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Word is the most popular word processing program available. Its primary mission is to help you type and format text documents, but it also offers a host of other powerful features that let you create tables, work with graphics, create mass mailings, design Web pages, and more. This book teaches you to use the most recent incarnation of the program, Word 2003.

What This Book Will Do for You

If you rank learning new software right up there with trips to the dentist, you're not alone. Many people feel less than enthusiastic about exploring new programs because the “how-to” books they use are unclear or intimidating. This book aims to give you a much more positive learning experience. In it, you learn a good portion of the Word program—enough to create just about any type of document you need—in a thorough and systematic way.

Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Word 2003 in 24 Hours is organized in 24 sessions that should take approximately one hour each to complete. Depending on your previous experience with Word and your areas of interest, some sessions may take less than an hour and others may take more. The exact amount of time is not important. After you've practiced and absorbed all the information in a session that is relevant to your work, you're ready to move on.

What Is Word Designed to Do?

Word's fundamental mission is simple: to help you type, revise, and format text. To this end, it offers a complete set of tools that enable you to create just about any type of document imaginable. You can produce anything from basic letters and memos to complex documents such as reports, papers, newsletters, brochures, résumés, mass mailings, envelopes, and mailing labels. You can even compose e-mail messages and design Web pages in Word.

Each person who uses Word needs a slightly different combination of features. If you're an administrative assistant, you may need to use Word's mail merge feature to generate mass mailings. If you're a student, you'll want to learn about footnotes and endnotes for your term papers. If you're a marketing executive, you may want to use the table feature to present information in charts. Depending on the documents you create, you'll use some parts of Word constantly, and others you will never venture into. This is to be expected. Learn the areas of Word that you need, and don't feel compelled to explore every nook and cranny.

Word is part of Microsoft Office, a suite of business applications. The other key players in Office are Excel, a spreadsheet program, and PowerPoint, a presentation program. Depending on the edition of Office you have, you may also have a database program called Access, a personal information manager (PIM) and e-mail application called Outlook, and possibly a few others. All the Office applications have a similar look, and they are tightly integrated to let you use them in combination with one another (see Hour 20, “Integrating with Other Office Products”).

What Came Before Word 2003?

Microsoft has been producing Word for years, so several versions of the program are floating around. To make things more confusing, there is more than one way to refer to some versions. Table 1.1 lists the most recent versions of Word to help you understand where Word 2003 fits in. You can run all these versions on Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. In contrast, Word 2003 only runs on Windows XP and Windows 2000.

Table 1.1. The Recent Incarnations of Microsoft Word
Word 97Word 8.0Word 97 was sold separately and as part of Office 97.
Word 2000Word 9.0Word 2000 was sold separately and as part of Office 2000.
Word 2002 or Word XPWord 10Word 2002 is sold separately and as part of Office XP.

You may work with people who haven't yet upgraded to Word 2003. If you do, you probably will have to open documents created in earlier versions of Word and save documents in a format that older versions of Word will be able to read. In Hour 18, “Collaborating on Documents,” you learn how to cope with these situations.

Conventions Used in This Book

Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Word 2003 in 24 Hours uses a few conventions to present concepts and skills clearly:

  • Menu commands are separated by commas. For example, if you need to click the Save command in the File menu, you will see instructions to choose File, Save.

  • Keyboard shortcuts that require you to hold down the first key or keys and then press a letter key are shown combined with a + sign, like this: Ctrl+B. (It doesn't matter whether Caps Lock is turned on when you type the b, but you should not use the Shift key to make the letter uppercase.)

  • In numbered steps, commands or options that you need to click or select are shown in boldface.

  • For simplicity's sake, procedures that involve the operating system describe the steps that are required in Windows XP. If you are using Windows 2000 (or have turned on the Classic Start menu in Windows XP), your operating-system–related procedures will differ to some degree. Furthermore, this book assumes that you are using Microsoft Office 2003 and not a standalone version of Word 2003. If you are using a standalone version of Word, you may see some minor differences between the procedures described in this book and the ones you need to follow.

Each hour ends with common questions and answers. In addition to the explanatory text and the question-and-answer section, each hour also includes four elements:

Notes provide additional information related to the topic of discussion.

Tips offer alternative or time-saving ways to do things.

Cautions warn you about potential pitfalls and tell you how to avoid them.

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