Getting Started with Microsoft Word

Macintosh and Windows
4 March 1999
Copyright 1995, Academic Computing and Instructional Technology Services
The University of Texas at Austin

This handout provides an introduction to Microsoft Word 97. It covers the Word interface, selection techniques, paragraph and character formatting, spell checking, and printing.

Starting Word

You can start Word by either of two methods:
1. wdwordicon.gif (1304 bytes) On the PC, select Start, Programs, Microsoft Word from the Start list. 
On the Mac, double-click on the Word application icon. This application is usually in a folder called Word. 
In the Student Microcomputer Facility, an alias for Word appears on the desktop of the computers.
2. wddocument.gif (1182 bytes) Double-click on the icon of any Word document. Word documents can be anywhere. Word opens with the selected document already loaded.

Exploring Word's Interface

Components of the Word Window

Besides the usual PC and Macintosh window components (close box, title bar, scroll bars, etc.), a Word window has several unique elements shown in the figure below.

wdwdwindow.GIF (9541 bytes)

Word Menu Bar Contains File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Font, Tools, Table, Window and Help menus.
Standard Tool Bar Contains icons for shortcuts to menu commands. 
Formatting Tool Bar Contains pop-up menus for style, font and font size; icons for boldface, italic, and underline; alignment icons; number and bullet list icons; indention icons, the border icon. highlight and font color icons. 
Ruler Ruler on which you can set tabs, paragraph alignment and other formats.
Insertion Point  Blinking vertical bar that indicates where text you type will be inserted. Don’t confuse the insertion point with the mouse I-beam. To move the insertion point, just click the mouse where you want the point moved.
End-of-File Mark Nonprinting symbol that marks the end of the file. You cannot insert text after this mark.
Selection Bar  Invisible narrow strip along the left edge of the window. Your mouse pointer changes to a right-pointing arrow when it is in this area. It is used to select a line, a paragraph, or the entire document.
Split Bar Double-click to split the window in two (to view different portions of the same file). Double-click to return to one window.
Style Box  Displays name of style for paragraph containing insertion point.
Status Area  Displays page number, section number, total number of pages, pointer position on page and time of day.

Working with Text

Entering Text

To enter text, just start typing. Word inserts the text you type at the insertion point. If you press a wrong key, use the Delete key to erase the mistake. Word automatically starts a new line when you reach the end of the current line. This is called word wrap. Do not press Return at the end of a line. Press Return only at the end of paragraphs. Of course, some paragraphs, such as headings, might be only one line long.

To insert new text, just click the mouse at the point where you want the additional text and start typing. Existing text moves to accommodate your additions.

Moving the Insertion Point

To move the insertion point with the mouse, click the mouse in the desired location. If the location is not visible, use the scroll bars to move up or down in the document. To move the insertion point to the top of the document, press <Ctrl + Home>. Press <Ctrl + End> to move to the end of the document.

Deleting Text

The Backspace key deletes one character to the left of the insertion point. The Delete key deletes one character to the right of the insertion point. You can use these keys any time. To delete more than just a few characters, select the text, then press the Delete key. Selecting text is covered below.

Selecting Text

You select a portion of text in order to perform some operation on it. You can delete, replace, copy, move, or format it. The following table explains how to select various blocks of text.
To Select this... Do this...
Word Double click anywhere on the word.
Line Click right-pointing arrow in the selection bar to left of line.
Sentence <Ctrl + click> anywhere in sentence.
Paragraph Double-click right-pointing arrow in selection bar to left of paragraph, or triple-click in paragraph.
Any sized block of text Click at one end of the block and shift-click at the other end of the block. Or click at one end of block and drag to the other end of the block.
Entire document Press <Ctrl + A> or hold down the Ctrl key and click in the selection bar.
And to... Do this...
Deselect text Click anywhere. Most users click outside the selection.
Extend a selection Shift-click an additional block. For example, if you have selected a paragraph and you shift-click on another paragraph, it will be added to the selection.

Undoing Mistakes

If you make a terrible mistake— you accidentally delete an important paragraph, for example— use the Undo command under the Edit menu immediately (the keyboard shortcut is <Ctrl + Z>). Do not issue any other command until after you have undone your mistake.

Copying and Moving Text

You can copy selected text from one place to another with the Copy and Paste commands or with the Drag and Drop procedure. You can move selected text from one place to another with the Cut and Paste commands, and with the Drag and Drop procedure. These commands and procedures are described below. Cut. The Cut command extracts the selected text and puts it on the Clipboard (a temporary storage area). The contents of the Clipboard are overwritten with each copy or cut.

Copy. The Copy command puts a copy of the selected text on the Clipboard.

