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Chapter 4. Creating a Simple Document  > A Walk Around the Word Window

A Walk Around the Word Window

The Word window has lots of open area, giving you plenty of room to think about the text you are composing. Your tools are positioned within easy reach along three sides of the work area. Take a look at Figure 4-1 to see the important elements in the Word window.

Figure 4-1. The Word window positions all the tools you need nearby so you can access them easily as you work.

These are the items you’ll work with regularly in Word:

  • Title bar.

    The title bar always lists the name of the document you are working on. If you have just started a document and have not yet named it, Document1 shows as the default title.

  • Work area.

    This is the open area of the screen in which you type your text, insert graphics, and so on.

  • Rulers.

    The work area is bordered on the top and left by two rulers; you will set tabs, work with margins, and align text elements using the rulers.

  • Scroll bars.

    Two scroll bars—horizontal and vertical—line the bottom and right sides of the work area. You’ll use the scroll bars to move to areas of the document outside the current display.

  • Menu bar.

    The Word menus contain commands related to a different aspect of creating a document.

  • Standard toolbar.

    These tools enable you to work with files; cut, copy, and paste content; undo and redo your actions; and add special elements such as tables and spreadsheet sections.

  • Formatting toolbar.

    You’ll use these tools to change the look, style, size, and alignment of the text you enter.

  • Task pane.

    The task pane anticipates the next operation you might want to perform and displays choices accordingly.

  • Status bar.

    The status bar gives you information about the current file—the number of pages, the current cursor position, and whether Insert or Overtype mode is turned on (more about that in the section entitled “Entering Text,” later in this chapter). Additionally, if you are using the spelling checker or printing the document, small icons appear in the right side of the status bar to show that those operations are in progress.

  • View tools.

    Along the left side of the horizontal scroll bar, you see four tools that enable you to display your Word document in four ways.

The following sections go into a bit more detail about the items in the Word window you’re likely to use most often.


Although the task pane appears when you first start Word and begin a document, you can put it away to give yourself more room to work on-screen. To close the task pane, click the Close box in the upper right corner of the pane.

Checking Out the Word Menus

Word includes nine menus, each of which contains commands related to a specific task you’ll be accomplishing in Word. You open menus either by clicking the menu name or by pressing and holding the Alt key while pressing the underlined letter in the menu name (for example, Alt+F opens the File menu). Table 4-1 gives you a quick rundown of the types of commands you’ll find in Word menus.

Table 4-1. Word Menu Commands
Menu Shortcut Key Description
File Alt+F Contains commands for anything related to working with Word documents—such as opening, saving, printing, importing, setting up, and previewing documents.
Edit Alt+E Includes everything you need for selecting, finding, cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing text. In addition, you can undo and redo recent operations.
View Alt+V Lets you choose the different ways in which you view your Word documents; also controls other items that are displayed on the screen (toolbars, the document map, headers and footers, and the task pane).
Insert Alt+I Enables you to insert just about anything you can imagine into your Word document. Want to add a page break? The date and time? A photo? A hyperlink? This menu contains those commands and many others.
Format Alt+O Controls the way your document looks—from text to background to graphics to frames. You can change the style, size, color, and alignment of text; create numbered and bulleted lists; change spacing; choose themes; and much more.
Tools Alt+T Gives you access to all the add-ins you can use to improve and extend the capabilities of your document. You can run the spelling and grammar checker, count words, track changes, set up speech recognition, add templates, do a mail merge, work collaboratively, and create macros.
Table Alt+A Lets you create, modify, format, sort, and customize tables in your Word document.
Window Alt+W Enables you to arrange or split open windows or select a different open document that is displayed in the menu list.
Help Alt+H Displays the Help menu options you can choose to find out more about your current task.

Try This!

Word uses smart technology to customize the menus according to the way you work. (So do all the other Office programs, for that matter.) This means that you are shown only the commands you are likely to want, which keeps the menu clear and the operation simple. When you click the menu name, the full menu does not open right away; instead, you see only the primary commands and any commands you have selected recently. An extend button (a double down arrow) appears at the bottom of the menu; if you don’t see the command you want, click the button (or simply wait a second or two with the menu open and it will extend to full-size on its own). Give it a try by performing the following steps:

  1. Click the Edit menu. The partial menu appears, with the extend button at the bottom.

  2. Click the extend button (or just keep the menu open for a few seconds). The menu opens to its full length, displaying all available commands in their proper order.

  3. Click outside the menu to close it.

Understanding Toolbars

When you first start Word, only the Standard and Formatting toolbars are displayed on the screen. Those are the ones we’ll cover here because they are the ones you’ll use most often.

