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.

What To Do If You Get A Word Document With Messed Up Styles Throughout

Scenario: Your boss comes to you with a Word document and you are asked to make the content look professional in a short amount of time. Someone else has written the content, and, when you look at the document, you see that the author has inconsistent styles throughout the file. Or one section has styles applied and another section has specific words highlighted on a case-by-case basis. Ugh.  

Going forward, you and your boss need a document that has consistent styles. There’s not much time until the end product is due. What’s the fastest way for you to fix this up?

Here’s the easiest and quickest solution that I’ve found:

1. Show the existing styles in the Word document.

Turn on the style pane and make the style pane at least 1” wide. Go to your Word settings and enable the option to view the style pane, set the width as 1″ (or wider), and save your settings. Then go back to the document and switch the view to Draft View.

Why? At a glance you’ll be able to see which style has been attributed to each paragraph in the document. Otherwise you’d have to click on each paragraph or heading and check which style has been attributed.

2. Change your view to Draft view and print out a copy of the document with the style pane visible.

Why? At a glance you’ll be able to see which paragraphs need style help and it’s much quicker than trying to compare documents side by side electronically. I’ve tried the electronic method to avoid making hard copies and wasting paper but I’ve always ended up having to make a printout in the end anyways after wasting precious time.

3. Make a new electronic copy of the Word document, save it with a new name, and strip out all the styles.

Don’t work within the original file. Leave it alone and as is.

In the new renamed file, select all the content (CTRL+A on PCs, Command+A on Macs) and apply the “clear formatting” option. This resets all the content to the Normal style. Now you’re starting from scratch on the styles front and you have the printout to help guide you. Save the file.

4. Apply the correct styles to headings and paragraphs. Save the new file often!

Put on your headphones and listen to some great tunes as you start to apply the styles. Use your printout as a guide and watch how fast you build a professional looking document. It’s actually fun when you get into a groove. Save often – I can’t stress that enough. You’ll find a pattern of saving that works for you – whether it’s after each new heading or at the end of every page. Just save, save, save.

5. Review your work and fix any issues.

I use Print Preview, turning on the multiple pages at a glance option, to do this task quickly. Glaring issues pop out at me. I also have the printout from the original file to refer back to (mostly to see how it’s NOT supposed to look like, LOL).

6. Save the file, keep a copy for your own records, and pass the file onwards. 

You may be thinking that I’m making more work for you with these steps. Nope. You’ll find it’s the fastest, simplest way to get the styles to be consistent and make the document look professional. And believe me, I’ve had to do this on 300+ page documents in less than 2 hours. No problem!

Make Professional Looking Documents in Word (Part 2)

See the first part of this subject: Make Professional Looking Documents in Word (Part 1) before reading any further.

OK, so you have a document that now contains styles, whether you applied the styles or you inherited a document from someone else that contains styles.

Here are 3 reasons why you need to use styles to make documents look professional:

1) Using styles you can easily update the look of your entire document by changing the formatting attributes of one style. (I talked about this in the first article, but it’s so important and useful that I wanted to draw your attention to it again.)

OK, so let’s take an example. The default style in Word is called “Normal” and it may be preset to be Arial font, size 11, with single line spacing.

Open the style and check the formatting attributes if you want to see what is preset. Here’s a picture of the default formatting attributes for the “Normal” style in my document (I’ve opened the Style pane, clicked on the style called “Normal”, and selected “Modify Style”):

Let’s say you now want double spacing and you want a different font.  So you change “Normal” to be double spaced and Helvetica font size 12. Here are the 4 quick steps that I took:

After I click “OK”, every spot where the “Normal” style was applied in the document gets automatically updated in one fell swoop. Yippee!! No more fiddling around line by line, only to have to redo formatting work if you add or subtract content. It’s an incredible timesaver.

2) Using styles, you can make use of the (hidden) document structure of your document.

Translated: when you build a professional looking document, you will want headings and subheadings. It makes the document easier to read if it’s well organized.

Some of the Word styles are set up for this. Look for outline styles called Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. As you apply these styles, you are building the document structure. You can only see the document structure when you turn on the Document Map.

I find the concept of having a document structure built into my document very useful when I start to write, especially if I’m experiencing writer’s block or am dealing with a complex subject. I can always start writing in one section where I know have information to contribute and I typically find that as I start, it becomes easier to write in the other sections.

