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Chapter 28. Customizing Word > Changing General Options

Changing General Options

Quite simply, the General tab of the Options dialog box is where Word collects the options that don't fit anywhere else. You can see its default settings in Figure 28.29.

  • Background Repagination. This option controls whether Word keeps track of page numbering continuously while you work. By default, it does. Like all of Word's automatic, on-the-fly features, this one takes a little bit of processing power. So if you're finding that Word 2000 runs too slowly on your computer, you might try turning off Background Repagination.


    Background Pagination is always on in Print Layout view; otherwise, how could Word show true page layouts?

    If your computer is running Word too slowly, try working more in Normal view and less in Print Layout view.

    Figure 28.29. The default settings for the General tab of the Options dialog box.

  • Blue Background, White Text. This option is designed to help WordPerfect users feel at home. It displays text in white against a blue, WordPerfect- or DOS-like background. Some people who have never used WordPerfect still find this to be softer on their eyes; it's a matter of personal taste. Figure 28.30 shows a sample, but it looks better on your monitor; try it for yourself.

    Figure 28.30. Some people, especially former WordPerfect for DOS users, find the Blue Background, White Text option more readable.

  • Provide Feedback with Sound. This option tells Word to play sounds in response to specific actions or events, such as error messages. You need three things to play sounds: a sound card, speakers, and the sound files themselves, which are not automatically installed as part of the Microsoft Office installation.


    Sound files are stored in the Sounds folder of the Office 2000 CD-ROM. If you don't have them, you can download them from Microsoft's Web site. To get there, choose Help, Office on the Web.

  • Provide Feedback with Animation. This option is turned on by default, and uses special animated pointers to tell you that certain automated procedures are in progress, such as AutoFormatting, background saves, and background printing. If you are running Word on an older computer with a 486 processor or a low-end Pentium (for example, a Pentium 60 or 90), turning this option off may slightly enhance system performance.

  • Confirm Conversion at Open. This is an option that may come in handy if you often work with files in other formats. In general, Word is capable of recognizing the source of a document and using the appropriate converter. For example, Word recognizes WordPerfect 5.1 documents and uses the WordPerfect import filter, even if those documents have a Word-like DOC extension. However, in rare instances Word may choose the wrong filter or you may want to choose the filter you use. If so, check this box. When you open a file in a different format, Word enables you to choose which converter to use.

  • Update Automatic Links at Open. This option is turned on by default, and tells Word to automatically update any information in your document that is based on other files linked to your document. In general, you'll want to leave this enabled. However, if you prefer to see your document with the content it had the last time you worked with it, or if you suspect the source document is no longer available, you can clear this check box to turn off automatic updating.

  • Mail as Attachment. This next option relates to the way Word integrates with MAPI-compatible email software (such as Microsoft Outlook) that may be installed on your computer. With this option turned on, if you choose File, Send to, Mail Recipient, Word opens an email message window and includes the formatted text of the document as the message. If you choose Mail Recipient (As Attachment), Word creates a new email message, and attaches a copy of the current document to it. If you clear the Mail as Attachment check box, Word will no longer offer a Mail Recipient (As Attachment) option; instead it will offer Mail Recipient (as Text) which, as the name implies, copies the text of the document to the email message.

  • Recently Used File List. By default, Word displays the last four files you worked on at the bottom of the File menu. If you work on a great many files, you may want to increase the number of files displayed in this list. Conversely, if you have added custom items to the File menu, you might not even have room for four files. To make a change, click in the Entries scroll box, and type a number from 1 to 9.


    If you don't want any files listed in the Recently Used File List (possibly because you don't want others to know what you've been working on), clear the Recently Used File List check box.

  • Help for WordPerfect Users. When this option is turned on, Word's parallel help system for users transitioning from WordPerfect for DOS is also enabled. When you type a keyboard combination that corresponds to a WordPerfect feature, WordPerfect Help tells you how to perform the same task in Word and, in some cases, even demonstrates the feature.

  • Navigation Keys for WordPerfect Users. When this option is turned on, Word's Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, and Esc keys start behaving the way they would if you were running WordPerfect. For example, you would use Home, Home, Left arrow to move the insertion point to the beginning of the current line.

  • Measurement Units. Settings in this box tell Word which measurement system to use in its rulers and in some of its dialog boxes: Inches, Centimeters, Points, or Picas. Note that not every measurement changes when you change this setting. For example, font size is still measured in points no matter which setting you choose.


    In general, you can enter margins and similar information in any system you choose by adding the appropriate prefix or suffix. For example, if you enter 1′ as your top margin while Word is set to display centimeters, Word inserts the appropriate margin setting and converts it to 2.54 cm automatically. Conversely, if Word is set to inches, you can enter centimeters by adding cm after the number.

  • Show Pixels for HTML Features. This option tells Word to display measurements in screen pixels rather than inches.



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