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Microsoft Word 97/98 Vol. IV

MsOffice Index 1
| MsOffice Index 1I | Microsoft Mac Office 8.0 | Microsoft PowerPoint 97 | Microsoft Office XP | Microsoft Bug of the Month | Microsoft Macro Virus from MacOffice |      Updated 09/09/03

Page Index

  1. Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts
  3. What About pasting Formatted Text?
  6. Edit a Form Saved as a Word Template
  8. Be Sure Borders Print
  10. Word Can't Count? Teach it!
  13. Add Borders


You no doubt know about the mysterious ShowAll icon - the button on Word's toolbar that looks like a backwards "P". If you click the ShowAll button, Word starts showing you invisible bits and pieces that sit inside your Word documents. Two of those invisible characters - paragraph marks and tab marks - hold vital information about how your document looks. Pressing the ShowAll button also makes Word display an ugly dot in the middle of all the blank spaces in your document - an effect that's both distracting and senseless. Because of all the ugly dots, most people who press ShowAll once never make that mistake again.

I'll show you how to take control over the ShowAll button, and make it work in a way that you can use, every day.

Here's what's happening underneath the covers. Pressing the ShowAll button checks or unchecks a box buried inside Word. To see the checkbox, click Tools | Options | View, and check or uncheck the box marked "Show All". Try clicking on the ShowAll button, looking at the checkbox, going back out and clicking on the ShowAll button again. You'll see what I mean.

It's ugly. Most people want the ShowAll button to check and uncheck the boxes marked "Paragraph marks" and "Tab characters". Most folks don't want to "Show spaces" - and that blasted "Show all" checkbox shows spaces as ugly dots.

Word's aberrant ShowAll behavior can be tamed with a quick and easy macro. Even if you've never written a macro before, you'll be able to whip this out in 10 minutes or less.

Here's how.

Click Tools | Macro | Macros. In the box marked Macro Name, type ShowAll. Click Create. Word will show you the program that it's currently running whenever you click the ShowAll button. The program, er, Visual Basic macro looks like this:

Sub ShowAll()
  ' ShowAll Macro
  ' Shows/hides all nonprinting characters
  ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowAll = Not

  End Sub

(Note that the line starting "ActiveWindow" is just one line)

The top and bottom parts of the macro tell Word that it has a program that should be run when the ShowAll button is pressed. The three lines that start with quotes are comments - they don't do anything, they're just there for your enlightenment.

All of the work in the program takes place on the line that starts ActiveWindow. That line performs what programmers call a toggle: if the ShowAll setting is True (which is to say, if the "Show all" checkbox is checked), the program turns it False (and thus unchecks the box). If ShowAll is False, it's turned to True.

You want to go into the macro and change it so it looks like this:

  Sub ShowAll()
      ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowAll = False
      ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowSpaces = False
      ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowParagraphs = Not ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowParagraphs
      ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowTabs = ActiveWindow.ActivePane.View.ShowParagraphs
  End Sub

This improved ShowAll turns off "Show all" and "Show spaces", toggles the "Show paragraphs"setting, and makes "Show tabs" follow suit.

Test the program by clicking the ShowAll button. When you're done, shut down Word normally. From that point on, the ShowAll button will work the way you want. If you mess something up terribly, click Tools | Macro | Macros, choose ShowAll, and click Delete. Word will go back to working the way it used to - ugly dots and all.

Thanks to Justin Leonhard and Guy Wells for help with the macro.

Note: This macros and text brought to you curtesy of Woody Leonhard, Justin Leonhard and Guy Wells, of Woody's Office Watch for mear Mortals (WOWMM).

Want more? Check out Woody's Watches here.

There's a reason why I wail and moan about Microsoft's lack of support for Office macro programmers.In Woody Leonhard's book, "The Hacker's Guide to Word for Windows", with Vince Chen and Scott Krueger - contained more than 800 pages detailing bugs in the Word macro language. Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration. Let's call it 750 pages of bugs, and 50 pages of narrative.

Ten years later, many of those bugs are still roaming around. They may be gussied up a bit, but they still bite.

I'm forever appalled at the new bugs people find, every day. Woody says that Roemer Lievaart came up with one that leaves him shaking his head. Try it. You'll be amazed, too. Here's how:

Create a document in Word 97, 2000, or 2002. The bug's been around that long. Put a footnote in the document. Start Visual Basic for Applications (the easy way is to hit Alt+F11). Bring up the "Immediate Window" by clicking
View | Immediate Window. That'll let you run a command by simply typing it.

In your Word document, click some place inside the main part of the document - doesn't matter where, or how much text you select. Flip over to VBA and in the Immediate Window, type

? Selection.ShapeRange.Count

That just tells Word to count the number of shapes in the selection. You'll probably get back a zero. Great. Now flip over to the document, type a few characters somewhere (to make the document "dirty"), click inside a footnote, and run the same command in the Immediate Window. You get a zero again, right?

Well... yes you do... except from this point on the document is totally trashed. Try saving it. Word will take you through the steps, but the document won't be saved. Try exiting Word. No matter what you do, that document is completely hosed.

Imagine how many hours/days/weeks Roemer lost trying to figure out why his macro worked right almost all of the time, but in rare cases (specifically, when people ran the macro while the cursor was in a footnote), the program completely trashed the document.