Paste. The Paste command inserts the Clipboard’s contents at the insertion point. Existing text moves to accommodate pasted text. Selected text is replaced by pasted text.

Drag and Drop. This procedure does not involve the Clipboard and works best when moving text a short distance. To move text, select the text and drag it to its new location. To copy text, hold down the Control key while you drag the text. To use Drag and Drop, it must be enabled (the default). See Preferences…, under the Tools menu.

Working with Word Documents

Opening and Closing Documents

To open a file, select Open... from the File menu. In the dialog box, click on the filename and then on the Open button.. If your file is not in the opened folder, click on the down arrow (next to folder name) to see a directory listing. The Up One Level button icon on the right enables you to move up one level. You can then switch to the floppy disk, hard drive or Desktop where the appropriate file or folder is located.

wdopen.gif (7775 bytes)

For example, to open a file from a floppy disk, select Open... from the File menu. If the disk's name does not appear on the left side of the dialog box, click on the down arrow. Select its name in the box at the left or if it is not displayed, click the Up One Level button to see a different display of files and folders. When you locate the desired diskette or file, click Open. (Double-clicking on the name will also open it).
wdclose_box.gif (813 bytes) To close a document, click its close box in the upper right of the title bar (box with the large X on it) or select Close from the File menu. The keyboard shortcut is <Ctrl + W>.

Saving a Document

Changes you make to a document are not saved to disk until you issue a save command. Saving is quick and easy. You should save often to minimize the loss of your work. Word has two save commands — Save and Save As... — that work similarly. Both are under the File menu.
Save Save As...
When you save a new document for the first time, Word displays a dialog box (see figure, below). It is similar to the Open dialog box described earlier. Select the disk in which to save the document and specify a name for the document. When you save an existing document that you have been editing, the newly saved version is written over the older version. This command always displays a dialog box where you can choose a document name and disk (see figure below). Use the Save As... command whenever you want to save a copy of the current document under a different name or in a different folder or disk. The newly saved copy becomes the active document.

wdsave_as.gif (8262 bytes)


Setting Margins

Use the Page Setup command on the File menu to set up the margins. This option affects the entire document.

Formatting Characters, Words, Sentences

You can format text that you are about to type or text that already exists. To format new text, turn on the formatting features by selecting them from the Ribbon, type the text, then turn off the features (select them again or select new features).

To format existing text, select the text and choose the formatting features from the Ribbon. For example, to create a heading that is Helvetica, bold, 18-point text, select the font and size from the pop-up menus on the Ribbon (see below). Then, click on the B button to turn on bold.

Formatting Paragraphs

In Microsoft Word, a paragraph is any amount of text followed by a paragraph symbol ( ). A one-word heading is a paragraph. A 100-word ob description is a paragraph. Even a blank line terminated by a is a paragraph.

You perform paragraph and page formatting using the Ruler and the Paragraph command from the Format menu. A picture of the Ruler appears below.

wdruler.gif (6925 bytes)

The Ruler has icons for paragraph alignment (left, centered, right, and justified). You can also control indents using the margin markers on the Ruler. The right triangle controls indention from the right margin and the left triangle controls indention from the left margin with the top marker controlling the first line only. Changes made on the Ruler affect only selected paragraphs. To change margins for the entire document, you should use the Page Setup command on the File menu.

The Ruler also contains icons for setting tabs. The table below describes the icons and how to use them.
Tab Markers Setting, moving, and deleting tab stops using the Ruler.
wdlefttab.gif (909 bytes)  Left aligned tab

wdcenter.gif (924 bytes)  Centered tab

wdrighttab.gif (900 bytes)  Right aligned tab

wddecimal.gif (936 bytes) Decimal tab

Create an insertion point in the paragraph that you want to set tabs. Click on the desired tab setting and then the Ruler where you want to insert the tab. 

To move a tab, drag the tab marker to a new location. To delete a tab, drag it off the Ruler.

Creating a First Line Indent

A first line indent is commonly used in text to offset the beginning of each new paragraph. To create a first line indent, drag the top triangle to the right. As you drag the top triangle, notice that the bottom triangle does not move. wdleftmargin.gif (1234 bytes)

Creating A Hanging Indent 

Use a hanging indent to draw the reader’s eye to the beginning of the line. With a hanging indent, the first line aligns on the left margin and the rest of the indented paragraph "hangs" from the first line. Hold down the Shift key to move the left indent independently. 
wdhanging.gif (484 bytes)

Numbering Pages with the Header and Footer

Headers and footers typically contain titles and page numbers for a document. A header is text that appears within the top margin on each page, whereas a footer appears in the bottom margin. You can set a different header and footer on the first page by selecting Page Setup from the File menu, clicking the Layout tab from the open dialog box and then selecting Different First Page from the available options.

