Speed Your Formatting by Painting It

SAN FRANCISCO (05/01/2000) - One overlooked feature in Microsoft Corp. Word and Corel Corp. WordPerfect lets you copy the formatting (fonts, colors, boldface, and so on) of a selected area of text and apply it to other parts of the document. Word calls this feature Format Painter, while WordPerfect calls it QuickFormat. Whatever the name, it's a great way to save time when formatting a document. Here's how to use it:

Word 97 and 2000: Select a block of text formatted with the attributes you want to copy elsewhere. If you have no suitably formatted text, select and format some. Click the Format Painter icon on the toolbar--it looks like a paintbrush.

(To apply the copied format to more than one block of text, double-click the icon.) Then drag the paintbrush over the text you want to format. Format Painter will also copy Paragraph formatting (such as indentation and line spacing). Alternatively, you can use any keyboard or other text-selection technique. If you double-clicked the Format Painter icon initially, click it again or press to turn the feature off.

WordPerfect 8 and 9: To copy text formatting but not paragraph formatting, select a block of preformatted text. To copy the paragraph formatting, click anywhere in the paragraph. Click the QuickFormat icon on the toolbar--it looks like a paint roller. Then select a format option in the QuickFormat dialog box.

WordPerfect will automatically choose the correct format option for the kind of text that you selected, but you can change it to another text format if you want to. Click OK.

QuickFormat can also copy the formatting used in tables. If you are working in a table, the options will appear in a dialog box. Drag the paint roller over the text you want to format if you're copying text attributes, or click in a new paragraph to copy paragraph formatting. Again, you can use any keyboard or other selection method to apply the formatting. When you finish, click the QuickFormat icon to turn the feature off.

Create Instant Horizontals

Many web sites use horizontal lines in documents. These lines quickly and effectively separate sections and highlight important points. You might expect creating horizontal lines in a Word or WordPerfect document to be a daunting task, but it's not. Both programs offer quick shortcuts for creating various horizontal lines in your documents. Here's a short and simple guide:

Word 98 and 2000: Word's AutoFormat As You Type feature lets you create either plain or fancy horizontal lines in seconds. First type a particular character on a blank line three times and press .

To adjust the width of any line created in this way, position the cursor just above the line, and drag the margin markers on the ruler to new positions.

If this technique doesn't work when you try it, you need to turn the feature on. Select Tools*AutoCorrect and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab in the AutoCorrect dialog box. Click Borders to mark the check box and then click OK. Note that these instant lines can only serve as full-width horizontal lines; you can't incorporate text or other characters into the line.

To delete the lines, select Format*Borders and Shading and click the None box.

WordPerfect 8 and 9: WordPerfect's Format-As-You-Go feature offers a more limited set of instant horizontal lines than Word's AutoFormat As You Type. In WordPerfect 8 or 9, type four hyphens or four equal signs and press .

If you try this technique and it doesn't work, you need to activate the feature. To do this, select Tools*QuickCorrect and click the Format-As-You-Go tab in the QuickCorrect dialog box. Click the QuickLines check box in the Format-As-You-Go list to enable the feature; then click OK.

You can create a thicker line in the same location simply by repeating the process that you used to create the original thin single line; do this immediately after you press to generate the first line. Repeating the process after creating a double line produces a triple line with a heavier centerline.

Justify the Last Line of a Paragraph

When you're working with justified text (lines of text that are stretched until they're flush with both margins), you'll sometimes need to justify an entire paragraph, including its last, short line. In Word 98 and 2000, you can achieve this effect by pressing - at the end of an already justified paragraph (which creates a new line), rather than (which begins a new paragraph). In WordPerfect 8 and 9, clicking the Justify All icon on the Formatting toolbar has the same effect. Use this technique sparingly, however, and only when the line almost reaches the right-hand margin on its own.

Otherwise, you'll create huge gaps between words on the last line.

Open Multiple Documents

To open more than one document in Word 97 or 2000 or WordPerfect 8 or 9, you don't need to select File*Open for each file you want. Instead, select File*Open, and hold down while clicking each document you want to open.

After you select the documents for your work session, click Open to open them simultaneously.

Indent Both Sides

The generally accepted standard for formatting blocks of quoted text in a document is to left- and right-indent each block. This format is used in academic documents and general publishing. Versions 8 and 9 of WordPerfect make this formatting easy to apply. Place the cursor at the beginning of a paragraph or select one or more paragraphs, and press --. Your quotation will be perfectly indented.

Word 97 and 2000, on the other hand, require you to take a trip either to the Paragraph dialog box to increase left and right indentation or to the ruler to drag the indentation marks. There's no keyboard shortcut. Buried deep within the styles included in the normal.dot template, however, is the hidden paragraph style you needed. Here's how to find and apply the style:

Click inside the paragraph you want left- and right-indented, or select multiple paragraphs. Hold down and click the arrow next to the 'Style name' field on the formatting toolbar. You'll get a list of all available styles, not just the most common ones. Scroll down the style list and select Block Text. This will format your extract properly, in the same font as your Normal style. Once you've used a new style in a document, it will appear in the regular style list and will be available for use elsewhere in the document.

If you use this formatting often, record the steps as a macro and assign the macro a toolbar icon for easier access. See Word's help system for instructions.

Protect Docs from Changes

Both word 97 and Word 2000 offer a way to prevent others from changing the contents of your documents, while letting them open the document freely without a password. Alas, Microsoft's description is so obscure that you might never find this method. Follow these steps after your document is in its final form:

1. Select Tools*Protect Document.

2. Select Forms in the Protect Document dialog box.

3. Type a password of your choice in the Password field and click OK.

4. Type the password again in the Confirm Password dialog box and click OK.

If you need to remove the protection for editing, open the document, select Tools*Unprotect Document, enter the password when prompted, and then click OK.

Send your questions and tips to george_campbell@pcworld.com. We pay $50 for published items. George Campbell is a PC World contributing editor. Reach him on his Web page at www.osomin.com.

Unformat All in Word

Sometimes a document gets overformatted. Whether you did it yourself or you're working with someone else's doc, getting rid of all formatting and starting fresh may be the best course. In Word 98 and 2000, this takes only four steps, which you can record as a macro for future use: Press -A to select the entire document. Press --N to apply the Normal style to the document. Press - to remove all manual character formatting. Press -Q to remove all paragraph formatting.

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