Adding footers in Word

Scenario: You are creating a multiple page document with others. You need to let others know how many pages there are in total and you want to help your future self remember where you stored the document.

Use the header and footer functionality in Word which lets you insert repeating text on each page in your document, either at the top (the header) or at the bottom (the footer).

Here’s a quick video on how to add page numbers, file name, and storage location in the footer of your document. The video shows you the steps for Microsoft® Word 8.0 for Mac. The concepts for other version of Word on PC or Mac are similar. (video, 7:14 min): 

Have fun with footers! Once you start, you’ll find you’ll want them on most documents.

Resetting a style in Word when all else fails

Scenario: You’re trying to apply a new style to a paragraph yet the new style isn’t being applied. You’ve tried clearing the style and even that doesn’t work! Now what?

If you ever run into style issues like the one listed above, delete the paragraph marker, make a new paragraph, and then apply the new style. It works every time.

OK, so why did I tell you to do this? Here’s the trick: Word stores the formatting attributes in each paragraph marker. When you delete the paragraph marker, the style that corresponds to that paragraph will be gone. Since you’ll then have content that runs together so you’ll need to make a new paragraph before applying the new style. Otherwise you’ll have one L-O-N-G paragraph where previously there were two paragraphs.

Here are the quick steps to follow:

1. Turn on “show codes”

Click the backwards looking “P”, called a pilcrow, on the Standard toolbar – see the image below for the icon.

The pilcrow is Word’s name for a paragraph mark.

Now you will see various hidden codes in your content that Word inserts behind the scenes as you type. A pilcrow means you pressed Enter. A space (it looks like a tiny dot) means you pressed the space bar. An arrow means you pressed the Tab key.

2. Delete the problem pilcrow.

The style you didn’t want is now gone.

3. Make a paragraph

Go to the end of the sentence that used to be the end of the first paragraph and press Enter. You’ll see a new pilcrow appear.

4. Position your cursor somewhere in that paragraph and apply the new style.

5. Turn off “show codes”.

Click the pilcrow on the Standard toolbar a second time to turn it off.

That’s it, you’ve done it! Onward, ho.

Create Your Own Audio Book

What better way to be close to loved ones if you aren’t in the same place! Record your voice reading a book and then share the audio file.

Before starting, make sure you have three items ready to go:

1. a working microphone connected to your computer – I used my internal microphone on my laptop;

2. recording software installed on your computer – install Audacity, a free audio recording and editing program that works on all operating systems;

3. a good book to read aloud. When I decided to make an audio book, it was for my niece and nephew in Burnaby, BC so I needed something age appropriate for them. I searched for ebooks on Google and had an incredible amount of books to choose from.

Here are the general steps to make a recording, assuming your microphone is ready to go:

1. Launch Audacity.

2. From the File Menu, click New.

3. Name and save the file as an Audacity Project File (.aup is the file extension).

You can choose other file saving options, however, if you save as an Audacity Project File, then you can make future changes to the original recording and simply export to the desired format upon completion.  You won’t have to start all over with a new recording.

You’ll see in the example below that I start out with an .aup extension and then typically export to a .m4a or .mp3 extension. Why? The latter two file types let me play files in iTunes and they are typically smaller in file size.  They are easier to import to and play back on my iPod, and, share with others.

4. To record, click the red button on the menu and start reading from your book. To stop, click the yellow square “stop” button.

5. When you have finished recording, save the Audacity Project File (click File, Save).

Then export the recording to either an .mp3 or .m4a file format. Click File, Export and then choose a format from the formatting options list. See the example below.

6. Check the file location on your computer for your audio recording. If you’ve followed these steps, you will see three files with the same name.

7. Share the file with the .m4a or .mp3 extension.  For convenience and due to size limitations for sending files by email (typically), I’d use Dropbox as my method of choice.

Happy recording! Let me know how it goes.