What, Microsoft products buggy, ....No! Really?

A footnote to Word footnotes, and it works in Word 97, 2000, or 2002.

No doubt you've played with footnotes: stick your cursor wherever you want a footnote, click Insert | Footnote (in Word 2002, the version in Office XP, you have to click Insert | Reference | Footnote), and Word does all the dirty work. If you accept all the defaults, you'll get a footnote reference (like "1") in your document, and a matching footnote down at the bottom of the page.

Numeric footnote references (like "1") inside your document have three characteristics:

There are lots and lots of tricks with footnotes. If you're curious, look up footnotes in the online help, and play with it a bit.

The specific trick I wanted to mention is how to put two footnote references in a document, with both of the references pointing to the same footnote. So, for example, you could have a footnote "3" that appears once at the bottom of the page, but with two references in the main part of the document.

The method for constructing the second reference isn't obvious at all. You have to stick your cursor where you want the second reference, then click Insert | Cross Reference, then in the Reference type box, pick Footnote. Word will give you a list of all the existing footnotes. Click on the one you want, leave the box marked "Insert as hyperlink" checked, leave the box marked "Include above/below" unchecked, then click Insert.

(In Word 2002, you have to click Insert | Reference | Cross Reference, but the rest of the details are the same.)

If you follow this method, Word sticks a footnote reference in your document, but it's a jimmied-up reference that doesn't look or work like a "real" footnote reference.

In particular, the second reference isn't formatted right: it's just a plain, dumb number that doesn't look anything at all like a footnote reference. If you want it to look like a footnote reference, you'll have to apply the formatting manually: select the number, click Format | Style, click "Footnote Reference," and click Apply.

(If you're using Word 2002, it isn't nearly as easy. You have to bring up the Styles and Formatting pain.. er, pane by, e.g., clicking on Format | Styles and Formatting. Then in the Show box at the bottom of the pane, pick Custom. If you can't find "Footnote Reference" in the list of Styles To Be Visible, go down to the Category box and pick All Styles. In the Styles to Be Visible list, check the box next to Footnote Reference, and then click OK. Make sure the ersatz footnote reference is selected, then click on Footnote Reference in the Styles and Formatting pane. And this is progress?)

The second footnote reference is actually a field, so it doesn't have any of the "real" footnote characteristics - in particular if you hover your mouse over the second footnote reference, you won't see the text of the footnote. And if you do something to re-number footnotes in your document (by, say, adding or deleting a footnote before this particular footnote), the number will only be updated properly if you update fields (right-click the field and pick Update Field, or select any text that includes the field and press F9). You can look at the field if you're curious by right-clicking on the footnote reference and choosing Toggle Field Codes. For more info on Field Codes, check Word's online help.


No doubt you've discovered that you can right-click on a "mis-spelled" word (that is, one showing the red squiggly underline) and tell Word to stop giving you the squigglies for that one particular word: In Word 97 and Word 2000, you right-click and pick Add. In Word 2002 - the version of Word in Office XP - you right-click and pick Add to Dictionary. In both cases, the offending word ends up in a special dictionary that Office maintains for you called, er, CUSTOM.DIC.

All of the Office apps use CUSTOM.DIC as an adjunct to the standard dictionary - if a word appears in CUSTOM.DIC (or any other dictionary that you select in the Custom Dictionaries dialog), it's treated as if it's spelled correctly.

In Office 2000 or XP running under Windows 2000 or XP, the dictionary CUSTOM.DIC is located in the C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof folder. In Office 97 it's in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office. In Office 2000 under Windows 98 or ME, it's in C:\WINDOWS\Profiles\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof.

(Hint: the Office on-line Help topic is wrong. Don't bother.)

Changing entries in the custom dictionary is easy. In Word 2002, click Tools | Options | Spelling & Grammar | Custom Dictionaries | Modify. In Word 97 or 2000, click Tools | Options | Spelling & Grammar, then pick CUSTOM.DIC, then click Dictionaries | Edit.

No matter how you get to it, you can edit the entries in the dictionary just like you would edit any Word document - make changes, add things, delete them, just as you would expect.

Editing the dictionary in Word 97 or 2000 stops all spell checking - you have to re-start in manually by clicking Tools | Options | Spelling & Grammar and checking the box marked "Check spelling as you type." (Word 2002 doesn't have that problem.)

There appears to be a conflict in Outlook 98 and Outlook 2000's WordMail (that is, using Word as your email editor in Outlook 98 or Outlook 2000). As far as I can tell, the spell checking gets stopped on email messages when you edit the dictionary, but it doesn't kick back in until you shut down Outlook and re-start it. And there's some other conflict if Word runs when you shut down and restart Outlook. I think. Another one of those weird WordMail tricks, eh?

Another little tip: if you don't want Word to spell check a specific word, sentence, paragraph - or even a whole document, for that matter, just select what you don't want to have checked and click Tools | Language | Set Language and check the box marked "Do not check spelling or grammar." (In Office 97, you click Tools | Language | Set Language and pick the entry at the top that says "(no proofing)".)

