Douglas has two master's degrees (MPA & MBA) and a PhD in Higher Education Administration.
This lesson will begin making a couple of assumptions. First of all, it's assumed that Microsoft Word is already installed on your computer, and you are ready to open the program and start working. Second, it's assumed that you work on a personal computer (PC) and not an Apple device.
When you first open Word, you have the option to select a new document, which is a blank Word file that can be used for typing, graphics, tables, and figures. There are also templates you can open, but understanding the menus we discuss in this lesson will help you with those other templates. Beginning with the first menu, we'll provide a brief overview of what can be found under that menu, and how it can help you draft a professional looking document.
This lesson is based on the 2013 version of Microsoft Word. The instructions may differ slightly from your experience if you're using a later version.
Microsoft Word Menus
In Word 2013, Microsoft has gone away from using the menu format in favor of the tab format, or tool ribbon. In this format, each tab across the top of a document opens a new set of options in the ribbon format - options and buttons are laid out horizontally along the top of the document page. Here, we'll review the nine standard tabs in a Word document.
When you open a new file in Word, the first tab you will see is File. Look carefully - you may miss it because it is a different color than the other tabs (depending on what color scheme you have your desktop set on). The File tab has just what you would think: options related to the entire file, such as save, print, share, and open.
The Home tab has the most commonly used features, especially as they relate to modifying text. In the Home tab you can select your font, size, color, attributes (bold, italics, underline), and alignment (left, center, right). You can also select a style, which is a predetermined text made to fit certain document parts, such as headings, subtitles, and text.
Under the Insert tab, there are a number of choices. In a Word document, there are many types of visual aids and highlights you can add to a file to help summarize and present information. It's in the Insert ribbon tab where you can find options for graphics, charts, hyperlinks, page breaks, headers, footers, textboxes, and reference information, such as date and time, comments, page numbers, and bookmarks.
The Design tab can be either very useful or hardly used, depending on your own understanding of Word. Most of the space in the Design tab is taken up by examples of document designs that you can select, such as documents with centered titles, offset headings, and left justified text. However, in addition to those less popular tools, the Design tab also includes watermarks, page color, and page borders, which may be used by advanced Word users.
5. Page Layout
The Page Layout ribbon is an important tab to determine how your document looks. This is the tab that has the options to modify margins, page orientation, paper size, columns, indents, spacing, page breaks, and the arranging of any parts of the document, such as text and graphics or tables.
The References tab is one that you may never use, or may be used heavily, depending on the type of work you do in Word. For students, the References tab is the easiest way to insert citations and references into the Word document. It can help with creating the reference page, table of contents, footnotes, and sources.
The Mailings tab is another example of how the ribbons get more complex and obscure as we continue along the top of the page. The Mailings tab is where you would go to create labels, print on envelopes, or perform a mail merge. These are all very useful tools if you need them.
Here, you can find the track changes options, commenting tools, language and translation tools, and what you might expect to see in a review section: spell check, thesaurus, word count, etc.
The last tab, unless you've been clever enough to figure out how to add tabs and rearrange them, is the View tab. This tab allows you to split your view into a four screen layout, so you can have four Word files open at once. It also allows you to view your current document as either zoomed in or zoomed out, and as either one page or multiple pages, or some other custom size.
One of the most important options in the View tab are the views you can change for when you write. The default view is the print layout, which shows you your document the same way it will print, including the number of pages and the places where pages begin and end. The second is called read mode, which is a mode that enlarges the print so you can read it better, and doesn't allow you to edit the document while you are reading it. Finally, the web layout takes all the page breaks out of your document and stretches the text the width of the screen, just like it would be seen on the web if it were posted.
Let's take a moment or two to review what we've learned about Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word will likely continue being the word processor of choice for the next decade. It's important, both for reading and editing documents that are sent to you, and for writing reports or memorandums you need to provide, that the basic tenets are easily understood. Certainly, this lesson wasn't a comprehensive view of everything Word can do, or a review of all of the menus and tabs that Word is able to add, based on the add-ins you put into Word. Here's the things we covered in this lesson:
- New document, which is a blank Word file that can be used for typing, graphics, tables, and figures.
- The File tab, which includes options related to the entire file, such as as save, print, share, and open.
- The Home tab, which has the most commonly used features, especially as they relate to modifying text.
- The Insert tab, which has many types of visual aids and highlights you can add to a file to help summarize and present information.
- The Design tab, which has examples of document designs that you can select.
- The Page Layout tab, which is an important tab to determine how your document looks.
- The References tab, which is the easiest way to insert citations and references into the Word document.
- The Mailings tab, which is another example of how the ribbons get more complex and obscure as we continue along the top of the page.
- The Review tab, in which you can find the track changes options, commenting tools, language and translation tools, and what you might expect to see in a review section.
- The View tab, which allows you to split your view into a four screen layout, so you can have four Word files open at once.
However, if you can understand how to get around the tabs discussed in this lesson, after a few sessions of using Word to create your own documents, you'll be clicking back and forth with no problem at all.
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