Getting Started with Word

Opening Word

When you first open Word, you are presented with an array of choices. As shown in Figure 1-2, the left panel lists recent files that you have been working on. The middle panel provides a set of document types that you may use. The first two choices are templates for blank documents, which is what you will select if you are creating a new document without using a template. The other choices are templates that Microsoft has created to provide a starting point for new documents. Along the top are other categories with additional templates that you can search for and use. The top right corner lists your Microsoft account.

Figure 1.2: Opening Microsoft Word

Navigating the Word Environment

Figure 1.3: The Word Environment

Figure 1-3 illustrates the basic layout of Word once you get a document opened. This figure contains the document that we will use in the demonstrations in this chapter. Let's look at the various items that are displayed on this screen.

  • Quick Access Toolbar

Figure 1.4: Quick Access bar

The Quick Access Toolbar, as seen in Figure 1-4, displays shortcut icons for frequently used tools. You can add buttons to this bar that you use frequently. Clicking the (dropdown) button will show you a list of common buttons added to this bar. I have Spelling and Grammar added to my bar because I use that frequently and it is not on the Home Ribbon.

  • Ribbon Menu Tabs

Figure 1.5: Menu Tabs

The Menu Tabs along the top of the screen, as shown in Figure 1-5, provide major categories of tools and features available in Microsoft Word. Each of the tabs is associated with an entire set of menu items. This band of menu items associated with each tab is called the Ribbon. Sometimes if you install Add-Ins to the applications in the Office Suite, additional tabs will be added. We will discuss each of these in the following section.

  • Status Bar

Figure 1.6: Status Bar

The Status Bar is shown in Figure 1-6. It displays along the bottom of the Word window and has information on the left side and icons on the right side. The information on the left shows the number of pages and the number of words in the document. The grammar icon opens up an editing panel to help you work with grammar and spelling tools. We will discuss those later.

On the right side of the Status Bar are icons to change the way the document is viewed. Normally there are three possible views; Print view, which is used for editing and viewing what the pages look like if printed, Read view, which is similar to a magazine layout, and HTML view, which is what the text looks like when viewed with a browser.

Finally on the right side is the zoom slider, which allows you to change the size of the document as you view it.

The Ribbon Menu Tabs

In this section we will review in more detail the functions and features available in each of the major Menu Tabs. Figure 1-5 shows the Menu tabs that will be discussed. Word has literally dozens of menu items that you can access.

The primary features available in each group are displayed as icons. However, hidden within some of the menu groups are many other menu items that are not shown. You can access the menu items that are not shown by clicking on the small arrow icon in the bottom right corner of these menu groups.

In addition, to the right of many of the individual menu icons there is a small down arrow. Clicking on that small down arrow will open a drop down menu with multiple options for that menu item.

For example, clicking on the U icon for a selected line of text will underline the text. However, clicking on the small arrow will allow you to choose what kind of underline you want – single line, double line, dashed lined, and so forth. Don't let the number of features and menu items overwhelm you; while each item can perform a helpful task, there are many items that you may never use.

The ribbon can be displayed or hidden. The small push pin at the far right will pin the ribbon so that it is always displayed.

To hide the ribbon, click on the small up arrow, which replaces the push pin when the ribbon is pinned.

The File Tab and Backstage View

The File menu tab contains the menu items associated with managing document files. This is sometimes referred to as the Backstage View. The "File" menu tab contains the menu items necessary for working with documents. It is referred to backstage, because it is not used for entering or editing text. It contains status information about the document and menu items such as inspecting, printing, saving, and protecting the document. It also contains configuration options.

You will notice that the "File" menu is different from the other tabs in Word. First, it is a different color than the other tabs. In addition, clicking on the "File" menu tab causes the entire current document to be replaced with the "File" menu items (see Figure 1-7). Clicking on any other tab reveals a new set of icons in the ribbon area that can be used with the open document.

Figure 1.7: Backstage view from File Menu tab.

The left column of the "File" menu contains major categories of tasks that can be performed on documents. The "Info" portion of the "File" menu displays information about the current document and the users who have contributed to the file.

The "New" portion of the "File" menu contains features related to creating a new document. This is the same view that displayed when you first opened Word, as you saw in Figure 1-2. You will notice that you can create a blank document or documents that are based on templates. Templates can be particularly useful because they often contain data, formatting and calculations that relate to common word processing documents like (reports, letters, resumes and flyers).

"Open" is used to select a different document that you want to be opened in Word (Figure 1-7). Here you can open recently used documents or select a document that has been saves on the Skydive (a cloud service provided by Microsoft) or locally on your computer.

