the End key on your keyboard
  • A single line is highlighted
  • To go the other way, from the end of a line to the beginning, move your cursor to the end of the line (or somewhere in the middle will do for. It works just as well.)
  • Hold down a Shift key on your keyboard
  • With the Shift key held down, press the Home key on your keyboard
  • Your text is highlighted 

Paragraph Highlighting

To highlight a paragraph with the keyboard alone, do the following
  • Move your cursor to the start or end of the paragraph you want to highlight
  • Hold down a Shift key AND a Ctrl key (bottom left of your keyboard)
  • With the Shift key AND a Ctrl key held down, press the Up or DOWN arrows
  • A paragraph will be highlighted

Highlighting one word at a time

  • For practice purposes, move your cursor to the middle of a line of text
  • Hold down a Shift key AND a Ctrl key
  • With the Shift key AND a Ctrl key held down, press the Left arrow or the Right arrow key on your keyboard

Highlighting one letter at a time

  • For practice purposes, move your cursor to the middle of a line of text
  • Hold down a Shift key
  • With the Shift key, press the Left arrow or the Right arrow on your keyboard
  • A single letter is highlighted for every tap of an arrow key

And that ends the highlighting section. Practice the techniques outlined above using your library letter. It takes quite a while to master them all, so just pick a couple of highlighting techniques. The ones you find the easiest to do.

We'll now see how to open a file that you have previously saved.

Opening Microsoft Word Documents

We'll shortly add an address to the top of our Library Complaint letter. Before we do that, we'll learn how to open a file. After all, you might have closed down Microsoft Word, or your computer might have crashed. The result being that you no longer have your library letter loaded into Word. So here's how to open a file you have saved, and want to work on again.
In Word 2007, click the round Office button in the top left of Microsoft Word:
The Open menu in Word 2007
In Word 2010, you need to click on the File tab in the top left of Word:
The Open menu in Word  2010
If you see your file under the Recent Documents heading, you can simply click there to open it. However, if it's not on the list, click the Open item on the menu:
The Open dialogue box appears, and looks like the image below:
The Open dialogue box in Vista and Windows 7
The Open dialogue box looks very similar to the Save As dialogue box. Notice, though, that the File name text box is blank. If you can't see your document in the Documents Library section, you can click where it says All Word Documents. You'll then see a list of file types that can be opened with Microsoft Word:
List of file types that Microsoft Word can open
This is more or less the same list you saw with the Save As dialogue box, under Save as Type. So if you don't see your file displayed, remember to display this list.
But the File Name text box is empty because no file has been selected. A file is selected from the larger white area in the middle. Clicking on the file once with the left hand mouse button will select a file.
In the image above, the document we want is displayed. But if it's not there, you can use the area at the top to search other folders. Click the My Documents item to see another drop down list:
Folder shortcuts
The list shows you all the folders you have in your My Documents folder (this gets shortened to just Documents in Windows 7). Select a folder to move inside of it.
You can see more areas on your computer by clicking the double arrows just to the left of My Documents, in the image above. You'll then see another list:
Location shortcuts
Again, clicking an item on the list takes you to that location. Have a play about with them, and watch how that dialogue box changes. To get back to where you where, you can either use the drop down lists above, or click the arrow buttons just to the left of the lists:
Back and Forward buttons
Clicking the arrows just below the word Open above will take you either back one folder, or forward one folder. If you get totally lost, just click the Cancel button at the bottom of the Open dialogue box, then start again.
To open a file, though, select it by clicking the file once with your left mouse button. Its name will then appear in the File Name at the bottom. Once it does, click the Open button.
Select a file to be opened

OK, now that you know how to open a file, we can start adding the address to our letter.

Adding an Address to a Letter

If you haven't already done so, open your Library Complaint letter. With the file open, do the following:
  • Position your cursor so that it is flashing before the letter "D" of "Dear sir or Madam"
  • Hit the Enter key on your keyboard about 5 or six times
  • This will give you a bit of room to type the address. We'll get rid of any unnecessary space later.
  • Your letter should now look something like this one
Letter opened in Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010
  • Move your cursor right up to the top, to the first line
  • Type in Mr Irate's address. It's this:
Mr Irate