For example, I’ll take a few minutes to outline the main sections of my document, as in:

Name of my section Style to apply
Introduction Heading 1
Main Point 1 Heading 1
  Sub Point 1 Heading 2
    Sub Sub Point 1 Heading 3
  Sub Point 2 Heading 2
Main Point 2 Heading 1
Analysis Heading 1
Conclusion Heading 1

Then as I write, I turn the Document Map on and off as I want so that I can make sure that the logical structure of my document is intact. It is SO USEFUL – you’ll love it.

3) Using the built-in outline level styles (e.g. heading 1, heading 2, heading 3, etc), you can have the software generate and update a table of contents for you.

When you build professional lengthy documents, a table of contents will help organize your sections by putting together an index that lists your section titles and the starting page numbers for each section.

As you add and remove content, you’ll want to help the reader navigate to specific sections and page numbers will change…alot, especially the more modifications you make to your document. So by using styles, and auto-generating a table of contents, your document section titles match their page numbers and your document looks even more professional. Another timesaver!

Next, you will want to find out what to do if you get a document that has messed-up styles. Read on…

Using the Document Map in Word

The Document Map in Word provides an outline of the sections in your document. Subsections are indented in the Document Map to show you that they are sub points.

At a glance you can see the writer’s logical progression of the topic that you are reading about. You can also use the Document Map to quickly navigate to different sections in the document, which is especially useful if it’s a lengthy document.

Before you can use the Document Map, apply outline-level styles to your section titles.

Outline level styles are built-in. In Word outline-level styles are called Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3 (up to 9 levels).

If you don’t like the way the section title looks, modify that style’s formatting attributes. If you want to know more about this or styles in general, read this article before going any further: Make Professional Looking Documents in Word (Part 1) .

To turn on the Document Map:

On a PC:

In Word 2007 and earlier, from the View menu, select Document Map.

In Word 2010, from the View section, select Navigation Pane and then the first button on the left.

On a Mac:

From the View menu, select Print Layout, then Navigation Pane, then from the drop down arrow, select Document Map.

The Document Map typically opens in the left side of your screen, in a separate pane.

To turn off the Document Map

Repeat the steps you followed to turn on the Document Map.

Make sure you turn the Document Map off before closing your document; otherwise the software will attempt to open a future document with the Document Map option turned on. And if that future document doesn’t yet have outline-level styles applied, you may encounter an error message so you may have to restart Word.

To go to another part of the document quickly

Once you’ve turned on the Document Map and it’s opened up on the left side of your window, click on a section title. The right side of your screen will reposition your cursor to the start of the section whose title you just clicked.

Once you get the hang of using the Document Map, you’ll find this feature one of your handy tricks to help you write, edit, and format professional documents. Have fun!

Reusing Online Content In Your Microsoft Word Documents

This tip will save you time and unnecessary heartache.

Here’s the scenario: You find some content during your web travels that is exactly what you’re looking for. You decide you need to include it in one of your Word documents. After pasting in the content, everything in your Word document looks screwy! What happened?!

Content on the Internet is formatted using Hypertext Markup Language or HTML. HTML formatting is not aligned to match the formatting codes in your Word document. That’s why formatting glitches occur if you simply paste in the online content.

So when you find something online that you want to reuse (see important note below), copy the online content and use the Paste Special command in Word. For the purpose of this quick tip, when I say content, I mean you are copying and pasting text and not pictures.

Here are two ways to use Paste Special in Word:

1)   In older versions of Word, click on the Edit Menu, then select Paste Special, and choose the option called “Unformatted Text”.

2)   In newer versions of Word, like Word 2007 and Word 2010, paste the online content. Look for the little yellow box that appears at the end of your pasted content and click on the box. Select Text Only.  (Word 2010 also allows you to preview your paste.  Here’s an excellent article and video about Paste Preview in Word 2010 ).

Using Paste Special will strip the HTML formatting from the pasted content and the content will align with the formatting codes in your current document. The result may not be exactly the look you were hoping for but now you are all set to take advantage of Microsoft Word’s powerful styles functionality. Stay tuned for information about Using Styles in Word in the next article.

***** IMPORTANT NOTE *****

If you do start reusing content from online places, please reference the original source for that information. Someone has gone to a lot of trouble to make that information available or there may be copyright issues in place.

When I’ve come across useful information in the past and I knew I was going to use it elsewhere, I would include the web address in my reference, whether I added in the reference as a footnote, in a comment box, or in the body of the text using parentheses. If there are copyright issues in place, contact the original author to ask permission to use his or her information before going ahead. You’ll be glad you did.