Nerding it up: Word processing basics

oatsandsugar —  August 3, 2010 — 2 Comments

I am a neat freak.  There I said it.

I’m not talking about physical neatness, my room is an absolute mess most of the time, and my handwriting is absolutely horrid, I’m talking about keeping a neat computer.  To do this, you need to: (1) make good notes/pretty assignments, (2) use a proper referencing system, (3) organise your notes well, (4) set up a proper backup system and (5) organise mobile access.  This may sound like a bit much, but trust me, it’s not too hard, and the time it saves you will definately make up for it.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be going over the above.  This week, I’ll start with some MS Word basics.

Be a Microsoft Word Ninja

Word is giant and awesome and powerful, I don’t pretend to know even a quarter of what Word can do, but I know some basics that really make your life a bit easier.  For the purpose of this walk-through, I’ll assume that you are using Windows 7 and Word 2007, though I’m sure it will translate to the other versions as well.

Using Headings and Making a Table of Contents:

Don’t do your headings manually (i.e. don’t change your font to change text to headings), use the headings in the style-sheet.  Use Title for your title, Heading 1 for your first level of subheadings, etc.

Don't use the fonts bar and underline, etc. to make headings.

Use "Styles", in the "home" tab: this is the default Heading 1.

Outline numbering automatically numbers headings in different levels, in the "home" tab, "paragraph" box, hit the button that looks like "1ai", it will set you up with outline numbering.

This lets you insert a table of contents. In the "reference" tab, "table of contents" area, hit the "insert table of contents" button. Also, you can add non-heading text to the table of contents by selecting it and hitting the "add text" button and selecting which level you want it to appear.

So now you know how to use styles, outline numbering and create a table of contents.  Next week I’ll be going over some more advanced Word techniques, including EndNote integration and creating your own shortcuts.




LLM candidate at Cornell Tech. Consultant for King & Wood Mallesons and Project Evangelist for Legalese.

2 responses to Nerding it up: Word processing basics


    Wow… I’m pretty organised, but really? A table of contents? Maybe that would do me some good on my other hard drive, it’s an absolute mess. I think I’ll try out the system. Except, I use Open Office instead. If Word is giant, awesome and powerful, or God, Open Office could at least be Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.


      In my degree we need to use tables of contents since all of our exams are open book: or notes would not be navigable enough without them 🙂
      OpenOffice is awesome! I used it through high-school and recommend it to everyone! I just need to use a word plug-in called endnote to manage my legal referencing (and word 2010 is pretty slick!).

      I think the method I showed above is quite translatable to OpenOffice, if you have any questions, shout them out at me and I’ll post an OpenOffice how-to.

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