If you commonly have many paragraphs in a document that shouldn't be spell-checked (perhaps they're quoted verbatim, or maybe they're lines of computer code), set up a style, click Format | Language, and use the settings mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

Oh. You Word 2002 users out there... take a second and look at your custom dictionary. Bet you'll be surprised at how many things have been tucked in there, compliments of Office's IntelliSense. Happy hunting!


A good friend of mine sent me an interesting question: "I put an Excel spreadsheet inside a Word document. The problem is that I can't figure out a way to control what part of the Excel sheet is displayed in the Word document. For example, I have an Excel sheet that contains data in 16 cells - four wide by four high. When I put it in a Word document, Word displays a table of 7x10 cells. Resizing the linked object in the document doesn't seem to help - it resizes the whole table so that it still shows a 7x10 area. How can I limit the displayed area in Word to those 4x4 cells that contain the actual data and "hide" the blank cells?"

Strange as it may sound, the way you set the number of cells in a spreadsheet that appears inside a Word document depends entirely on how the spreadsheet is inserted into the document. So bear with me. I'm going to try to cut through a dozen layers of programmer's jargon about objects and containers and other useless concepts, and just give you the stuff you need to know.

When you put one Office "thing" (like an Excel spreadsheet) into another Office "thing" (like a Word document) there are two fundamentally different ways you can put one inside the other:

There are lots of pro's and con's to using Linking vs. Embedding, and the methods for putting a spreadsheet into a document run all over the map (Insert | Object | Create New vs Insert | Object | Create from File vs Insert | File vs Edit | Paste Special vs drag 'n drop, and several more). Suffice it to say that my friend had a Word document with a linked spreadsheet.

Another note. You may have tried linking or embedding in years gone by without success, chances are that's because Office's ability to do these tricks wasn't yet matched by computers that could handle the load. Over the years computers have become faster and more capable of running more than one large program at the same time. That fact combined with more efficient work by Microsoft means that Linking and Embedding can now do the things the Microsoft marketing hoopla promised.

When you link a spreadsheet into a document (perhaps by using Insert | Object | Create from file, and checking the Link to File box), the spreadsheet you see inside the document is actually a picture - think of it as a snapshot of the spreadsheet. That picture can be edited like any other picture.

To reduce the visible size of the spreadsheet - the cells that are shown on-screen) what you really need to do is "crop" the spreadsheet picture!

Here's how:

Note how Excel really isn't involved in any of this. You're just cropping a picture that Word has acquired, compliments of Excel.

When do you have a linked spreadsheet in your Word document, and when do you have an embedded spreadsheet?

Tough question. Let me give you an example.

Bring up a document in Word. Click Insert | File, pick an Excel spreadsheet, then click the down-arrow next to the button that says "Insert" and pick "Insert as Link".

There. You just inserted a linked spreadsheet. Right?

Well, no you didn't. Even though Word's user interface tells you that you linked a spreadsheet into the document, in fact Word used something called an {includetext} field to suck up the text in the spreadsheet - but nothing else. In some sense (as you'll see if you play with it a bit), this {includetext} spreadsheet isn't exactly linked, and it isn't exactly embedded.

It's very, very confusing. I warned you. It took me days to figure out how to write this up.

Big trick: If you're confused about what kind of linking Word is really using, have Word show you the field codes that hide behind the linked (or embedded or included) spreadsheet. Click Tools | Options | View and check the box marked Field Codes.

Word clearly identifies {link}, {embed} and {includetext} fields.

Happy hunting!

Word Can't Count? Teach it!

Depending on which version of Word you use, you have at least three or four different ways to make Word count the words in a document:

If you try a few of those different methods, I'll betcha just about anything they don't give you the same number. And it only gets (vastly!) more complicated when you consider tracked changes, hidden text, various views, the different Word versions, and on and on.

Some of you may think this sounds academic, but I assure you it isn't. Most articles you read - in magazines, newspapers, even chapters in books - are constructed to conform to precise word (or page) counts. It's a devilishly tough problem, and if your livelihood depends on it, you're entitled to be a bit touchy about the topic.

Lets an an editor is looking for a manuscript or an article bill of 900 words and you bill for 900. The editor says you are coming up 10 percent short. (That has never happened to me my keyboard invariably runith over). The editor looks at one word count. the author looks at another. Tomato. Tomahto. Tomatoe. Most embarrassing.

Want to know why Word can't count? Read on.

The Word Count routine follows slightly different code paths, depending on what kind of items are in a document, and which way you go about asking for a recount. It's been a problem for several versions. You've seen one variation on the theme in my continuing coverage of "Track Changes" and its inanities.

Office insiders tell me that Office management claims it's all "bunk". Why? There's lots of probable reasons, but consider this: The developers, testers, and fixers (there's a word for ya) on the Word team tend to generate Word documents using a little-known document generator that's easy to use. Open any document, in any version of Word, and on a new line type


Word will spit out one paragraph for each "X" in =rand(X), each paragraph consisting of five sentences of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Yes, it worked all the way back in Word 1.0, if memory serves.

In other languages the phrase isn't a translation of 'Quick brown ...' but instead a local popular phrase, preferably one that includes all the letters of the alphabet.

So, a "=rand(100)", will give you 100 paragraphs (about 7 pages), with each paragraph containing 5 of the same sentences. This is a very common and easy way to verify if certain features work without needing to type in random text or obtaining a document.

