VIDEO: Do you really know how to use Microsoft Word? The Power of Tabs and Indents
I spent part of my lunch hour today remoted into a friend's computer who was having a lot of trouble with Microsoft Word. Like most of you she's an "experience Word user" and would happily put "Proficient in Microsoft Word" on her resume. However, it was pretty clear that there's some powerful aspect to Word that folks aren't exploiting. These kinds of features will save you HOURS reformatting documents later, especially when those docs get long like books and long reports or essays.
I figured I'd do a quick YouTube video and see if there's an interested in a series of these. I like not to waste time OR keystrokes so this was the most efficient way to get the information out there. Within an hour this video already got these nice compliments:
- Absolutely fantastic. This totally blew my mind. I'm not too proud to say that I didn't know any of this.
- Thanks so much. You just saved me a ton of time editing lab documents.
- Time to update my resume and this time the indents will be perfect.
- This video is magic.
So that's telling me that there IS value in videos like this. Check it out and let me know! More importantly, share it with your family and friends and SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel.
TIP: If you're using Windows 8 and are confused, I have a whole SERIES of videos at http://hanselman.com/windows8. Please spread the word and share!
Here's my Word video. Hope this helps.
Microsoft Word: The Power of Tabs and Indents
What Office related topics would you be interested in seeing, done in this style?
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Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
An explanation, just like the space bar is not the "make horizontal white space button", of how the return key is not the "make vertical white space button" is also a valuable lesson for folks.
Easy tricks can save you a lot of time and increase your knowledge. It's a very useful for many people. Please, continue these videos!
One question: You showed a nice easy way to move the tabs just by double-clicking them and getting the complete list of tabs with distance. Can the same be done for hanging/first-line/left indent? (As you said yourself, dragging them about is a little tricky sometimes.) Page setup isn't too hard to find, but double-clicking somewhere to bring it up quickly without hunting through ribbons, etc., would be better.
Great Video. Just a quick note regarding YouTube Safety mode. Not sure of the reason but I had to turn safety mode off to watch this video.
Here is screen pic of the message:
This was the perfect length and level of detail.
I've just finished mangling a spec in Word that used tables for database schema descriptions (horribly). I'm also pretty sure I'm using change tracking wrong.
Show me the way! Thanks Scott!
1. This is Section One and shows in document navigation as header 1.
[some normal style paragraph here...]
1.1 This is Section One dot one and shows in document navigation as header 2.
[some normal style paragraph here...]
1.2 This is Section One dot two and shows in document navigation as header 2.
[some normal style paragraph here...]
Another example is using line numbers in such a way that a legal document would have.
Thanks in advance!
As others have already stated, the single-most annoying thing about people's abuse of Word is that they don't get the difference between a linebreak (Shift+Enter) and a paragraph break (Enter). They just press Enter twice. Which is absolutely horrible if you have to use that text for anything else (be it a web page or DTP).
Next on my list of pet peeves is the fact that people just format headings manually, instead of using styles. This happens because people don't realize that styles are tools for structuring the document as well as formatting it - they don't realize that a style can be changed to their liking. They don't like the Heading 1 style, so they just do it manually. And then proceed to generate a TOC for a 100-page document manually. And yes, I have seen university students do just that for their thesis.
I hope to see you put out a video on how to incorporate and format images into a Word document.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
This was great. I've been using Word for a long time and now realize there is so much more. Thanks for making the learning easy.
I do a lot of documents, but I use Latex/MikTex/Texmaker for this because I can format things exactly like I want, i.e. placing graphics & figures, entering mathematical formulas, etc. Word is much more convenient, but every time I try to use Word for technical docs, I don't know enough I guess, I turn back to my tried and true tools.
Is it possible to write technical documents in Word? With the precision I need.
By the way, I then publish these documents/articles in journals, and they require the .tex files.
Coming from Dev but now I'm a dark matter dev manager :) My friends sometimes jokingly call me a PowerPoint Developer or an Excel Developer, etc. sigh
Anyway, if there's anything I'm looking to do, I just find it somewhere on the web so I can't say there's anything I'm looking to know. It's what I don't know or "common mistakes" like the theme of this video that I'd like to see.
btw, a series on Excel would also be awesome too.
Great video, thanks! I assumed I knew about all of this stuff, but the "right tab" was new to me!
One thing I seem to struggle with a bit (although I think I know at least the principle) is the use of outline view, and the relationship between indentation levels and pre-defined styles, etc.
Would love to see a video about that to show me what I'm missing!
My pet peeve in Word is how styling works, especially how to restyle documents that have been messed up. I want to believe that I'm a moderately competent Word user, but I find styling confusing and frustrating, especially when working on existing documents that need to be cleaned-up.
Good stuff! Like Rrenaud, I’d be interested in seeing how you use Styles, too.
I edit a fan gaming magazine and have to fix these kinds of errors (among many others) all the time to get the submissions ready for inclusion. I'm going to link this from the magazine's website for my authors to have as a reference.
I would argue that it is more important for someone to have proficient skills in creating good Html content instead of Word documents.
Therefore as an Html content creator myself, I would like to see a video on Live Writer. As an ASP.Net MVC developer, I would also appreciate a video on a good Markdown tool that I could use on my website. A good example is this interactive comments you provide with its Live Comment Preview capabilities.
Thanks, I appreciate your work.
This is just the point that Scott is trying to make - what you're actually doing is avoiding the correct use of formatting in Word. The result is that you end up with complex formatting.
Keep up the good work, Scott.
Sometimes I go the extra mile and correct the document form fields, then send in the form electronically along with the updated template.
Thanks for the tips!
Knew what they where and what they did.
Just didn't knew yet how to use them properly.
Love to see more videos.
As a couple of folks have mentioned, I'd love to see in-depth treatment of section breaks (page and continuous), including headers and footers with breaks, as well as outlining / numbering / bullets - perhaps build up an outline / numbering hierarchy from scratch.
Watching this video really makes you realize though that the Word UX could certainly use some work- it seems like in 2015 the software should be able to detect these extremely common mistakes in formatting and offer to fix them for you. It seems crazy at how little desktop Office has evolved in the last 15 years.
Loved the video! As a developer, I make the mistake of assuming I know all there is to know about something like a word processor. In fact, there are many key fundamentals of the software, such as the indents you lay out here that, which I knew little or nothing about.
Very much appreciated, please do more like this!
Would like to second the request by John Marsing for something on Markdown and Live Writer. I'm sure there's more than what's on the surface of both.
Keep up the good work Scott.
I have a bunch of training I need to give to developers and need someone that can record my screen and take a microphone input. It would be simple Visual Studio tutorials or a powerpoint presentation that I give to my department. It would be nice to capture my computer screen as I'm talking and then maybe have a video off to the side of me giving the presentation.
They say youtube, but actually youtube-better.
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