The Standard toolbar gives you common tools for working with files; copying, cutting, and pasting; and adding tables, graphics, and more. Each tool has a corresponding command in one of the Word menus, as shown below:


A quick way to find out which tool is which is to use the ScreenTips built into each Office program. Simply position the pointer over the tool you’re wondering about and wait a second. A tag appears telling you the name of the tool. You can add to the ScreenTips so that they also tell you what shortcut key to use for that task (for example, you can press Ctrl+C instead of clicking the Copy tool on the Standard toolbar). To add the shortcut keys to your ScreenTips, open the Tools menu, choose Customize, and, on the Options tab, select the Show Shortcut Keys In ScreenTips option; and then click Close.

The Formatting toolbar, shown below, contains the selections you need to enhance the appearance of your text. You can choose the font, size, and style; change the alignment and spacing of text; create numbered and bulleted lists; add borders and shades; and highlight and change the color of your text.


Don’t like the way the toolbars are arranged? You can move them around on-screen any place you like. The toolbars are dockable, which means that you can remove them from their current place beneath the menu bar and put them someplace else. To do this, click the small column of horizontal lines at the left end of the toolbar and drag toward the center of the work area to release it; then place the toolbar wherever you want. You might want to put the toolbar along the right edge or just leave it, palette-style, in your document window. You can resize the toolbar by dragging an end of the toolbar toward its center.

You will notice that, as you begin to try different features of Word, other toolbars will appear. When you insert a picture file, for example, the Picture toolbar appears. When you decide to track changes in a document, the Reviewing toolbar appears. To get the full effect of all the toolbars Word offers you, open the View menu and click Toolbars. You’ll see the massive list shown in Figure 4-2. To display one of the toolbars, simply click the one you want to use.

Figure 4-2. Word displays these toolbars by default but you can select others any time you choose.

When you’re ready to hide the toolbar again, right-click the toolbar and choose its name from the list to deselect it. This puts the toolbar away until you want to use it again.

Introducing Word Views

Word gives you a number of different ways to look at the same document. You’ll discover that some views enable you to focus only on text; others let you see how the layout is shaping up (both for print and for the Web); and still others let you check the organization of your document. You can choose the different views in two ways:

  • By clicking the view tool you want in the lower left corner of the Word work area (use ScreenTips to help you identify the one you want)

  • By opening the View menu and choosing your view from the displayed options

The following list explains what you can expect from each of the views in Word:

  • Normal view is the view you work with when you are entering text and creating your document. This view does not show special formats or column layouts if you’ve applied them, but it allows you to enter text quickly now and fuss with formats later.

  • Web Layout view shows the way the page will look after it’s saved as a Web document. Any formats and images you’ve placed will appear here, but as you can see, the margins of the page are different (as they will be on the Web).

  • Print Layout view is the view selected by default when you begin using Word. In this view you can see all formatting changes you make, as well as any added graphics, lines, and so on. You also get a realistic idea of how the page will look when printed.

  • Outline view shows how the document looks when it’s arranged according to heading levels. Working in Outline view is great when you are creating a long document that you (and perhaps your team) are building from an outline.

Other Looks for Other Tasks

The four views described in this section—Normal, Web Layout, Print Layout, and Outline—are the primary ones available to you as you create your documents, but you have other options as well. While you’re exploring the features of Word, be sure to check out these alternate looks:

Print Preview mode enables you to see the document as it would be printed. You can zoom to different page sizes and display more than one page on the screen if you like. Try Print Preview by choosing the command in the File menu or by clicking the Preview button on the Standard toolbar.

The Document Map divides your Word window into two panels. On the left you’ll see all the headings in your document; and on the right you’ll see the regular document, displayed in the view you were using. The Document Map feature is great for checking the headings you’ve used and for jumping to other sections in a long document. You can move directly to another section simply by clicking the heading in the panel on the left. To turn on the Document Map feature, open the View menu and choose Document Map or click the Document Map tool on the Standard toolbar.

The Show/Hide Paragraph Marks tool on the Standard toolbar displays your document in the selected view but adds paragraph and tab characters wherever you have pressed Enter or Tab in your document. This can be helpful if you are looking for an errant tab code that’s knocking a list out of alignment, but otherwise it can make you cross-eyed. Leave this feature off until you need it.

The Zoom control on the Standard toolbar allows you to enlarge or shrink the display until the page is a size you’re comfortable working with. Yes, it’s true—you can put away those bifocals and work with your text zoomed to 150 percent if you choose! (Of course, that means you’ll have to scroll the page back and forth to read your entire document, which can be a pain.)

Full Screen view is what Word enthusiasts who can’t stand to have the screen cluttered with toolbars prefer. When you choose Full Screen view (by opening the View menu and choosing Full Screen), Word removes all the menus and toolbars and displays a Close Full Screen button floating over the work area. When you’re ready to return to the menu/toolbar system, click the button and you’re back.

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