Like many of you, I use Microsoft Word. A lot. And while Word is a great tool, it can also be a bit infuriating.
There are times when I still wish I could just pull down a command from the old Word 2003 menu bar, but alas, the Ribbon (first introduced with Word 2007) is what we work with now. Mostly, it is OK, but here are ways to make the Ribbon, and Word in general, work better for you:
1. The Ribbon: Maybe you don’t need all of those Ribbon commands at the ready all of the time. There are three ways to get rid of it:
- At the very top, next to the Windows Button, is a set of commands. This is called the “quick access toolbar.” On it, you can quickly click a link that says “minimize the ribbon” and presto! It disappears.
- Below that are the Word tabs: “Home, Insert, Page Layout, etc.” Double click the tab you are in and the Ribbon disappears.
- Press Ctrl + F1.
2. The Quick Access Toolbar: Customizing this toolbar can do more towards making your work with Word easier than almost anything else. Customizing this toolbar allows you to immediately click the command you need, no matter where you are in the document or Ribbon. We are talking about commands like bold, undo, new document, that sort of thing.
To add the tools you use most often, simply click on the down arrow to the right of the quick access toolbar, scroll down and click on “More Commands.” The default option there allows you to then add “popular” commands like font, save and so on to this toolbar.
But to really make the quick access toolbar your own, pull down from where it says “popular” on the left and click on “all commands.” Then you can add any command that you use often. Ones I find really useful are save, undo, redo, new, print, select all, word count and spell check.
3. Changing default settings: Changing the default settings in Word can save you a lot of time since, when you open up a new document, it looks like you want and is ready to go.
Here’s how to change the main default settings:
Default font: As you will recall, Times New Roman was the default font in Word for many years, but that changed to Calibri with Word 07. Personally, I like the less formal look of Calibri, but you may want something different. If so:
- Click on the Home tab and then click the little arrow on the bottom right of the Font section.
- Click your desired font, style, and point size, and click “default” on the bottom left.
Default save location: The default location to save new documents starting with Word 2007 is the Documents folder. If you want them saved someplace else, then:
- Click the Office Word button on the top left and then click the Word Options button in the bottom middle of the window.
- Click advanced (on the left), and scroll to the very bottom where you see a button that says File Locations. Highlight “Documents” and click Modify.
- Then use the drop down menu to choose where you want to save documents.
Default line spacing: The default line spacing in Word 2003 was single space with no space between new paragraphs. In Word 2007, it is 1.15 with a 10 point default spacing. The difference is this:
If you want to revert back to the Word 2003 style, then:
- Look at the Styles section under the Home tab and locate the large AA that says “Change Styles.”
- Click that, and then click Styles Set.
- Then click Word 2003.
4. To view or not view the Ruler: The ruler is good for indenting. To see it or eliminate it, go to the View tab and click the little ruler icon on the far right of the page, just below where it says Macros.
5. Other: To customize Word even more, click on the Word Button, and then click the button on the bottom right that says “Word Options.” Then click “advanced” on the left and a host of choices become available.
With a little customization, you should find that using Word is a much better writing experience.
(Thanks to Karlonia.com for some of the great tips found in this article)