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Create Documents In Microsoft Word

21 November 2006 (updated)

A beginners guide to using Microsoft Word to create documents and work with text and graphics.

Why Use Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word is a word processor which can be used to edit many types of document including letters, essays and webpages. You can type text, choose different sizes, fonts, and colours; you can also insert graphics and add tables and charts.

Getting Started

Open Microsoft Word by clicking on Start > All Programs and selecting Microsoft Word from the list.

Word will open with a blank document. You will see the flashing cursor at the top left corner of the page, ready for you to start typing.

If you hold your mouse over any of the icons in the menu bars or toolbars, you will see a quick description of what those buttons do.

If you can't see any of the toolbars mentioned in this article (mainly the Standard and Formatting toolbars), you may have to instruct Word to show them by clicking View then Toolbars and putting a tick by any toolbars you want to show.

If you can't see any of the buttons mentioned below on your toolbar, look for the More Options button at the edge of the screen. This is the More Options button which will allow you to select which buttons you do or don't want to display.

Using Templates

You can save yourself some time by using some basic Templates and Wizards to help you construct your document.

From the File menu, click New and select the option for Word Templates. You can select from a range of document types including letters, brochures and memos, all laid out ready for you to insert your own text. You can also choose to use Wizards that work by asking you questions about the document you wish to write.

Working With Text

To select a piece of text you have typed, you need to highlight it by holding the left mouse button and dragging your mouse over the words. Alternatively, if you double-click a word, that word is selected, and if you triple-click anywhere on a line, the whole line will be selected.

You can change the look and layout of your selected text using the Formatting toolbar at the top of the screen. Some of the buttons can be pressed on or off, while others have a drop-down menu activated by pressing the Down Arrow button next to them, giving you a choice of options.

You can use the Font bar to select different types of font styles, and the Font Size number bar to make the text smaller or larger.

You can choose to make highlighted text Bold , Italic or Underlined . You can also justify and align the text using the Align buttons .

Use the Bullets buttons to insert numbering or bullet points before the text. You can also indent the text forward or back.

Choose the colour of the text by clicking on the small drop-down arrow by the side of the font color button . If you change the color without highlighting any text first, then any text you have already written will stay the same colour but any text you type now will have this new colour. To change the colour of existing text, highlight it first then click the font button.


Select some text and you can then Cut, Copy and Paste it using the Edit menu or the Cut, Copy and Paste buttons. Select the text, choose Copy then move your cursor to where you want the text to go, then Paste. A copy of the original text will now appear. If you choose Cut instead of Copy the original text will be moved rather than copied.

The Format menu allows you to change things like columns, bullets or numbering.

Click on File then Page Setup to adjust margins, the layout of your page and its orientation (Portrait or Landscape).

You can check the spelling of your text by clicking on the Tools menu and selecting Spelling and Grammar, or by clicking the Spell Check button. You can choose to ignore any words found by the spellchecker, or replace them with an alternative spelling.

From the View menu select Toolbars and you will be able to select which toolbars you want to work with. These are many different menus which provide you with easy access to tools for tasks such as drawing, creating tables and working with pictures.

To undo any mistakes you have made, press the Undo button. If you then want to redo the action you previously did, press the Redo button.

Inserting Graphics

From the Insert menu, select Picture then From File. You can then browse to the location of an image file on your hard drive. When you have selected the one you want, click Insert to place it in your document.

To insert Clip Art into your document click on the Insert menu, Picture then Clip Art. Select the graphic you want from the galleries available and click Insert to place it in your document.

To resize an image, click once to select it then click and drag the handles that appear around the edges of the image. If you use the corner handles the proportions of the image will stay the same as you resize it.

Printing Your Work

You can preview your work to see how it will look when printed. Choose File then Print Preview or click the Print Preview button. To return to the normal view click Close.

You can select your printing options (such as which pages to print and how many copies to make) by clicking on File then Print. To print your work immediately without making any changes to your standard settings, press the Print button.

Saving Your Work

When you want to save your work, choose File then Save As. You will be asked to give your document a name, and should you need to you can also change the filetype from its default setting (Word Document) to save as a text file or Web page instead.

When saving the same document later, you do not have to use Save As each time, instead you can select File then Save, or just click on the Save button.

When You Have Finished

Once your work is saved, you can close the document by clicking on File then Close. You may be asked if you want to save any changes you have made. Click Yes if you have made any changes to your document since the last time you saved it.

To start another document, click on File then New or press the New Blank Document button. To open an existing file such as the one you have just saved, click File then Open or press the Open button. Locate the file you want and click Open.

To exit Word completely, use the X (Close) button at the top-right of the window.

There is a lot more to discover in Word and it is a powerful program. Click the Help menu for more information and tips.

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