Five Awesome Word 2007 Features for Writers

Writing

I have this wonderful love-hate relationship with Word 2007. Sometimes it’s a 12 year old screaming over voice chat about how bad he “pwned” you at whatever First Person Shooter (FPS) is all the rage these days. Sometimes it’s a yummy low-sugar non-dairy smoothie from Emerald City Smoothie (guess where I’m going for lunch today!)

But one thing remains certain:  Word 2007 isn’t is useless.

Today, Dahnya has decided she’s tired of flashing doom-and-gloom posts about goals and obligations, and is instead going to treat you to her top five Word 2007 features for writers.

Let’s begin.

Number Five: The Quick Access Toolbar

I love Word 2007’s ribbon. While I don’t think it is quite as user-friendly as it can be, it is much more friendly than the awkward menus that Word is so used to having. Getting used to the ribbon was hard, but now I can’t live without it.

One of the best features of the ribbon is the Quick Access Toolbar. I’ve moved by toolbar under the ribbon (something you can do by accessing the options) and I’ve added in a bunch of shortcuts that I sometimes can’t be bothered with searching elsewhere for.

Items you can find on my Quick Access Toolbar: Save, Print Preview, Edit Header, Edit Footer, Track Changes, Accept Change, Reject Change, the Page Break/Section Break Menu, Insert Picture, Spell Check, Undo and Redo.

Even though I know the short cuts for many of these, sometimes it is really nice to have them front and center (well, off center. But still.) If I go to use someone else’s computer, I always try to edit their Quick Access Toolbar!

The menu for editing your Quick Access Toolbar can be found by clicking the dropdown arrow to the right of the toolbar and selecting “more commands.”

Number Four: The Visual Styles Menu

I don’t know how many writers use styles. I cannot live without them. If I know a certain agent or publication wants things a certain way, I will set up a named style just for them to save time when re-submitting.

While I won’t get into creating a style today (but I can and will later!), I will say that the visual styles menu is amazing. To access it, click on the small box to the bottom right of the styles section of the ribbon. when the menu pops up, check the box that reads “Show Preview.” You will never be want for trying to figure out what font style you are supposed to use for “Agent X” or “Magazine Y” again!

Number Three: The Developer Tab

Oh, Microsoft.

Hiding the Developer Tab from the average user was such a smart idea. Not everyone needs to know about macros or changing the basic template for a document.

I applaud you.

But you have to understand that not all advanced users are mind readers. They don’t like using your help files (because, to be honest, who does?) Calling the mixed-bag features such as templates, macros, and XML editing “Developer Tools” really wasn’t very clear.

If you’ve missed these features and don’t know where to find them, look under Word Options (hidden under the Microsoft Office symbol menu). It’s listed in the Popular options.

Number Two: The Advanced Cut, Copy, and Paste Options

My two favorite features in Word 2007 can both be found under the Word Options (hidden under the Microsoft Office symbol menu, again) in the tab called “Advanced.”

The defaults for the Advanced Cut, Copy, and Paste Options are so screwy, and this is one of the first things I change when setting up Word 2007.  Specifically, I change the “Pasting from other Programs” and “Pasting Between Documents when Style Definitions Conflict” to Match Destination Formatting (huge help) and Keep Source Formatting, respectively.

The ability to change how to program looks at pasting with formatting is wonderful. It saves me so many nightmares to change these options.

Sometimes it doesn’t work (remember, Word can be very fickle for no reason), but when it does, you’ll be really happy you switched your settings.

Number One: The Advanced Show Document Content Options

Again, you can find this under Advanced Word Options.

My number one favorite thing about Word 2007 is a tiny button that almost no one knows about.

Under the “Show Document Content” section of the Advanced settings, there is a tiny checkbox that is not checked by default.

Turn on “Show Text Boundaries” and suddenly everything becomes so much better. You can see your margins!

Okay, so, granted, this might not be a big thing to people. But it drives me nuts to see a blank page with no margin boundaries. It’s like looking at a fresh sheet of printer paper, instead of crisp notebook paper.

Changing this setting helps so much with things like lining up text and formatting entire sections. It also makes mirrored margins really easy to navigate.

Again, this might just be me… but if not, show Dahnya some love. It would be great to know I’m not the only kooky writer hanging around.

Anyone have any favorite features to add to the list? Alternatively, do you use a program other than Word – and if so, why?

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One thought on “Five Awesome Word 2007 Features for Writers

  1. Pingback: Tools for Writers Part 1 | Annie Neugebauer

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