Take Your Customized Word Processor with You

You can find additional word processing tips at www.pcworld.com/heres_how.com. We welcome your questions and tips and pay $50 for published items. George Campbell (george_campbell@pcworld.com) is a contributing editor for PC World. Visit his Web page at www.osomin.com.

If you're like most users of Microsoft Word or WordPerfect, you've personalized your copy of the program with fonts, format styles, toolbars, and macros to suit your own work needs. So it can be quite disconcerting when you have to work on someone else's PC and use their customized setup. Why not take your preferences, styles and all, with you when you travel or work temporarily at another computer? It's easy, since all that customizing is stored in a single file--your program's default template.

The technique I describe here preserves your personal preferences, but won't rudely change someone else's favorite options. And as a bonus, you can use your portable preference disk as a backup. If your PC crashes and requires hard disk reformatting and reinstallation of your favorite programs, you can instantly restore your word processing preferences.

Set up a portable preference disk: Insert a blank, formatted floppy disk in drive A. Then from the Windows Desktop, select Start*Find*Files or Folders. For Word, type normal.dot in the Named field of the Find dialog box. For WordPerfect 8, you'd type wp8us.wpt. Click Find Now. (Note: If you use a different version of WordPerfect, substitute the version number in the file name.) Once the file appears, double-click first the My Computer icon, then your floppy disk's icon. Drag the file from the Find dialog box to the floppy disk's window. In the disk's window, right-click on the file, and select Rename. Then type in a new name, such as myword.dot or mywp.wpt, and press . Remember to label the floppy so you can identify it as your portable version of the program.

Use the portable preference disk: Insert your disk into the floppy drive of the computer you're "visiting." Double-click on the My Computer icon, then the floppy drive icon. Next, drag your customized template file onto the desktop and drop it there. To run the program with your customized template, just double-click the template icon on the desktop.

When you have finished using the computer, click the template file icon on the desktop once, press , and then confirm the deletion.

Restore the custom template after a crash: After reinstalling your word processor, determine the location of the default template file. In Word, select Tools*Options and look under the File Locations tab. In WordPerfect 8, select Tools*Settings, double-click the Files icon, then look under the Templates tab.

Note the name of the default template and the directory where it's stored.

Using the Windows Explorer, locate and delete the default template file. Copy your customized template file from the disk to the directory that you noted, then rename your copy to match the default template name.

Set Up Alternating Margins

Creating the page setup for a document that will be printed on both sides and bound like a book can be tricky. You'll need to set unequal left and right margins to allow for binding dimensions, then alternate the margins on odd and even numbered pages. It's easy to do, but can be confusing for many users.

Word 7 through 2000: Select Print*Page Setup. Set left and right margins as desired for odd pages. Choose Whole Document from the 'Apply to' list. Select Mirror margins, and click OK.

WordPerfect 8: Select Format*Page*Page Setup. Under the Page Margins tab, set equal left and right margins, even though you'll want uneven margins for binding. Under the Two-Sided Settings tab, select Flip on long edge for book-style binding. Select Inside margin, and change the 'Margin to adjust for binding' measurement to add the required margin space for your binding method.

Click OK.

Get The Hang Of Hanging Indents

Hanging indents, where second and subsequent lines of a paragraph are indented, are a popular form of paragraph formatting, particularly for resumes, lists, and other kinds of slick-looking documents. Although this format is easy to create, there's more to it than you might immediately be aware of. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of it.

Word 7 through 2000:

* To format one or more paragraphs with a hanging indent, just place the cursor in the paragraph, or select multiple paragraphs, and then press -T.

* To increase the amount of indentation, Press -T again. Each time you do this, the indent will increase by one tab stop.

* To reduce the amount of paragraph indentation, or to remove just a single hanging indent, press --T.

* To adjust the amount of indentation with your mouse, click and drag the tab marker on Word's ruler that corresponds with the indentation. Hint: Holding down while you do this will allow you to see the actual measurement in Word's ruler.

* For more precise control of hanging indents, select Format*Paragraph, choose Hanging in the 'Special' drop-down list, and then set your desired amount of indentation in the 'By' field.

* Since bulleted and numbered lists use hanging indent formatting, these tips apply to those kinds of paragraphs as well, but note that indentation changes will apply only to second and subsequent lines of each item.

WordPerfect 8:

* To format a paragraph or paragraphs with a hanging indent, place the cursor at the beginning of the paragraph or select multiple paragraphs, then press - (or select Format*Paragraph*Hanging Indent). Hint: Since this type of formatting does not carry forward to the next paragraph when you press , save some valuable time by first formatting all paragraphs that require a hanging indent.

* Alternately, simply position your cursor at the beginning of the second line, or any subsequent line, and press .

* To remove a hanging indent from a paragraph, position the cursor at the beginning of the second line of the paragraph and press .

* To adjust indentation using the mouse for a single paragraph or multiple selected paragraphs, click and drag the first tab marker on the ruler to a new position. Hold down as you do so to view the exact measurement on WordPerfect's ruler.

Fix Caps Lock Errors

You're typing away with your head down, and then you look at the screen and see that you have accidentally hit the key, so all your text is now in the wrong case. Although Word normally fixes case errors automatically, many users turn off this "autocorrect" feature. You could go back and retype the selection, but that's a waste of time. To fix the problem fast in Word 6 through 2000, select all the text with the wrong capitalization and then press up to three times to cycle through the various case change options (initial caps, all lower case, and so on). Alternately, you can select Format*Change Case, choose tOGGLE cASE in the Change Case dialog box, and confirm it by clicking OK. Hint: Want to solve the problem forever? Select Tools*AutoCorrect, and mark Correct accidental usage of cAPS LOCK key under the AutoCorrect tab, then click OK.

WordPerfect 8: By default, WordPerfect 8 will automatically correct Caps Lock errors as you type them. But if, for some reason, WordPerfect stops doing this for you, select Tools*QuickCorrect, and under the Format-As-You-Go tab, mark the CapsFix option to correct the problem.

Print Colored Text As Black

Because of the growing popularity of color printers, many Word users are adding colored text to their documents. That's great, but when you have to print such a document on a black and white printer, some colors show up too light to read.

Fortunately, Word offers a little-known way to print all colored text as pure black. To turn on this feature in Word 7, 97, and 2000, select Tools*Options, then click the Compatibility tab. Scroll down in the Options list and select Print colors as black on noncolor printers. Click OK.

This setting normally applies only to the current document. If you want to make it the default in Word, click Default on the Compatibility tab after setting the Compatibility option, then confirm.

Fix Bizarre Tab Behavior in WordPerfect 8If you've noticed some odd formatting behavior in WordPerfect 8 when you press inside a paragraph, you're not alone. The program's QuickIndent feature is trying to set up its own default indentation. If that's not what you want, turn this feature off by selecting Tools*QuickCorrect. Under the Format-As-You-Go tab, clear the QuickIndent check box and click OK. The key will then revert to its normal operation.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

More about Microsoft

Show Comments