And those marvelous cookie-cutter =rand() generated paragraphs always total up the same way, no matter which approach you use.

Thanks to Microsoft for pointing me to the info about =rand() at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q157373
  which includes information about turning it off!


Word's features for handling tracked changes are extensive and powerful, but they aren't terribly well documented. I'll step you through the basics here, but my main emphasis will be on tricks you need - things you might never discover if you didn't know where to look - that will make your work easier.

Tracking changes in Word 97 and Word 2000 are about the same: there weren't many "improvements" between the two versions, aside from a lotta bug fixes. Word 2002 (in Office XP) is a whole different kettle of fish: Microsoft put together a completely different user interface for tracked changes, and in the process changed a lot of the inner machinery. Some of it works, some of it doesn't - and some of it can be turned off (saints be praised).

Those of you who live and die by the editing sword have one big question, which I seem to see more and more often these days. It goes something like this: "Should I get XP?" Of course, the question is frequently accompanied by a loud, plaintive wail, or a brisk unsubtle hand gesture or two, but the query still stands.

The answer, as you might've guessed, is anything but simple. Consider:

Tracked changes in Word 2002 is very different from Word 2000/97, and the difference is more than skin deep. You can turn off the balloons and make 2002 look more like 2000/97, but the underlying engine in Word 2002 is still quite different.

I've had several reports of problems with documents that were created and/or edited in Word 2000, then edited in Word 2002. I think the bugs stem from the fact that some of the Word 2000 track changes features disappeared in Word 2002, but I'm not really sure. In fact, I'm not sure if anyone's sure. There's nothing serious lurking here - at least, nothing that I've seen. But the behavior is a bit strange.

Fully one-quarter of the gray hairs on my head appeared while I was combating weird "track changes" bugs in Word 97: colors that switched unexpectedly; changes that didn't take; non-changes that *did* take; editors falling off into oblivion; and much more than I could ever possibly understand.

That leads me to a few inescapable conclusions:

If you spend a lot of time editing, and all the authors/editors you work with have Office XP, get Office XP. (Yes, I know that many of you hate the balloons. I'll show you how to get rid of 'em - even though I, personally, have grown to like the furry little beasts. And you can bring back almost all of the features Word 2000 had to track changes..)

If you spend a lot of time editing, and most of the authors/editors you work with have Office 2000, stick with Office 2000, and have them stick with Office 2000, if it's convenient. Flip-flopping back and forth between Word 2000 and Word 2002 on edits seems to cause a few bizarre problems. Again, it's nothing serious, but you may find yourself going, "HUH?" from time to time.

If you spend a lot of time editing, and most of the authors/editors you work with have Office 97, get a new job.

If you don't spend a lot of time editing, follow the advice in Woody's Office Watch,
http://woodyswatch.com/office/archtemplate.asp?v7-n04 .

There comes a point in every document's life where the author is finished with authoring (or, ahem, whatever authors do) and focus shifts to editing (or, ahem, whatever editors do). That's the point where you, the author, should tell Word to start tracking edits - even if you, the author, are the only editor!

Yes, you read that right. As soon as you're done writing, and you're ready to start modifying, you should have Word track edits. Even if you're the only person who will be doing the edits. Why? It's a whole lot easier to go through tracked edits in a document, change your mind, fudge here and nudge there, using Word's built-in editing tools, than it is to keep multiple copies of a document, or relying on Word's zillion-deep Undo key. By simply telling Word to keep track of your changes, you can go back and change your mind about a particular phrase without disturbing the rest of your work, copying from a day-old backup copy, or trying to click the Undo button precisely 174 times. It's a huge time-saver.

The easiest way to tell Word that you want it to keep track of changes is by double-clicking the little grayed-out button that says "TRK", down on the status bar at the bottom of Word's screen.

The hard way to tell Word to track changes is by clicking Tools | Track Changes | Highlight Changes, and checking the box marked "Track changes while editing". (NOTE! Remember that I'm only giving you instructions for Word 97 and Word 2000. The method for tracking changes in Word 2002/Office XP is different - more on that later.) The Higlight Changes dialog box gives you two options, once you've told Word to track changes:

1. "Highlight changes on screen" makes Word show you the changes that have been applied to the original document. While you can specify how you want your changes to appear, the default settings show added text as underlined, and deleted text as strikethrough (that is, formatted with a line through the middle), with changed text color-coded depending on who made the change.

"Highlight changes in printed document" tells Word that the next time you print the document, you want it to show you what text has been added and deleted. The changes on the printed page are identical to those that appear on the screen - underlined, strikethrough, color-coded, unless you've gone in and changed the defaults.

People get very confused about printing tracked changes - and for good reason. Almost all of the settings for printing weird Word things are in Word's File | Print | Options dialog. That's where you go to print field codes, or comments, or hidden text. Unfortunately, that's NOT where you go to tell Word that you want it to print tracked changes. You have to do that in this Highlight Changes dialog box.

2. Which leads me to the second really strange thing about tracked changes. Locking. Uh, protection.

Word is full of little dialog boxes that are so utterly inscrutable you have to wonder if the poor programmer who was charged with figuring out some human-legible text got any sleep the night before.

