Microsoft Word Has Some Great Features

By Kenny Williams

I was struggling with coming up with a topic for this week when I was hit with a good idea. I use Microsoft Word each week to write this column and have never mentioned the usefulness of some of its great features. Word is a powerful application that is designed to fulfill a variety of general user demands. With a few adjustments, you can tailor Word to meet your word-processing desires. I presently use Word 2000 and this is what I will refer to in this column. Some features will work in earlier versions, but you may not see all of the options I mention.

I have dealt with my computer crashing after hours of work writing something. To have to have lost that work would have been a shame; fortunately I did not loose it.  To prevent the possibility of losing your data files, Word gives you several means of recovery. First, use the Options dialog box by clicking Tools>Options. To save your data on a different hard drive from Word and Windows themselves; if the main Windows drive dies, youíll have your data (if you donít have a second drive, buy one if you want the best possible chance of avoiding disaster). Click the File Locations tab, click the Documents line and the Modify tab, and navigate to the second drive and create a folder for your data. While youíre in the Options dialog box, click the Save tab. Put a check the boxes for Always Create Backup Copy and Allow Background Saves; for security reasons, remove the check from the Allow Fast Saves box because word saves some deleted data in files when using Fast Saves. Finally, check the Save Auto Recovery Info box and change the minutes to 1. This way, Word automatically saves your data every minute. If Word crashes, itíll relaunch with a recovered file thatís a maximum of one minute out of date.

Word offers another cool feature for those that are not spelling aces. Word can automatically correct your typos as you write, but AutoCorrect doesnít always perform perfectly. You can tailor it by calling up the AutoCorrect Options dialog box by clicking Tools>AutoCorrect. You can tell Word to stop automatically capitalizing the first letter of sentences or table cells. More importantly, you can stop Word from changing a parenthesized letter C to a copyright sign or a parenthesized letter R to a registered trademark sign, by selecting the item in the Replace/With table at the bottom of the dialog box and either deleting or changing the trigger. You can even add your own entries. For example, Word can change a capital W to automatically write "The WebServer Column."

If you need an accented French, Greek or Russian letter you can use a symbol from the Symbol dialog box (click Insert). Unlike many dialog boxes, you can leave the Symbol dialog box open while you type, letting you easily choose from the list, as you need it. If you need a symbol repeatedly, assign it a shortcut key. Click the symbol you want and click the Shortcut Key button. In the Press New Shortcut Key field, perform the keystroke you want to assign to the symbol (such ALT-E). Word will tell you, below the field, what command is currently assigned to that shortcut key, but if you donít need the default combination, click Assign to change it or choose another combination until you find one that works. From now on, when you need that symbol, type the key combination.

If you would like to read up on more tips for Microsoft Word go to and read up on the tips and tricks section.

If you are interested in computer lessons or have any questions, comments, suggestions please feel free to e-mail me at

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