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If, like many people of a certain age, you were thrown into the world of computers without ever having learned keyboarding (or as we used to call it, “typing”), you probably struggle with many everyday tasks you’re expected to perform. Fortunately, Word comes with many features designed to limit the amount of typing you actually have to do.
Have you ever noticed that when you start to type a day of the week, a little label appears that has the day you were typing followed by (Press ENTER to Insert)? This is an example of AutoText, a list of commonly-typed words and phrases that Word will complete for you if you press Enter.
2. Re-use similar documents
Make a new copy of the document you want to reuse by clicking on File, Save As, and giving it a different name. If you need to replace, say, every occurrence of the name “Smyth” with “Lynch”, click on Edit in the Menu Bar and click on Replace.
In the Find and Replace window that appears, type Smyth in the Find what: box, type jones into the Replace with: box, and click on Find Next. Word will highlight the next occurrence of Smyth. If the highlighted occurrence of Smyth is one that you want to replace with Lynch, click on Replace, and Word will replace this occurrence of Smyth with Lynch and automatically highlight the next occurrence of Smyth.
If you do not want to replace the occurrence of Smyth with Lynch, click Find Next and it will simply highlight the next occurrence of Smyth without making any changes. If you feel brave enough, go ahead and click Replace All: this will replace all occurrences of Smyth with Lynch without checking with you first. But be wary: if you have, say, the word Smythfield in your document, it will now say Lynchfield, without your being aware of it!
3. Make a template
Once you have typed and formatted a document that you will use over and over again with few changes, turn it into a template. Delete any text that will change every time you use the document, and click on File in the Menu Bar, click on Save As. In the File name: box type in the name you want to give to your template, and in the Save As Type: box just below the name, click on the dropdown list and select Document Template. You can now close your file. To find and use the template, click on File in the Menu Bar, click on New. On the right side of the screen, click on On my computer. The Templates window will appear, and your template will be displayed.
4. Better yet, use one of Word’s ready-made templates
If you click on File, then click on New, you will be able to choose from the templates already stored on your computer (by clicking on On my computer), or from the hundreds available at the Microsoft website by clicking on Templates on Office Online.
5. Create some shortcuts to automatically turn into blocks of text that you often use
For example, create shortcuts for your company name; for your signature block; for the typical opening and closing sentences of emails or letters that you often send. To create the shortcut, first type and format the text exactly as you want it to look. Select the text, click on Tools in the Menu Bar, and click on Autocorrect Options. The Autocorrect window will appear. In the Replace: box, type in the shortcut you want to use (I suggest you always begin a shortcut with the forward slash /). Click the Add button; click the OK button. To use the shortcut, type it in and press Enter.
Fran Christ, certified Microsoft Trainer, is the author of two Question-and-Answer columns at the website http://www.NextLevelSkills.net, where you can email her your Excel questions or problems for free help.