This one is among my favorites. And it's the same in Word 97, 2000, and 2002.

The concept is simplicity itself. You create a document. You want to let other people make comments, or suggest changes, but you don't want them to change the document itself until you've had a chance to go through the edits and weigh each one. Easy. Happens every day.

Word gives you two options for forcing editors to keep their fingers off your original: you can limit editors so they can add comments only; or you can allow editors to make changes to the text, but Word will track those changes. In either case, your original sterling prose is protected, and you can use Word's change tracking tools to go over the comments and/or changes. (Note that allowing changes also, automatically, allows comments - adding a comment is just one kind of "change" that's permitted, and tracked.)

If you click on Tools | Protect Document, you'll get that wonderful dialog box that I was talking about. It's a terse little beast that says "Protect document for:" and you have two options, "Tracked changes" and "Comments". Permit me, if you will, to offer a more comprehensible rendition of those options. Translated into vaguely understandable terms, they should say something like this:

A bit wordy, perhaps, but I think it beats the bewilickers out of "Protect document for: Tracked changes".

It's important to realize that this "Protect document" setting isn't intended to be high-class security. It's there to ensure that reasonably co-operative editors don't clobber your prose without your permission. Anybody who has your document can turn off the "Protect document" setting by clicking Tools | Unprotect document. (If you provided a password in the original "Protect document for:" dialog box, the person attempting to Unprotect the document will be prompted for a password. But they can easily bypass that, too, by simply copying all of the contents of the document into a new document.)

Which leads me to the third really strange thing about tracked changes.

Word has an elaborate color-coding scheme that runs in conjunction with track changes. Unless you go in and change things, Word will mark all of the edits performed by one person with a distinct color. If Rick adds text here and deletes some there, his additions might appear in red (formatted underlined), and his deletions would appear in red (formatted strikethrough). Then if Doug runs through and makes changes, his pawprints will be marked in blue. And so on. Word makes a brave effort to keep the color-coding consistent, so edits performed by Rick today are in red, and edits performed by Rick on the same document next month will also be in red. Good feature (although, as I've noted, sometimes it doesn't work, particularly in Word 97).

If you've bumped into this feature before, you probably wondered how Word figured out who was doing the editing, and what color they were supposed to get. Ends up, there's a trick. Two tricks, in fact.

  1. In each document that's being tracked for changes, Word maintains a little table. You can't see it or change it, but it's there just the same. The table lists the names of the people who have performed edits on the document, and the color each person has been assigned. (Colors are assigned in order, depending on who edits first, second, third, and so on.)
  2. The names of the people doing the editing are pulled from - you guessed it - the Tools | Options | User Information | Name box. Usually that name is filled in by Word when you install the program. Sometimes folks get a little cute with the install screen (more than a few "Captain Zoom"s exist, I'm told), and some people simply leave it blank. There's absolutely nothing wrong with running an anonymous copy of Word, of course, but if you don't provide a name in the Tools | Options | User Information | Name box, Word won't know what to call you - and it won't be smart enough to give you a new color in the color-coding scheme.

As for that second trick... some savvy Word users change their own name, in the Tools | Options | User Information | Name box, to force Word to start using a new color when tracking changes. That can be really handy if you need to edit a document two (or more) times, and you want to keep track of which changes were made when. For example, you might run a pass through a document on copyedit - picking up bad grammar and the like. Then you might run another pass looking for figure cross-references. If you change your name in between passes, it's quite easy to use Word's built-in revision tracking tools to, say, double-check all the changed figure numbers, without bothering with grammar. I've found this trick particularly useful when I'm trying to make major changes to the structure of a chapter - I'll change my name just before going in for major surgery, and when I'm done the big structural changes stick out.

Ch..ch..ch..ch..changes. David Bowie got that right.

While I'm concentrating on oddities, there's one more strange thing about tracking changes that you should consider. If nothing else, it'll help you understand why Word 2002's track changes capability is so very different from Word 97/2000's.

When you step back and think about it, there are four different ways to look at a Word document that's had changes applied. You can look at the original document, before any changes were made. (That's also how the document would look if you rejected all the changes.) You can look at the final document, with all the changes applied. (That's the same as accepting all the changes.) You can look at the original document, with the changes appearing as annotations (Rick added a sentence here; Doug deleted a phrase there). Or you can look at the final document, with the changes appearing as annotations.

Word 2002 lets you look at a document in all four ways. Word 97/2000 can't show you the original with annotations: if you want to look at the details of all the changes that have been made, you have to look at the final document, with the changes marked-up on it.

The people who built the Word 2002 track changes/comments capabilities tried to come up with a way to look at a changed document that's more life-like, closer to how a document actually appears when it's printed without the mark-up. In Word 97/2000, for example, comments have little "anchors" that look like this [EB12]. In Word 2002, the anchors are gone, and the comments appear in balloons with dotted lines that point to the text they reference.

A final look at Words Track Changes features that we've been covering.

At this point you're ready to dive in and get Word to track your changes. It wouldn't hurt a bit to experiment on yourself: type a few lines in a new document, click Tools | Track Changes | Highlight Changes and tell Word to start tracking changes. Make a few modifications to the document and watch what happens.

