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Welcome to Software Tips & Tricks continued

Office Index II | Office Index I |                                                    | This site was Updated on  02/28/2006 |

MS Word Tips Index

Using Word to fill in scanned forms:

Of course the most efficient way to do documents is with a good forms program, such as Caere's OmniForm. But you can do the job well enough with Microsoft Word. I'll assume you've installed the required graphics filters for Word and that the form is standard letter size, at 8.5 by 11 inches.

Once you've saved the scanned form to disk, open a new blank document in Word. Choose File | Page Setup, then Paper Size, set the document to the correct orientation--portrait or landscape. Then choose the Margins tab, and set all the margins to the minimum size your printer allows.

If you're not sure what the minimum size is, enter a zero for each margin, and choose OK. Word will then warn you that one or more margins are outside the printable area. Choose Fix and Word will enter minimum margins.

Now choose Insert | Picture | From File to open the Insert Picture dialog box. Select the scanned image, and make sure the Float over text box is checked and the Link to file box is not. Then choose Insert.

At this point you may want to adjust the zoom setting to show the entire page at once. Use either the pull-down Zoom menu on the standard Toolbar or choose View | Zoom and pick Whole page. This is also the point where you should run a quick print test if you have any doubts about the margin settings. Don't worry if Word complains that the margins are outside the printable area. Tell it to continue anyway.

Compare the test printout, the image on-screen, and the original scanned form to see whether the entire form printed out and, if it didn't, whether the problem was in the scan itself or in the margin settings. If the printer cut off any part of the form that shows on-screen, adjust the image size or position.

Now you need to set the image so that you can fill in the form. By default, the wrapping format for an inserted picture is Top & bottom, which means you can enter text before or after the image but not on the same line. You need to reset wrapping to None. There's a trick to getting the None setting to work--at least in the SR-2 upgrade for Word 97, which I used in my tests. If you set the wrapping format to None the text will be hidden by the image. If you first set it to Through, however, and then reset it to None the text will print over the image.

With the form selected, choose Format | Picture. Select the Wrapping tab, choose Through, and then OK. Immediately repeat the process, choosing None as the Wrapping format. Save the file under an appropriate name, like Blank Form.doc.

You can now fill in the form by moving to the body text area of the page. To unselect the form, move the mouse cursor to any place on the page where it changes to its standard shape for selecting text, and click the left mouse button. Switch the zoom setting to a more comfortable size for entering text, and then type as usual.

If you expect to use this form rarely or only once, you can simply type in the text. To adjust the horizontal position for filling in a blank, use spaces and tabs. To adjust the vertical position, end each line with Enter to insert a carriage return, and choose Format | Paragraph, then Indents and Spacing, and set the Spacing Before to define how far down to start the next line. If you expect to reuse the form very often, you'll probably want to take advantage of Word's form fields to define the positions for the blanks to fill in

  " What's the difference in Word between changing the case of a word using the Change Case command and the 'All Caps' option in Format | Font? "

For many versions of Word there's been both a Change Case command and an 'All Caps' formatting option. While both give the same display on the screen and the printed page,
they behave differently.

  'All Caps' is a character formatting option like Bold, Italic, Strikethrough etc. The underlying letters remain unchanged (upper and lower case) but a formatting property
is imposed on top of the basic letter to change their display.

Change Case actually changes the underlying letter. For the techies among you the Unicode or ASCII value for the character is changed.

    All Caps Ctrl + Shift + A
    Small Caps Ctrl + Shift + K

Both these shortcuts are 'toggles' - just press them a second time to reverse what was done

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 " What do all those grayed out sets of the letters at the bottom of the Word screen mean?  I've never seen most of them active. "

If you have the Status Bar visible in Word (Tools | Options | View | Status Bar) then there are some indicators at the bottom of the screen that appear in black letters when
certain features are running.

        REC Macro recording is on.
        MRK/TRK Revision marking / Tracking (depends on the version of Word)
        EXT Extends Selections
        OVR Overtype mode is on
        WPH WordPerfect help mode

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