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Easy Automation in Microsoft Word 2003-Part 1

Adding automation to save time and eliminating steps in Word doesn’t just involve writing macros. A lot can be accomplished with built-in features available to everyone. In this first of a two-part series, learn how to customize your document formatting.

Changing Default Formatting

When you create a new Word document are you ready to type or do you need to spend extra time changing the font, margins, and other formatting? If most of your documents share a common look, it’s easy to change the defaults you use. In the next two sections, you will learn the simple steps to change font formatting and page layout.

Modifying Your Default Font

  1. Create a new, blank document.
     
  2. Choose Format > Font. Change the font from the standard Times New Roman 12 point to the style and size you want such as Arial 12 point.
     
  3. Next, don’t pick OK which only changes the current document. Instead, choose Default.
     
  4. You will see a prompt asking if you want to change the default font. This change will modify the normal template also known as the normal.dot file which stores many of the Microsoft Word settings. Select Yes to confirm the changes.

Customizing Page Layout and Margins

Ever since the days of Word 1.0, the default margins for a document have been 1” for the top and bottom and 1.25” for the left and right margins even though most people prefer 1” margins for each side. It’s also easy to change the settings for margins regardless of what you like to work with:

  1. Continue with a new, blank document.
     
  2. File > Page Setup, and pick the Margins tab.
     
  3. Change the margins to 1” all around or your own preference.
     
  4. Make other changes in these dialog tabs. For instance, you might want to set a custom footer or make changes to the Paper source.
     
  5. To set your custom defaults for all new, blank documents, pick the Default button.
     
  6. As before, you will be prompted to confirm the change to the normal template. Choose Yes to continue.

Try It!

  1. To test your custom changes, just close the blank document. There is no need to save this file; the new defaults are now part of Word’s standards.
     
  2. This is a good time to exit Word which saves the changes to the normal template. These changes do not affect existing documents-only new documents.
     
  3. Start up Word again. The blank document on the screen will automatically include your custom preferences for font and margins. Type out some sample text to try it.

Other new, blank documents will also start with your new formatting. You can, of course, always modify the formatting whenever the defaults don’t work for a specific document.

Customizing your default formatting is a great way to easily automate your work in Microsoft Word.

In the second part of this series, find out how to automate frequently used text entries with AutoCorrect and AutoText.

© Dawn Bjork Buzbee, MCT, The Software Pro®

Dawn Bjork Buzbee is The Software Pro® and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) as well as a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Master Instructor, certified Microsoft Applications Specialist (MCAS) Instructor, and a certified Microsoft Office expert. Dawn shares smart and easy ways to effectively use software through her work as a software speaker, trainer, consultant, and author of 8 books.

This article and more can be reprinted at no charge in your publications and website with copyright and attribution.
>>Learn more about how easy it is to share these valuable tips, tricks, and techniques.

>>Easy Automation in Microsoft Word - Part 2

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