When you've made a handful of changes, it's time to crank up the tools that Word provides to scan for changes and accept or reject them.

To do that, click Tools | Track Changes | Accept or Reject Changes. (Again, I'm only talking about Word 97 and Word 2000 here. Word 2002/Office XP is different.) Click the Find -> button to lock onto a change, then click the Accept or Reject button, depending on whether you want the change to become permanent or not.

There are additional reviewing aids on the Reviewing Toolbar. Right-click any empty spot on any handy toolbar and check the box marked "Reviewing".

That part is all pretty self-explanatory. If you hit a snag, bring up Word Help, look for "revision" or "track changes" and it'll get you through.

Word has a similar feature called "Compare Documents" (Tools | Track Changes | Compare Documents). If you run a compare between two documents, Word will note all the differences between the documents, using tracked changes, just as we have described here. It works, but it only works if you compare two "clean" documents - that is, two documents that don't have outstanding tracked changes inside of them.

Make sure that you've gone through both of the documents in a "compare" and accepted or rejected every change BEFORE you run the compare. Why? Because Word can hit all sorts of situations where the comparison doesn't mean anything.

An example. Say your original document contained the sentence:

John wants to diversify his holdings.

Now say that one of your editors/reviewers came along, with Word set up to track changes, and modified the sentence to say:

John and Mary want to diversify their holdings.

Finally, say that the other copy of the document - the one that you're going to compare this modified document to - has the sentence deleted completely.

On the one hand, Word has a sentence with unresolved tracked changes. On the other hand, Word is comparing that document to one where the sentence no longer exists. How does Word show all the changes? Not very well - if at all.

Track changes and compare documents aren't compatible. You'll only end up with a headache.

Geoff Hart bumped into a good one:

"I was editing a file, and discovered to my great perplexity that the Delete key had suddenly started working erratically. I'd press Control-Delete to delete the next word, or Delete to delete the next letter, and nothing would happen: the cursor would remain in its current position, and the display wouldn't change. (Ditto for Backspace.) Nor would search and replace reliably replace all instances of a particular word or phrase.

It turns out the file had been edited using Word's revision tracking, the changes hadn't been accepted, and "highlight changes onscreen" had been deselected. Here's the problem: if you conceal your edits while tracking changes, the deleted text remains in the file so that Word must still move the cursor through it, but Word doesn't display the text so you can see what the software is doing. When you hit the delete key with the cursor in the middle of this invisible text, Word thinks to itself "that text is already deleted, so no need to change the display--or warn the user, since he's much smarter than I am and should already know this." Not a good assumption!

So if you're editing in Word and the Delete or Backspace key seems to have stopped working, the cursor occasionally stops moving while using the keyboard to move through the text, or similar "the key stopped working" symptoms appear erratically, you may have met the same problem I did. Open the Tools menu, select Track changes, then select Highlight changes. Select "Highlight changes on screen" and see if the problem goes away."

You Word 2002 users will have to bring up the Reviewing toolbar (Tools | Customize | Toolbars | check Reviewing) and make sure it shows any of the display options except "Original".

Be Sure Borders Print

If a page border doesn't appear on a page when printed, it may be because the border extends beyond the print range allowed by your printer.

To print the border, you may have to increase the size of the left and right margins. To make the borders fall within acceptable page margins, choose Select All from the Edit menu, then Borders and Shading from the Format menu. Click the Page Border tab. Note the width of the border line in the Width drop-down list.

Click the Options button. The Border and Shading Options dialog will appear. Select Text from the drop-down box titled, Measure From. Note the distance (in points) for the left and right margin settings. Click OK, then click OK again to close both dialog boxes. Select Paragraph from the Format menu. Click the Indents And Spacing tab. In the left and right boxes of the Indentation section, type the number of points equal to the combined width of the border and the spacing specified in the Width and From Text boxes.

For example, if the Border width was 3 points (pt) and the right and left From Text boxes specified 4 points, enter 7 pt in each of the Left and Right boxes (If you don't enter Pt, Word will think you meant inches and won't allow the changes). Click OK.


I've written about Word tables many, many times. They're powerful, flexible, and easy to use - once you figure out how in the %$#@! to put them together.

A quick refresher course. Almost anything that has to be laid out on a page will work best in a table (that includes such diverse things as figures with captions, and resumes with dates on the left). With one exception, if you're thinking about using tab stops, you're working too hard - use tables. The exception: when you need to put a repeating character on a page, like you would in a Table of Contents:

I Started Out As a Child........1
My Life As a Dog................. 7
The Rest of the Story............49

Or in a fill-in-the-blanks form, such as this:

Name: ________________________
Street: ________________________ City: ____________ State: ____

Both of those are easier to do with tabs.

Tables are the key to Word formatting that doesn't flop around on a page when you add or delete characters. They're also the only sane way to keep text on the left "hooked" up with text on the right, as you might see in a resume, or a parts catalog.

The reason why I mention tables? I just saw a GREAT review of tables in Word, and I would urge you to take a look. It's a lengthy article at the Word MVP site -
http://www.mvps.org/word/FAQs/TblsFldsFms/TableBasics.htm -
written by Suzanne Barnhill and Dave Rado. Covers the topic from soup to nuts. Excellent work, highly recommended.


