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General Tips and Tricks for using Wordprocessors.

What is the difference between Microsoft Word, Works, Wordpad; Corel WordPerfect, Lotus AmiPro, etc.? Well what is the difference between a Ford and a Chevy? The above programs are all wordprocessors and perform similar tasks, but the controls are in a different place. And the options are many.

There are 3 basic levels of wordprocessors. The bottom level has the fewest features. Wordpad falls in this category.

As of this writing (2016) and for some time now Microsoft has no longer provided Works.

The middle level has more features, but is less powerful than the top line.

The top lines have the most features.

For example, Wordpad is supplied free in all versions of Windows. It will format text,including color, insert pictures & do cut and paste. It has no spell check, no columns, no tables,

Feature

WordPad

Works (obsolete)

Word/WordPerfect/WordPro/LibraOffice/OpenOffice

text format

yes

yes

yes

text color

yes

yes

yes

pictures

yes

yes

yes

cut & paste

yes

yes

yes

spell check

no

yes

yes, larger dictionary

grammar check

no

no

yes

columns

no

yes, limited

yes, any combination

tables

no

no

yes

mail merge

no

yes

yes

envelopes

no

yes

yes

autocorrect

no

no

yes

borders

no

no

yes

default font

fixed

fixed

changeable

templates

no

yes

yes

highlight text

no

no

yes

cost (Or value.
May be supplied with a new computer.)

free

$50 -$100

$300-$500

These are only some of the available features, but should give you an idea of the differences.

Next, we will look at some ways to use them effectively. First, take a look at the shortcuts page. Most of these work in the wordprocessors as well.

Selecting text in a wordprocessor has some special features. After creating a document with a number of lines, try moving your mouse into the left margin until you can get the mouse arrow to change into an arrow pointing to the right. (The normal arrow points left) If you click the mouse, you will highlight the entire row all at once. If you click, hold and drag, you can select multiple rows.

You can control highlighting in many ways. Place your cursor within a word. Hold the Shift key down and use the left and right arrows to select characters one by one. Then try using Shift, Down arrow and Shift, Up arrow to select entire lines.

The next trick to try is placing the mouse arrow in a word and double click to select the whole word. Then try triple clicking and see what it does.

Also, since you are usually typing in a wordprocessor, using the keyboard to do things you normally do with the mouse increases your efficiency. Most operations can be done one of 3 ways. Keyboard, Icon and Menu. Both Icon and Menu require removing one hand from the keyboard, grabbing the mouse and clicking on something. As you open menus, look at the keyboard command and see if it won't save time. I use the keyboard for cut/copy and paste frequently to save time.

One other trick to try is to learn to turn on and off features in the menus and customize the menus. Each program has different levels of controls. Start by looking at the View menu to see what can be selected. Look through the icons in the toolbar(s) to see what is available. Hold the mouse still for a few seconds to see the pop up tooltip that tells what the icon does.

Click here for links to web sites with help for MSWord.

Click here for additional discussions of differences in the 3 levels of wordprocessors.

Note: this site is provided free. Donations are accepted to help support the work. Click here for instructions.


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