Taking Control of Microsoft® Word

EBSTC November Program Recap

At the November 5 dinner meeting, EBSTC members learned priceless tips to improve access to our favorite power tools and disable the worst Microsoft® Word annoyances in the featured presentation, Taking Control of MS Word.

Hilary Powers, author of Making Word Work for You: An Editor’s Intro to the Tool of the Trade and its successor, Making Word 2010 Work for You started by describing Word 2010 out-of-the-box as Microsoft’s version of a simple hammer. They configured it with unwanted automations and dozens of tabs, commands and options hidden away so as not to overwhelm the majority of users who “just want to get it done.” Those of us who know it’s actually a vast multi-tool must deal with finding favorite features and undoing Word’s “helpful” autocorrects.

After a lively networking session over dinner, a small group watched with rapt attention as Hilary gave a tour of her personal Word setup. She showed how to relocate and customize the Quick Access Toolbar with commands and buttons (including your own macros). She revealed how a simple right click on the status bar at the bottom of the application window opens a menu of available document information to display there. Using memorized keyboard shortcuts, she accessed important dialog boxes, such as the AutoCorrect Options where multiple tabs dictate how Word responds to what you type. These are all customizable!

Mouse use can be significantly reduced through a macro, which should be a healthy goal for all Word users. Hilary demonstrated how to record one and add a button for it on the Quick Access Toolbar to turn off Track Formatting Changes with just one click. Hallelujah!

Attendees received a handout with the code for unrecordable macros that can be typed directly into Visual Basic: 1) to temporarily turn off Track Changes, delete selection and turn on Track Changes; 2) a one-click paste command that strips source formatting; and 3) a one-click command to display the reviewer comments pane.

It was tempting to continue this fascinating demo and discussion late into the evening, but all good things must end. As solace, several folks went home happily clutching a copy of Hilary’s Making Word 2010 Work for You.