Normally you will open files with an extension of .doc or .docx. The .doc files are files that are saved in Word 2007 or earlier versions. The .docx files are ones that are saved in Word 2010, 2013 or 2016 format. Word is backward compatible and can work with either types of files.

Word 2013 also has a nice tool that will open .pdf files and convert them to Word format so that they can be edited. Using this conversion feature is helpful if you have a .pdf file that you need to edit. In some instances not all of the .pdf file is converted correctly, particularly the image layout and formatting. As will be noted later, Word 2013 also can save files in .pdf format.

Figure 1.8: "Open" Menu from backstage

The "Save" and "Save As" menu items allow you to (1) save the current document, (2) save a copy of the current document with a new name or location, or (3) save a copy of the current document as a different file type. These options can be helpful as you gain experience with some of the more advanced features in Word. Figure 1-9 illustrates many of the different formats that can be used for saving your document. Notice that a PDF version is included as one of the save-as options.

Figure 1.9: Save As formats

The "Print" menu area contains items related to printing a document. These items include selecting the correct printer, manipulating the various printer functions, and sending a document to the printer. The "Print" area also displays a preview of how a particular document will look once printed.

The "Share" menu item, see Figure 1-10, includes productivity features to facilitate sharing your work with other colleagues. In Figure 1-10, we only show the email options. You should click on the other submenu items and view the options available within each one. The share option is often helpful if you are working together in a collaborative effort. The same results can be achieved outside of Word by sending email attachments or by posting your document in the cloud. However, these features within Microsoft Word provide a quick and easy way to share your work. The four submenu items are:

  • Invite someone – save in the cloud, then share the link with a colleague

  • Email – send the document as an attachment, as a pdf attachment, or send a link to a saved document

  • Post Online – posts it online so it can be viewed with a browser

  • Post to Blog – post it to you blog

Figure 1.10: Share option with the email submenu item

The "Export" area allows you to convert your work to another file format (such as PDF) for those colleagues who prefer to review the work in a different application. This option duplicates some of the features of the Save As file type option.

The "Close" menu option closes the open document. The "Options" set of menu items allows you to customize the appearance and functionality of Word. Finally, the "Account" menu item allow you to manage your Microsoft accounts.

The HOME Menu Tab

Figure 1-11 shows the specific menu items available under the "Home" tab. Each of the major menu areas is further organized into specific groups that are separated with vertical lines.

It is worth noting that it is possible that the menu displayed on Figure 1-11 will not exactly match the menu you will see when you open Word on your computer, but it should be pretty close. In fact, it is possible to customize which Menu Tabs are visible, which groups are visible, and even which menu icons are visible.

As you can see, the "Home" menu area is divided into menu groups (such as "Clipboard," "Font," "Paragraph," "Styles," and "Editing"). Within each group there are associated menu icons that are the most frequently used items.

Figure 1.11: The HOME Tab and Menu Items on the ribbon

The Home menu tab contains the most frequently used features in Word for typing and formatting text. These features can be used to edit and enhance the text in a document. We will review many of these menu icons in later sections.

The INSERT Menu Tab

The Insert menu tab with its ribbon allows you to insert many non-text type items into your document. It is shown in Figure 1-12. Where the Home ribbon is focused towards creating text, the Insert ribbon is for inserting other items such as a cover page, tables, and pictures and other illustrations. Use this ribbon to insert hyperlinks, bookmarks, and cross-references. Headers and footers can also be inserted. A footer allows the document author to include document title, page number, and possibly a date on each page.

Fancy text, such as Word Art or a Drop Cap, as well as putting text within a box, can be inserted using the "text" group. Mathematical equations and symbols, such as Greek symbols, can also be added if you are creating a technical document or a paper on mathematics.

Figure 1.12: The INSERT Menu Tab

The DESIGN Menu Tab

The purpose of the Design tab with its ribbon, as shown in Figure 1-13, is to choose an overall theme and design for the document. Most of the menu items in this ribbon affect the entire document. Themes can be used to set the fonts for the text as well as different levels of headings. Paragraph spacing, such as single or double, can be set for selected text or for the entire document. Special effects such as fancy buttons are set with this ribbon.

The format of the pages themselves can also be chosen such as page background colors or page borders. If there is a need to add background watermark text, this can be formatted and included. Usually the items under this tab are used to set up the defaults for the entire document.

