Word 2016 For Dummies (2016)

Part I

Your Introduction to Word

Chapter 2

The Typing Chapter

In This Chapter

arrow Knowing the keyboard and mouse

arrow Using the spacebar

arrow Using the Enter key

arrow Observing the status bar

arrow Minding the space between pages

arrow Showing and hiding hidden characters

arrow Dealing with weird underlines

Word processing is about using a keyboard. It’s typing. That’s the way computers were used for years, long before the mouse and all the fancy graphics became popular. Yep — ask a grizzled old-timer and you’ll hear tales of ugly text screens and keyboard commands that would tie your fingers in knots. Though things today aren’t that bad, I highly recommend that you bone up on your keyboard skills to get the most from your word-processing duties.

Input Devices Galore

When you process words, you’re typing: clickity-clack-clack. You use your fingers and one thumb to manipulate the computer keyboard. It’s an important part of getting text on a page, but also important is the mouse. No, you don’t type with the mouse, but you’ll do some pointing and clicking in additional to clickity-clack-clacking.

Using the PC keyboard

I’m sure you can easily recognize a computer keyboard, but do you know the official terms that refer to its various keys?

Relax: No one does.

Rather than look at all 100+ keys as a marauding hoard, consider how the keys are clustered into groups, as illustrated in Figure 2-1. To best use Word and understand how the keyboard is referenced in this book, it helps to know the general keyboard areas illustrated in the figure.


Figure 2-1: A typical PC keyboard.

Of all the keys, a few play important roles in the word-processing task. They are

·        Enter: Marked with the word Enter and sometimes a cryptic, bent-arrow thing, this key is used to end a paragraph of text. See the later section, “Pressing the Enter key.”

·        Spacebar: The only key with no symbol, it inserts a space between words and sentences. Yes, just one space. See the later section, “Whacking the spacebar.”

·        Tab: This key inserts the tab character, which shoves the next text you type over to the next tab stop. Using this key properly is an art form. Chapter 12 is dedicated to its use.

·        Backspace and Delete: Use these keys to back up and erase text. Yes, erasing text isn’t a job always left to the editor. Read more about these keys in Chapter 4.

Every character key you press on the keyboard produces a character on the screen, on the blank part where you write. Typing those character keys over and over is how you write text on a word processor.

·        A laptop keyboard’s layout is different from the desktop keyboard layout shown in Figure 2-1. Primarily, laptop keyboards lack a numeric keypad. The cursor keys are clustered tight around the typewriter keys in unusual and creative patterns. The function keys might be accessed by pressing special key combinations.

·        Keys on the numeric keypad can be number keys or cursor keys. The split personality is evident on each key cap, which displays two symbols. When the Num Lock key’s lamp is on, the keys generate numbers. When the lamp is off, the keys serve as duplicate cursor keys.

·        Cursor keys control the cursor, which is officially known as the insertion pointer in Microsoft Word. The cursor keys include the four arrow keys (up, down, left, right), and also the keys Home, End, PgUp (or Page Up), PgDn (or Page Down), Insert, and Delete.

·        Ctrl is pronounced “control.” It’s the control key.

·        The Delete key may also be labeled Del on the keyboard.

·        The modifier keys, Shift, Ctrl, and Alt, work in combination with other keys.

Understanding the mouse pointer

Though word processing is a keyboard thing, you will eventually lift your hand from the keyboard to fondle the computer mouse. The mouse is used to choose commands, move around the document, and select text. Specific information on these tasks is found throughout this book. For now, it helps to understand how the mouse pointer changes its look as you work in Word:

images For editing text, the mouse pointer becomes the I-beam.

images For choosing items, the standard 11 o’clock mouse pointer is used.

images For selecting lines of text, a 1 o’clock mouse pointer is used.

The mouse pointer may change its appearance when click-and-type mode is active: Teensy lines appear to the left, right, and below the I-beam mouse pointer. Refer to Chapter 32 for information on click-and-type.

tip When you point the mouse at a command button or any icon on the Word screen, you see a pop-up information bubble. The text in the bubble describes the command and perhaps offers information on how the command is used.

Keyboard Dos and Don’ts

You don’t need to know how to type to use a word processor. And if you don’t know how to type, see the nearby sidebar, “Do I need to learn to type?,” although I can tell you that the answer is “Yes.” It also helps to know a few typing dos and don’ts that are particular to word processing.

tip“Do I need to learn to type?”

No one needs to learn to type to use a word processor, but you do yourself a favor when you learn. My advice is to get a computer program that teaches you to type. I can recommend the Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing program, even though I don’t get any money from her and none of her children resemble me. I just like the name Mavis, I suppose.

Knowing how to type makes the word-processing chore a wee bit more enjoyable.

Following the insertion pointer

Text you compose in Word appears at the insertion pointer’s location. The insertion pointer looks like a flashing vertical bar:


Characters appear before the insertion pointer, one at a time. After a character appears, the insertion pointer hops to the right, making room for more text.

·        The insertion pointer moves as you type, but its location can be set to any location in the document. Chapter 3 covers moving the insertion pointer around in more detail.

·        technicalstuff Some documentation refers to the insertion pointer as a cursor. The mouse pointer might also be referred to as a cursor. For clarity, this book refers to the insertion pointer and mouse pointer without ever using the term cursor.

Whacking the spacebar

Pressing the spacebar inserts a space character into the text. Spaces are important between words and sentences. Withoutthemreadingwouldbedifficult.

remember The most important thing to remember about the spacebar is that you need to whack it only once when word processing. Only one space needs to appear between words and after punctuation. That's it!