The simplest way to use the thesaurus is to highlight a word (or just put the insertion point inside it) and press Shift + F7. Assuming that the word is correct and is in the thesaurus you will see a list of similar or opposite words (synonyms and antonyms).

There's alternative ways to access the thesaurus. You can right-click on a word then Synonyms to see a fly out list of alternative words for the primary definition of that word.

On the menu you can choose Tools | Language | Thesaurus.

Personally, I prefer Shift + F7 because it displays the full set of thesaurus options. Many words have alternative meanings or shadings that demand quite different synonyms. For example, the word Office has three meanings (in addition to the proper noun that Microsoft has made it) and you need to choose which one is appropriate to your use before selecting a synonym.

That's why the Thesaurus dialog has a 'Meanings' list under the Looked Up word. Click on each of the meanings and you'll see the synonyms change accordingly. Quite often the meaning lists overlap each other.

To find the opposite of a word look for the (antonym) label after the suggested alternative word.

By the Way - in the title bar of the Thesaurus dialog you can see which dictionary is used.

The language used is selected according to the settings for Word (Tools | Language | Set Language), that document (in the template), Style or even individual formatting. The Language setting tells Word which dictionary/thesaurus to use.

Microsoft's supplied dictionary/thesaurus should not be considered the final word (no pun intended) on language. The company has chosen to selectively edit the lists presumably to placate a noisy minority. As a result, you won't find any alternatives for innocent English words like 'idiot'. There's only one meaning for 'fool' the verb, while the noun is ignored.

So it is best to think of the online tool as a convenience - but don't throw away your Websters / Oxford / Macquarie dictionary since they have not succumbed to corporate cowardice like Microsoft has.

I don't know about you, but I love being in a cut-n-paste world. The Ctrl+C keys (which copy text to the clipboard) and Ctrl+V keys (which paste) get such a heavy workout that the lettering is completely gone for the keys now.

Cutting and pasting should be easy. What could be simpler than getting text from all over the place into your very own documents? Unfortunately, Word tries to be helpful. Too helpful. 99% of the time when I hit Ctrl+V to paste text into a document, I want the pasted text to take on the formatting that's already in the document. Word, in its wisdom, insists upon dragging the formatting that came with the text - and that frequently screws up my document. I find myself constantly hitting the Undo icon up on the Toolbar, then clicking Edit | Paste Special, choosing Unformatted Text, and clicking OK.

From what I have seen in the beta version of Office XP,  Word 2002 (which is in Office XP) flashes a little Smart Tag up on the screen every time you paste text into a document. Changing the formatting of the text is as simple as taking your fingers off the keyboard, grabbing the mouse, locating the Smart Tag, clicking on it, and choosing the option that says "I only want the text to be copied, not the formatting, you turkey!" Then you have to get your fingers re-positioned back on the keyboard, and my mind (which admittedly can use all the help it can get) has to switch from mousing back to typing. 

This is progress?

Okay, so I can't walk and chew gum at the same time. Is this such a crime?

Like so many annoying parts of Office, this little idiosyncrasy can be solved with a little macro. In the next section, I'll show you how to do it.

A little side note: I love Office. You know that. I hate Office. I love to hate Office - and I've been loving it and hating it since the days of Word 1.0. What you're about to see is one of the big reasons why I love Office. If you don't like the way Office works, frequently you can just plow in there and change the sucker. Wish I could do the same thing with my car or my TV remote...

Do you get the jitters when you think about writing a macro? No reason to be intimidated. It's easy. If you have ten minutes, I can show you how - and this is a macro you'll use, too.

Here's what I want the macro to do. I want to change the behavior of the Word paste shortcut key combination, Ctrl+V, so it pastes just the stuff in the clipboard, and not the formatting. Here's how:

Sub PasteUnformatted()
  ' PasteUnformatted Macro
  ' Macro created 10/18/2001 by Phineas T. Farquahrt

  End Sub

Sub PasteUnformatted()
  ' PasteUnformatted Macro
  ' Macro created 10/18/2001 by Phineas T. Farquahrt
  Selection.PasteSpecial DataType:=wdPasteText
  End Sub

What About pasting Formatted Text
But Bo, I needed a way to occasionally insert formatted text - in the majority of cases you want to remove formatting from the clipboard before pasting, but every so often you need the formatting, too. There are several easy ways with the mouse (click the Paste icon, up on the Standard Toolbar; or click Edit Paste, on the menu, of course). There's one easy way with the keyboard (Shift+Insert). But my favorite way is to re-assign the Ins (or Insert) key on your keyboard so it performs a Paste, with the formatting intact. And therein lies a story.

As you may know, Word has this really annoying habit of flipping into "Overtype Mode" when you accidentally press the Ins key on your keyboard. Normally, Word works in "Insert Mode" - whatever you type on the keyboard gets inserted into your document. That's the way any nominally sane word processor should operate. But when you're in Overtype Mode, every key that you press on the keyboard "overtypes" the existing text in your document. Bleccccccch.