Figure 1.13: The DESIGN Menu Tab


The Page Layout tab with its ribbon, seen in Figure 1-14, is used to give more precise control over the pages in the document. The three primary groups on this ribbon are Page Setup, Paragraph, and Arrange. The Page Setup items allow you to set page size, orientation, and page margins. You can also divide the page into columns. Line numbers and page or section breaks can also be inserted.

The paragraph group controls the indentation, line spacing, and inter-paragraph spacing. The Arrange group controls the arrangement and overlay of figures or other items on the page.

Some of the features in this ribbon can apply to the entire document. Often, however, menu items on this ribbon are often used to do special formatting of "selected" items on the page.

Figure 1.14: The PAGE LAYOUT Menu Tab


The purpose of the References tab with menu ribbon is to provide features for writing more formal documents such as research papers, theses, or scholarly articles. These types of documents generally have a table of contents, citations, footnotes, bibliographies, and an index. It is always possible to add these items to a document manually. However, using the features provided in Word through this ribbon allows the author to use the automatic creation of the table of contents, a table of authorities, a table of figures, an index, and so forth.

Figure 1-15 shows the ribbon with six groups of menu icons – Table of Contents, Footnotes, Citations, Captions, Index, and Table of Authorities. The menu items permit the author to identify specific text in the document as headings, footnotes, citations, captions, and so on. Then those identified items can be automatically combined to produce document wide features such as table of contents or an index.

Figure 1.15: The REFERENCES Menu Tab


One of the powerful features of Microsoft Word is the ability to write a letter or document and send it to multiple people, with the letter personalized with each person's name and address. This feature is called Mail Merge. Mail merge means to merge a static block of text with dynamic fields that will contain individual names, addresses, and other dynamic information.

You may have noticed as you viewed previous ribbons that some menu icons are enabled and some are disabled. The enabled icons have dark lettering; the disabled icons have grey lettering. In this ribbon it is more evident that several icons are disabled. Menu icons are disabled when they do not apply. Some features can only be applied when text is selected. Some features depend on other features having been invoked first. For example in the Mailings ribbon shown in Figure 1-16, the Preview Results is disabled. It is disabled because the document has not been formatted and prepared completely for the mail merge to be activated.

Notice in this ribbon, that mail merge has tools to create a document, select a list of recipients, add the dynamic fields to the document, preview, check for errors, and finalize the mail merge. Either envelopes or labels can also be printed from the list of recipients. Mail merge is a powerful feature of Microsoft Word. You will learn how to use it in a later section.

Figure 1.16: The MAILINGS Menu Tab

The REVIEW Menu Tab

Often people collaborate when creating a document. In fact we, the co-authors of this textbook, wrote the original version using Microsoft Word and collaborated in our work. In a different scenario, perhaps a single author creates a document and creates multiple revisions or versions. Perhaps the author had an editor review the document and make corrections or suggestions. The Review tab and ribbon, shown in Figure 1-17, provides the set of tools to effectively do this collaboration.

As can be seen in the figure, (Figure 1-17) there are seven groups on this ribbon. The first two, Proofing and Language, allow you to invoke the grammar and spelling checkers for specific languages. The next group, Comments allow a reviewer to insert comments and the original author to view and review the comments. The Tracking group has features to turn on and off the tracking of any changes to the document. Perhaps the reviewer desires to rewrite a sentence or paragraph. Tracking will keep the old and show the new. Then the Changes group will allow the original author to accept or reject the specific change that was made. The Compare group will compare versions of the document to find differences. If it is necessary to freeze the document, it can be protected so that changes cannot be made. Your screen may also show two additional groups that help to link to One Note and to modify paragraph formatting.

The features in this ribbon provide effective tools for more formal documents that require editing and revising.

Figure 1.17: The REVIEW Menu Tab

The VIEW Menu Tab

Finally the View tab with its ribbon provides tools to display the document or multiple documents. Figure 1-18 illustrates the View ribbon. The first three groups, Views, Show, and Zoom, allow you to view the document with various display options. The next group, called Window, allows you to make multiple copies of the document so that you can view one part of a document while working at another location in the document. The final group, Macros, provides tools to create and edit macros.

Figure 1.18: The VIEW Menu Tab

Getting Help

Finally, with all of the options and features available in Word, it is nearly impossible to keep track of them all. It is not uncommon to need help along the way. In addition to the large amount on Word content that is available on the Internet, there is a large help database available within Word. To access this help, click on the "?" icon in the top right corner of any Word window. The "Word Help" area ( Figure 1-19 ) provides access to Microsoft's extensive online help materials, information about how to get started with Word, as well as information about the version of Word you are using. As you gain more experience with Word, you will find that using the help features can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Figure 1.19: Microsoft Online Help