Microsoft Word Tips for Authors

Welcome to the next in a series of tips on using Microsoft Word, geared towards authors.
Most Word advice is rather complicated and full of things you’ll never need to know.
I shall do my best to keep it simple, because you’re not stupid… just busy.
Please note: 
– Not all versions of Word are the same, but most are near enough.
– There are different ways of doing the same thing. I shall demonstrate just one (or two).

Your novel becomes a trampoline when you’re editing. You need to be able to see its structure at a glance and quickly jump between chapters and sometimes sections of chapters.

This tip only works if you have defined heading paragraphs as shown in Tip 1.

Press Ctrl/F, which you probably use for searching in the novel.

The window that appears has three tabs: Headings, Pages and Results. Click on Headings. You’ll see all headings in the novel. If you’ve defined sub-headings, these will appear, too, and you can expand and collapse headings using the arrows, as you would for file names in Explorer.

I like to give my chapters names, even if these won’t remain in the final version, because the names show up in that pane on the left. And sometimes I separate a chapter into sections and give them names, too. Just so that I can see the novel’s structure at a glance.

Working with Word

How do you jump to a specific chapter or section in the novel?

Just click on it.

Questions and suggestions for future topics are welcome in the comments below.

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Microsoft Word Tips for Authors

Welcome to the first in a series of tips on using Microsoft Word, geared towards authors.
Most Word advice is rather complicated and full of things you’ll never need to know.
I shall do my best to keep it simple, because you’re not stupid… just busy.
Please note: 
– Not all versions of Word are the same, but most are near enough.
– There are different ways of doing the same thing. I shall demonstrate just one (or two).

You might think this one is a bit complex for a first tip. But I will be mentioning styles in most of the other tips, often along with alternatives, so I had to start by explaining what they are.

If you’ve never used styles, the chances are that everything you write uses the Normal style. The chances are that you just started writing using the font, font size, indentation and spacing that were defined for the Normal style. What did you do when asked to send your file in a different format? You selected the whole document (hopefully you know that Ctrl/A does that) and changed the font and size.

But what if you have headings (chapter headings or short story title)? Changing everything at once changes the headings, too. You might have to go through the novel, changing all the headings back to the way they were.

Instead, you can define the Heading 1 style for your chapter headings and keep the Normal style for the text. Here’s how:

  1. Click the arrow in the bottom right corner of Styles, which is in the Home tab. The Styles box appears.

    Styles Box in Word

    Styles Box

  2. Hover next to Heading 1 and click the arrow that appears.
  3. Choose Modify. The Modify Style window appears.
  4. Click Format (at the bottom) and choose Font.
  5. In the Font window, you can change Font style, Size and other details.
  6. Remember to click OK at the end.

Similarly, you can change the Normal style.

How do you define a chapter heading as Header 1? Here are two possible ways:

  • Click in the header and click Header 1 in Styles.
  • Click in the header and press Shift/Alt/

You can also use the Heading 2 style for sub-headings. Next week, I’ll show you why that might be useful when editing a novel.

Questions and suggestions for future topics are welcome in the comments below.

Microsoft Word Tips for Authors

If you’re an author, you will probably use Word at some stage. Even if you don’t use it to create your novel or story or non-fiction book, you will probably use it when interacting with an editor.

There are plenty of Word tips out there, but these contain so much information that they look too complicated to authors who have limited time for technology and a limited number of things they want to do with Word.

And yet, there are features that would make their Word experience much more pleasant, if only they knew about them.

I’m going to try to make those features clearer by posting a tip once a week on Fridays, starting next week, 5th April. I’ll be using the hashtag #MSWordTipsForAuthors. See you back here.

If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, that’s what comments are for.

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