If you're typing along and suddenly realize that the stuff you're typing is clobbering the text inside your document, look down at the Status bar at the bottom of the screen and see if the letters OVR are highlighted. That OVR means you've managed to get yourself into Overtype Mode. At least ninety-nine times out of a hundred, you got yourself into that fine mess because you accidentally hit the Ins key, probably while trying to hit Del or maybe Home or End (depending on your keyboard layout). Most Word users find Overtype Mode useful about, oh, once every ten thousand years.

Word lets you change the Ins key so it doesn't trigger Overtype Mode. I recommend that Word users do so,  it's one of the most irritating "features" in Word, right up there with hiding paragraph marks. I'll tell you how to make the Ins key behave in the next section.

The beauty of this tip is that it not only disables a really obnoxious Word behavior - accidentally hitting the Ins key flips Word into Overtype Mode - it also automatically makes the Ins key insert the (formatted) contents of the clipboard. If you've changed Ctrl+V to insert unformatted text, it's handy to make the Ins key insert formatted text.

Here's how you change the Ins key:

> Start Word

> Click Tools | Options | Edit

> Check the box marked "Use INS key for paste"

From that point on, every time you press the Ins key, the contents of the clipboard is inserted into the document - with full formatting. You can still force Word into Overtype Mode by double-clicking on the OVR letters down on the status bar, but I wouldn't lose any sleep trying to remember that little fact.



Here's a cool Word shortcut key combination:

Personally I prefer Ctrl + Alt + <heading number> which takes you straight to the Heading style you want. Ctrl + Alt + 2 takes you to Heading 2 and so on.

Word 97/2000

Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

To create custom keyboard shortcuts, press make sure NumLock is engaged, then press Alt+Ctrl++ (the plus sign on your keypad). Your cursor will turn into a clover-shaped symbol. Click the menu command for which you want to create a keyboard shortcut and a Customize Keyboard dialog box will appear. In the box that reads Press New Shortcut Key, press keystroke combination you want to use as a shortcut. If the keystroke combination is already used for another command, then a note will appear directly underneath the box. Indicate where you would like your changes to be in effect in the Save Changes drop down box. You can make your customized keyboard shortcut active throughout either the entire Word program or just the current document. Finally, click the Assign button.

Edit a Form Saved as a Word Template

To edit a form saved as a template, first open the template itself, not a document based on the template. Select File, Open, and click the down arrow to the right of the Files Of Type box, then click Document Templates (*.dot). This ensures you only open template files. Navigate to the folder containing Word templates (typically the path is c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates). Double-click any template to open it. If you've protected it by making it read- only, remove protection by selecting Tools, Unprotect Document.

This tip - an obscure, but very powerful one - works all the way back to Word 2.0. It might even work with Word 1.0 (assuming anything worked in Word 1.0), but I don't have a copy around to test. Old habits die hard, but they don't die *that* hard...

One of Word's greatest features is one that programmers have been using since the dawn of Word time. If you learn enough VBA to make yourself a little bit dangerous, you can over-ride every single command that Word has. Don't like the way Word performs a File | Open? Cool. Write a program called FileOpen(), and your program will take precedence over Word's built-in feature. Want to change the way the Show All button (the backwards paragraph mark on the Standard Toolbar) behaves? No sweat. Write a program called ShowAll(), and you get to call the shots.

The single largest problem with taking over a built-in command is figuring out the name of the command that needs to be taken over. While you could probably guess that FileOpen(), and you might have a fighting chance at ShowAll(), you'd never in a million years guess that ToolsReviewRevisions brings up the old (Word 2000 and earlier) Revisions Toolbar. At least I wouldn't - Michael pointed that one out to me.

Lisa Wollin at Microsoft wrote a great article for the MS Developer Network that will step you through the details. Check out


Word 97/2000

Add Borders

It's easy to insert a border around every page in an open document, but to ensure that this border doesn't interfere with page contents, it's best to apply it after the document is complete. To do so, simply click on any document text, then select Borders and Shading under the Format menu. If you click on a picture or WordArt element instead of text, you'll end up placing a border around the selected graphic element, not the full page. After the Borders and Shading dialog appears, click the Page Border tab. The current setting will probably be "None."

Click Box in the Setting column. A thumbnail display of how a selected border will look in your document will appear in the Preview window in the right column of the Page Border tab. Click the sides of this Preview graphic or click the border buttons that frame the edges of the Preview diagram to add or remove particular border lines. You can choose a border's line style, color, width and art pattern. For example, to apply a picture border around the edge of the page, click the down arrow in the Art drop-down list. Scroll the list of design options, then click the one you want to apply. To delete this border, click the down arrow in the Art drop-down list and then choose None. To frame the page with several border elements, click the Custom setting in the Borders and Shading dialog, then choose a line style.

Click the desired Preview window border button. This applies the style to a particular side of the border frame. To apply another border style to other parts of the frame, select the desired border style, then click the relevant border buttons on the Preview diagram. Word does not allow you to apply different Art styles to the sides of a page border. Usually, Word applies your border selection to every page in the open document. However, if you don't want to apply the border to the whole document. Click the arrow in the Apply To: drop-down list on the Page Border tab of the Borders and Shading dialog, then make a selection. You can apply a border to a particular document section, the first page of a particular section, or all but the first page of a particular section.

For more Office tips and anything Windows or Office be sure to visit Woody's Office Watch at

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Version Dec 7 Copyright 2001 Larry Blaisdell

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