12 High Street

When you have finished typing the address, it should look like this:
An address added to the letter
If you have too much space between the postcode and "Dear Sir or Madam" you can remove it by doing this:
  • Position your cursor so that it is flashing before the letter "D" of "Dear sir or Madam"
  • Hit your Backspace key a few times to get rid of any unwanted blank lines
  • Your text will move up one line with every tap of the backspace key
We'll now highlight the address and move it the right. So, using one of the highlighting techniques you have learnt, highlight the address and only the address. When you have finished, it should look like this one:
The address has been highlighted
Once we have highlighted the address we can align it to the right. To do that we use the alignment icons on the Home tab at the top of Microsoft Word. The alignment icons look like this:
Alignment icons in Word 2007 and Word 2010 are on the Paragraph panel
The first alignment icon is Align Left; the second one is Centre Align; the third one is Align Right; and the fourth one is Justify.
With your address highlighted, click each of the align icons in turn, just to get a feel for how they work. Finally, click Align Right, the third icon. Your address should now look like this:
The address has now been right-aligned
It doesn't look too neat and tidy, and we'll see how to straighten the left side of the address later, when we get on to document tabs. The lesson here, though, was all about highlighting. And, most importantly, that only highlighted text is affected by changes you make. All the other text remained exactly the way it was.

Spelling and Grammar Checking

One thing you probably will have noticed is the spelling mistakes in the letter. You should have typed the letter exactly as it was, and left any spelling errors in. More than likely, the spelling mistakes are underlined in red in your document. Anything with a wiggly green line under it is a grammatical error, (or what Microsoft Word insists is a grammatical error).
The easiest way to correct spelling mistakes is to right click any word that has a red wavy underline. You'll then see a menu appear:
Correcting spelling via right clicking
In the image above, we've clicked with the right-hand mouse button on the incorrectly spelt "counsil". The menu that appears shows three alternative words: counsel, council, and counsels. We meant council, of course. Click this option with your left mouse button to replace the misspelt word. The red wavy underline will disappear. (Incidentally, don't worry about the box that appears above the menu as we'll get to formatting options in a later section.)
Do the same with the other two misspellings in your letter, and then save your work.

Spelling and Grammar Options

To check more than one word at a time, you can bring up the Spelling and Grammar dialogue box. To see it, click on the Review tab at the top of Word. On the Review tab, locate the Proofing section. Then click Spelling & Grammar:
The Spelling and Grammar option on the Proofing panel in Word 2007 and 2010
When you click on Spelling & Grammar, you'll see a dialogue box appear. This one:
The Spelling and Grammar dialogue box
This dialogue box allows you to do most of the things you can do by right-clicking a misspelt word. The Suggestions area lists alternatives to the word you're trying to correct. The suggestion for our fictional town of Evercrease is for two separate words, Ever and Crease. To stop Word highlighting our fictional town as an error, click the Add to Dictionary button on the right. (Or you can click the Ignore buttons.)
When you have corrected a word, the dialogue box will move on to the next one. In our case it will highlight the fictional postcode, insisting that it is a repeated word. Click Ignore Once and Word will have finished with its corrections. The dialogue box will then go away.

Setting Spelling and Grammar Rules

Sometimes, however, you want a little more control over what spelling and grammar Microsoft Word highlights. For that, there is a Proofing dialogue box.
In Word 2007, click the round Office button in the top left. At the bottom of the menu you'll see a Word Options button:
Word Options in Word 2007
In Word 2010, click the File tab again. Have a look for the Options item, near the bottom left:
Word Options in Word 2010
Click the Word Options (or Options) button and you'll see another dialogue box appear. On the left, select the Proofing item. You'll then see the following rather complex list of things you can do:
The check marks in each box show what options are currently selected. Click a check mark to deselect that option. Click an empty box to select it. So if you don't want Word behaving like a grammar Nazi, uncheck the box that says Check grammar with spelling.

Microsoft Word AutoCorrect

One interesting option is AutoCorrect. Click the button at the top of the Proofing dialogue box that says AutoCorrect Options. You'll see this dialogue box:
The AutoCorrect dialogue box
On the AutoCorrect tab, you can see a lot of inbuilt options have been checked. So Word will, for example, automatically capitalize days of the weeks for you as soon as you press the space bar on your keyboard.
The area at the bottom, "Replace text as you type", has also been check. What this means is that if you were to type a colon followed by a left round bracket Word will change the two characters into a smiley face. If you don't want Word doing this, select that option from the list. Then click the Delete button.
However, you can use the Replace feature to your advantage. If, for example, you didn't want to keep typing your full name all the time, you can type say two characters into the Replace box. In the With box, type your name, as in the image below:
Replace text as you type
After you click the Add button, your text will be added to the list:
A new AutoCorrect item has been added
Click the OK buttons on the AutoCorrect dialogue box, and on the Word Options dialogue box and you'll be returned to Word. Now, whenever we type the initials "KC" and then press the space bar on the keyboard, Word will replace them with the name "Ken Carney".

And we'll leave the Library Complaint letter, as we're done. In the next section we'll create a new document so that you can learn some formatting.