The Future Is Here: Self-Typing Text

SAN FRANCISCO (05/26/2000) - We all type the same things over and over in the course of our work. Whether it's a signature block in a letter or a piece of boilerplate text, there's no reason to type a recurrent set of words or paragraphs. By using the automated text-entry systems in Microsoft Corp.'s Word 97 and 2000 and in WordPerfect 8 and 9, you can reduce duplicated effort and speed up your work. You can insert formatted text quickly by selecting an entry from a list or by typing an abbreviation and pressing a key. Here's how to latch on to these valuable tools.

Word 97 and 2000

To insert a ready-to-use AutoText entry (Word offers dozens of them), right-click any available space on a Word toolbar or on its menu bar, and select AutoText from the list of available toolbars. Place your cursor at the desired insertion point, click All Entries on the AutoText toolbar, point at a category, and select the entry you want. Or select Insert*AutoText, point at a category, and select the entry to insert it.

* To preview all the existing AutoTexts, select Insert*AutoText*AutoText.

* To create a new AutoText entry, type the text you want to use, and then select it. This text can be as short as a single word or as long as several paragraphs. AutoText entries store all the formatting that was present in the original text. Next click New on the AutoText toolbar, press Alt-F3, or select Insert*AutoText*New. In the Create AutoText dialog box, type a shortcut word for your new entry and click OK. Hint: Choose a name that's easy to remember but isn't a real word you'd otherwise use. For example, if you're creating an AutoText entry for a liability disclaimer in a contract, name it something like LiabilityDisclaimer. Your new AutoText entries will be found in the AutoText list's somewhat enigmatically named Normal category.

* To create AutoText entries for graphics, Word fields, WordArt objects, or any other object that Word supports, just select the object and follow the instructions listed in the previous tip. This feature lets you store logos, tables, charts, and other items for quick recall.

* To delete an existing AutoText entry, select Insert*AutoText*AutoText, click the entry, and then click Delete and OK.

* To arrange to have Word suggest AutoText automatically while you are typing an entry's shortcut name, select Insert*AutoText*AutoText, click Show AutoComplete tip, and click OK. The entry name will appear as a yellow tool tip above the current line as you type. To insert the entry at any point during typing, press Enter.

* To insert an AutoText entry manually, just type its name and press F3.

Wordperfect 8 and 9

To insert an existing QuickWords entry at the current cursor location, type the entry's shortcut word and then press Space or Enter. To select an existing entry from a list, select Tools*QuickWords. Select the desired entry from the Abbreviated form list in the QuickCorrect dialog box, and click Insert in text.

* To create a new QuickWords entry, type the text you want to use. Its length can range from a single word up to multiple paragraphs, and the entry can include character and paragraph formatting. Select the text and then select Tools*QuickWords. Type a name for your new entry in the Abbreviated form box, avoiding real words. For example, use FormalClose as an abbreviation for a formal signature block in a letter, or use a real word but type a punctuation character such as & in front of it. Finish by clicking Add Entry.

* In WordPerfect 9, you can create QuickWords shortcuts for graphical objects such as logos, TextArt objects, and charts. Select the object, select Tools*QuickWords, type a name for the entry in the Abbreviated form box, and click Add Entry.

* To delete an existing QuickWords entry, select Tools*QuickWords, click on the entry in the Abbreviated form list, and then click Delete Entry.

* To rename an existing QuickWords entry, select Tools*QuickWords, click on the entry, and click Options. Type a new name for the entry in the Rename QuickWord dialog box, and click OK.

* If WordPerfect does not insert your QuickWords entries when you type them, press Space or Enter, select Tools*QuickWords, click Expand QuickWords, and then click OK.

Splitting Lines of Text

Occasionally you may need to divide a line of text so that part of the line is flush with the left margin and part with the right margin. For example, in a section heading, you might put a chapter title on the left, and the section title on the right. Similarly, it's common to split a line of text this way in headers and footers. The trouble is, your program's Help files don't tell you how to do this. Here's the technique, for Word 97 and 2000, as well as for WordPerfect 8 and 9.

Word 97 and 2000: Put the cursor on the line whose formatting you want to alter. To set the right-aligned tab, click the small box at the left of the ruler until the symbol in the box looks like a backward letter L. Click on the ruler near the right margin, and then drag the newly inserted tab to the right as far as you can. Type the left part of the text on the line. Press Tab and type the right part of the text, which will automatically align with the right margin. If the text already exists on the line, position the cursor where you want to split the line, and press Tab.

Note: If you expect to use this alignment often, create a style for it. Select the paragraph by clicking in the left margin of a line formatted as described above. Select Format*Style and click New in the Style dialog box. Type a name such as SplitLine in the Name box of the New Style dialog box; then click Add to Template and OK. Click Close in the Style dialog box. Now you can use this style to create divided lines any time you want.

WordPerfect 8 and 9: Type the text you want to left-align. Press Alt-F7 or select Format*Line*Flush Left.

Type the right-aligned portion of the text. If the text already exists on the line, simply place the cursor at the location where you want the split to occur, and then either press Alt-F7 or select Format*Line*Flush Right.

Instant Heading Styles

If you adopt Word's standard heading styles for titles and subheadings in your documents, you can use a quick keyboard shortcut to apply those styles instantly. With the insertion point in the text you want to format as a heading, press Alt-Ctrl-1 for Heading 1 style, Alt-Ctrl-2 for Heading 2 style, or Alt-Ctrl-3 for Heading 3 style. Want to preview what the headings look like?

Click the down arrow of the Style bar to the right of the font bar.

Quick Full Menus in Word 2000

To display full menus in Word 2000 (or in any other Office 2000 application that uses expanding menus), just double-click the menu item instead of clicking once. If you want full-menu display to be the default mode, select Tools*Customize, click the Options tab, and then click next to 'Menus show recently used commands first'.

Create a Personalized Toolbar

You can rearrange toolbars in Word 97 and 2000 by moving icons from one toolbar to another or by adding new icons, but the resulting altered toolbars can be confusing, especially in situations where several users share a single PC.

Instead, create a personalized toolbar with the icons you use regularly.

Select Tools*Customize, and click the Toolbars tab in the Customize dialog box.

Click New. In the New Toolbar dialog box, type a name for your custom toolbar (for example, MyBar). Click OK. The new toolbar will be in the template and will be available in all documents.

Drag the new toolbar next to an existing toolbar, and then drag it down and to the left to create an entirely new toolbar row. Display other toolbars as the need arises, clicking and dragging icons and other features from them to your new toolbar. If you discover that you need commands or icons that are not available on any existing toolbars, click the Commands tab in the Customize dialog box, find the commands you want, and drag them to your new toolbar.

Click Close in the Customize dialog box, right-click any toolbar, and disable unneeded toolbars. Select All Commands in the Categories list to see a list of all available Word commands.

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

Move Toolbar Icons

If you've ever wished that you could move a favorite icon from one toolbar to another, your wish can come true. Make both toolbars visible and select Tools*Customize. If a toolbar isn't visible, right-click any toolbar or the menu bar and click the one you need in the context menu. Click and drag the icon to a new location. Then click Close in the Customize dialog box.

Remember: The menu bar is also a toolbar, so you can also display your favorite icons in the empty space on the menu bar.

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