To create a header (or footer) in a document, select Header and Footer from the View menu. Type the header or footer text in the header or footer window (see below). The default text is left aligned with a centered tab set at 3 " and a right tab at 6. You can format Header and Footer text using the Ribbon and Ruler similar to a paragraph in your document. Click on the Header and Footer tool bar buttons to insert a page number, the current date, the time, and to switch between the Header and Footer template.

wdheader.gif (35215 bytes)

Checking the Spelling

Word has a built-in spelling checker. You can have Word check a selected portion of your document (one word, a paragraph, etc.) or the entire document. If you select text before starting the spelling checker, Word checks the selection, then asks whether it should stop or check the rest of the document. To check the entire document, move the insertion point to the top of the document by pressing (Ctrl + Home) before you select the spelling checker. wdspellicon.gif (1039 bytes)

To start the spelling checker, select Spelling and Grammar from the Tools menu. Word will begin to check for misspellings. If Word finds a word that is not in its dictionaries, it pauses, displays the word, and if possible, suggests alternatives (see figure below).
wdspeller.gif (6117 bytes) You have several choices at this point described in the table below. If the word is spelled correctly, you can have Word ignore it or add it to a custom dictionary. If the word is incorrect, you can have Word replace it with one of its suggestions or with a spelling you supply in the Change To: box.

If the word is spelled correctly... Do this:
To ignore only this occurrence of the word, click Ignore
To ignore all occurrences of the word, click Ignore All
To add the word to a custom dictionary, click Add
If the word is misspelled...  Do this:
First, click correct spelling in Suggestions list or type the correction in the Change To: box. Then...
To change only this occurrence of the word, click Change
To change all occurrence of the word, click Change All
After you make your choice, Word continues checking spelling. Remember to save your document after using the spelling checker in order to retain the changes.

Previewing and Printing

Print Preview

You can preview your document before you print using the Print Preview command from the File menu or clicking on the Print Preview button. It displays one or two pages at a reduced size.

wdprint-review.gif (14667 bytes)

The table below describes the options available in Print Preview.
wdprinter_icon.gif (317 bytes)
Click on this icon to display the print dialog box.
wdmagglass.gif (1040 bytes) This icon magnifies the page view. Click the magnifying glass cursor on the text for a closer look. It toggles between zooming in and out to the reduced size.
wdone_page.gif (1055 bytes) This icon displays a one page view.
wdpagedisplay.gif (1067 bytes) Click on this icon to display multiple pages of a document.
wdzoom.gif (1067 bytes) Zoom control button.
wdruler_icon.gif (1057 bytes) Click on this icon to view the Ruler.
wdfit_in_window.gif (1073 bytes) This icon shrinks the page to fit in the window.
wdone_page.gif (1055 bytes) This icon dsplays a page in full screen.
wdclose.gif (183 bytes)
Click on this icon to close the Print Preview screen
wdhelp.gif (179 bytes) Click on this icon to bring up Word help.


Select File, Print to print your document. Save the document before selecting the Print command to avoid losing your work. You can also click on the Print icon to print the active document.

Review and Summary

Open Microsoft Word or any Word document from the desktop Double-click on the icon. 
Open any document within Word Select Open... from the File menu or press
<Ctrl + O>. In the dialog box, click on the filename and then on the Open button.
Close a document Click its close box, select Close from the File menu, or press <Ctrl + W>.
Save a document Select Save from the File menu or press
<Ctrl+ S.> Type a name for the document and select a disk in which to save it.
Move text Select the text and choose Cut from the Edit menu or press <Ctrl+ X.> This puts the text on the clipboard.
Copy text Select the text and choose Copy from the Edit menu or press <Ctrl + C>. This puts the text on the clipboard.
Insert text from the clipboard Choose Paste from the Edit menu or press 
<Ctrl + V>.
Set the margins Choose Page Setup from the File menu.
Change the font or size of text Select the text and choose from the Font or Size boxes on the Ribbon.
Create bold, italic or underlined text Select the text and choose the formatting features from the Ribbon. 
Change the alignment or spacing of paragraphs Select the paragraphs and click on the alignment and spacing icons on the Ruler.
Add page numbers Choose Header and Footer from the View menu. Click on the page number icon.
Start the spelling checker Move the insertion point to the top of the document or press <Ctrl + Home.>. Select Spelling and Grammar from the Tools menu. 
Preview the document Choose Print Preview from the File menu
Print the document Choose Print from the File menu or press 
<Ctrl + P>.

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