·        I'm serious! Back in the dark ages, typing instructors directed students to use two spaces between sentences. That extra space was necessary for readability because typewriters used monospaced characters. On a computer, however, the extra space does nothing and potentially leads to formatting woes down the road.

·        Anytime you feel like using two or more spaces in a document, what you need is a tab. Tabs are best for indenting text as well as for lining up text in columns. See Chapter 12 for details.

Backing up and erasing

When you make a typo or another type of typing error, press the Backspace key on the keyboard. The Backspace key moves the insertion pointer back one character and erases that character. The Delete key also erases text, though it gobbles up characters to the right of the insertion pointer.

See Chapter 4 for more information on deleting text.

Pressing the Enter key

In word processing, you press the Enter key only when you reach the end of a paragraph. Do not press the Enter key at the end of a line.

When your text gets precariously close to the right margin, Word automatically wraps the last word on the line down to the next line. This word wrap feature eliminates the need to press Enter at the end of a line.

·        Don’t use the Enter key to double-space your text. Double-spacing is a paragraph format in Word. See Chapter 11 for more information.

·        Don’t press the Enter key twice to add extra space between your paragraphs. That extra space is added automatically, provided it’s part of the paragraph format, also covered in Chapter 11.

·        If you want to indent a paragraph, press the Tab key after pressing Enter. As with other word-processing rules and regulations, paragraphs can be indented automatically, provided that format is applied, as covered in (you guessed it) Chapter 11.

Stuff That Happens While You Type

As you madly compose your text, fingers energetically jabbing the buttons on the keyboard, you may notice a few things happening on the screen. You might see spots. You might see lines and boxes. You may even see lightning! All are side effects of typing in Word. They’re normal, and they’re presented to help you.

Watching the status bar

The reason it's the status bar is that it shows you the status of your document, updating information as you type. A collection of information appears starting at the left end of the status bar and marching right, as shown in Figure 2-2.


Figure 2-2: Stuff that lurks on the status bar.

The status bar information is updated as your document changes. Use the information to see, for example, which page and line you’re editing, the word count, and so on.

The info tidbits on the status bar are customizable. Chapter 29 explains how to control what information appears on the status bar.

Observing page breaks

As your document gains length, Word shows you where one page ends and another page begins. This visual assistance helps you keep elements on the same page, but also shows you how text flows between pages.

The visual clue for a new page is shown in Figure 2-3. In Print Layout view, the page break appears graphically. Text above the ethereal void is on one page, and text below the void is on the next page.


Figure 2-3: The page break in Print Layout view.

In Draft view, the page break appears as a line of dots from left to right across the document. And in other views, the page break may not show up at all. In that case, use the status bar to determine which page you're working on. For example, when the page-number indicator changes from 6 to 7, you’ve started a new page.

·        images You can change the gap between pages in Print Layout view. Point the mouse at the gap. When the mouse pointer changes, as shown in the margin, double-click to either close or open the gap.

·        Don’t force a page break by pressing the Enter key a gazillion times! Instead, see Chapter 13 for information on inserting page breaks in Word.

·        technicalstuff The topic of page breaks brings up the concept of widows and orphans, which refer to a single line of text at the page's top or bottom, respectively. Word automatically moves such text to the next or previous page to prevent widows and orphans from happening.

Working collapsible headers

images You may see a tiny triangle to the left of various headings in your documents, similar to what’s shown in the margin. These triangles allow you to expand or collapse all text in the header’s section. Click once to collapse the text; click again to expand it.

See Chapter 25 for a longer discussion of collapsible headers, as well as information on Word’s outline mode.

Dealing with spots and clutter in the text

There’s no cause for alarm if you see spots — or dots — amid the text you type, such as


What you're seeing are nonprinting characters. Word uses various symbols to represent things you normally don’t see: spaces, tabs, the Enter key, and more. These jots and tittles appear only when you’ve activated the Show/Hide feature.

To use the Show Hide feature, follow these steps:

1.     Click the Home tab.

2.     images In the Paragraph group, click the Show/Hide command button.

The button features a paragraph symbol as its icon, shown in the margin.

To hide the symbols again, click the command button a second time.

·        Why bother with showing the goobers? Sometimes, it's useful to check out what's up with formatting, find stray tabs visually, or locate missing paragraphs, for example.

·        WordPerfect users: The Show/Hide command is as close as you can get to your beloved Reveal Codes command.

·        The keyboard shortcut for the Show/Hide command is Ctrl+Shift+8. Use the 8 on the typewriter area of the keyboard, not the numeric keypad.

Understanding colorful underlines

When Word underlines your text without permission, it’s drawing your attention to something amiss. These special underlines are not text formats. Here are a few of the underlines you may witness from time to time:

·        Red zigzag: Spelling errors in Word are underlined with red zigzags. See Chapter 7.

·        Blue zigzag: Grammatical and word-choice errors are flagged with a blue zigzag underline. Again, see Chapter 7.

·        Blue underlines: Word courteously highlights web page addresses by using blue underlined text in your document. You can Ctrl+click the blue underlined text to visit the web page.

·        Red lines: You may see red lines in the margin, underneath text, or through text. If so, it means that you’re using Word’s Track Changes feature. See Chapter 26.

Beyond these automatic underlines, you can apply the underline format to your text, choosing the type of underline and its color. See Chapter 10.