Getting One-Up on MS Word 2010: Taming the MSWORD Ribbon

Mastering MS Word
Get a grip on the MSWord ribbon

Some writers and authors using Office 2010, or more specifically, MS Word 2010 or 2007, wrangle with the ribbon that replaced file tabs. Mastering Microsoft’s bloated programs is never easy and figuring out functions hidden within the ribbon is puzzling. Here are four easy and essential tips for writers and authors who rely MS Word for wordprocessing their books.

  1. First, know this: The chaotic ribbon menus in Word 2007 are there forever. The user can’t revert to classic menu view. Word’s cacophony can be made somewhat less annoying. Right click in the menu bars at the top of the Word interface and click on Minimize the ribbon. That makes the visible montage of menus disappear. When you want any of those functions, click the tab that contains the function needed and its commands will reappear. To reset the screen to the default, with chaos intact, right-click in the toolbar area again.
  2. Looking in 2010 for the File menu? Click the button at top left with the MS Office logo on it. You’ll find all the File commands in a drop down. At the bottom of that drop down is an Option command — one of the choices is show mini toolbar. Toggle that on and off to control a formatting window. When on, you highlight text to format it and the small window opens above your cursor. It disappears once you’ve applied formatting. No more sifting through menus to find formatting like bold, Italics, font and so forth.  You can also use ctrl button commands to format on the fly. Highlight some text. Hold ctrl and hit I to italicize, B to bold, C to cut, V to paste.
  3. If you’re putting a cut and paste doc together from a lot of other documents matching the font and size is easier than setting a bookmark. When you finish pasting various clips into a single doc, highlight a piece of text of the font and size you wish the document to end up with. Click on the paint brush under the formatting tools. Drag your cursor across all the wrongly formatted text on the page. You’ll see the text change — unselect and it’s formatted the way you wanted it.
  4. If you’re revising a document, the revision controls are in the ribbon under the Review tab. click it, look at the gray words across the bottom of each commands group. Locate Comments (toggle the comment function on or off to make remarks in the margin of the doc you’re editing) or find Tracking and switch on Track Changes. You can also, in that same group, work back and forth between seeing changes displayed in the document and seeing clean copy with all edits in place. Experiment.

These four tips are true time savers and go a long way toward minimizing the aggravation built into MS Word 2007 and 2010. More time saved equals more time to perfect your book and get it published. Let me know in the comments section how this works for you, or tell me your tips for Word.

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