MSWord Page Layout

Page Layout

In earlier lessons, you learnt about Shortcuts, Navigation and Options. Now you are almost ready to learn how to change the Letter to Format so that it will print out like the Letter Example below.

Learn about margins
Use the Reveal Formatting pane

1.        Learn about margins

This is how the margins are set up. See how the arrows show where the measurements apply. The header takes up the upper part of the top margin and the footer takes up the lower part of the bottom margin.

Illustrates a page with body text and top, bottom, left and right margins. Shows the spacing of header and footer from text and page edes.
A page showing top, bottom, left and right margins, with header and footer.

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2.  Use the Reveal Formatting pane

Place your cursor in the paragraph whose formatting you want to see, press Shift+F1, and the Reveal Formatting pane opens on the right of your screen.

The Reveal Formatting pane featured in an earlier blog post.

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– Display settings

MSWord Options 3 – Personalise Display Settings

Options – Personalise your Display settings

MSWord allows you to personalise many settings under File – Options – Advanced. Scroll down the Advanced settings to see what is available. Below I explain the Display settings.

To personalise your Display settings:

  1. Go to the File tab and select the Options button.
  2. In the left pane of the Word Options dialog box, select the Advanced option.
  3. Scroll down to see the Display block.
    Note the position of the slider in the vertical scroll bar shown in the illustration below.
The Word Option’s dialog box showing the Display block

Show this number of recent documents. – Enter the number of items, between 1 and 50, to display in the Recent Documents list. After you press Ctrl+o, Pinned and Recent documents are displayed in the Open pane, shown below. Note that the recent documents are labelled “Today” and not “Recent”.

Recent and Pinned documents are displayed in the Open pane.
  • To remove a file from the Recent Documents list, right-click on the filename and select Remove from list from the drop-down menu.
  • To clear all the entries from the Recent Documents list, right-click on the last filename in the list and select Clear unpinned items from the drop-down menu.
  • To pin a document to the top of the list, select the filename and click on the ‘pin’ in the centre of the highlighted area, as shown below.

Quickly access this number of Recent Documents – Enable the Quick Access Recent documents list

Show this number of unpinned Recent Folders – (Added in 2013)

Show measurements in units of Select the measurement unit that you want to use for the horizontal ruler and for measurements that you type in dialog boxes. As you can see in the illustration, I use “Centimeters”.

Style area pane width in Draft and Outline views  Type a positive decimal, such as 0.5, in the box to open the style area, which displays the names of the styles applied to text. To close the style area, enter 0. I use “3 cm”.

Show pixels for HTML features Select this option to use pixels as the default unit of measurement in dialog boxes that are related to HTML features.

Show shortcut keys in Screen Tips Select this option to display keyboard shortcuts in the Screen Tips that appear when you hover your cursor over an item in a toolbar.

Show horizontal scroll bar – Select this option to display the horizontal scrollbar at the bottom of the document window.

Show vertical scroll bar – Select this option to display the vertical scroll bar on the right of the document window.

Show vertical ruler in Print Layout view – Select this option to display the vertical ruler at the left of the screen. Select the Ruler check box in the Show/Hide group on the View tab of the Ribbon to display the horizontal ruler at the top of the screen.

Optimize character positioning for layout rather than readability – Select this option to display character positioning accurately as it will appear in the printed document with respect to blocks of text. However, spacing between characters may be distorted so, for better on-screen readability, leave this option unticked.

Disable hardware graphics acceleration – Hardware graphics acceleration is enabled to move all graphics and text rendering from CPU to GPU (a chip on your graphics card) for better performance. However, it increases the burden on the graphics card. If you experience crashes, slowness, blurred text and cursor hanging when running Office, turning off hardware graphics acceleration should solve the problem.

Update document content while dragging – This option allows you to see what the document content will look like when you drag an object with text wrapping, or when you move, resize or rotate objects.

Use subpixel positioning to smooth fonts on screen – It just seems sensible to have this option enabled.

Show pop-up buttons for adding columns and rows in tables. I find this very annoying because it gets in the way of my cursor.

To see all the MSWord Options, go to Better Solutions.com. They have taken a lot of trouble to present the information so that it is easily accessible.

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– Display grey field shading
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MSWord Options 2 – Display field shading

Options – Display grey field shading

The Collins Dictionary says “A field is an area of a computer’s memory or a program where data can be entered, edited, or stored.” MSWord has fields such as date and author fields that it stores in its File Properties.

You cannot change the text in a field because it changes back as soon as you print the document.  You therefore need to be able to see fields so that you do not change them by mistake.  Word allows you to display the fields with a grey highlight.  In order to do so:

  1. Go to the File tab and select the Options button.
  2. In the left pane of the Word Options dialog box, select the Advanced option.
  3. In the right pane, under the heading, Show document content, change the Field Shading to “Always”, as shown below:
Word Options dialog box - Advanced > Show document content
Word Options > Advanced > Show document content

If you want to change a field in the text, you must first “lock” it (Ctrl+Shift+F9) and then make your change

OR

Go to the Properties pane where the field originates and change the text there.  Go to the File tab, Info option to see the Properties pane on the right. Click in a field in the right-hand column of the Properties pane to add or change text.

If you cannot see the property you want, click Show All Properties, as shown below.

Word Options > Info > Properties > Show All Properties

Six more properties are displayed, as shown below, highlighted by an orange border.

The Properties pane has two columns. The fields are in the right-hand column and the field names are on the left.

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– See hidden text
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MSWord Options 1 – See hidden text

OptionsSee hidden text

To see section breaks, paragraph breaks, page breaks, tabs and spaces:

1. Click on the File tab.

2. Click on the Options option (at the bottom left).

3. In the left pane of the Word Options dialog box, select the Display option.

The Word Options dialog box >  Display option
The Word Options dialog box > Display option

4. In the right pane, under the second heading, Always show these formatting marks on the screen, tick the box on the left of Show all formatting marks.

5. Do this whenever you are troubleshooting.

TIP  You can quickly toggle this option on or off by clicking the Show/Hide icon (which depicts a paragraph break symbol [called a pilcrow] – ¶) in the Paragraph group of the Home tab (or pressing the shortcut, Ctrl+shift+8).

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– Navigation around a document
Go to the next lesson – See field shading

MSWord – Remove colour from paragraphs

Remove unwanted shading from paragraphs

Sometimes a paragraph has white or coloured shading behind the text, even though, when you go to Borders and Shading > Shading > Fill, Word tells you there is “No color”.  It usually happens when text has been copied and pasted from the Internet.

Try the simplest solutions first.  Maybe you can simply restore the default font.

Restore default font

Select the paragraph (by triple-clicking in the margin beside it) and press Ctrl+spacebar

If that does not remove the coloured fill (shading), see if the colour is a highlight.

Remove highlighting

Select the paragraph (by triple-clicking in the margin beside it).  Go to the Home tab > Font group > Text Highlight Color dropdown arrowhead > No color.  (The Text Highlight Color icon has “ab” to the left of a highlighter pen over a bar the colour of the highlighting.)

If that does not remove the colour, you need to fix the shading.

If the shaded paragraphs are consecutive, select them all.

If you have many intermittent paragraphs with shading, make sure your Borders and Shading button is on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to save yourself extra mouse clicks.

Put Borders and Shading on the QAT

Go to the Insert tab (which used to be called a menu). Select the Table  down-arrowhead.  The Insert Table dropdown menu appears.  Select the top-left cell.  A one-cell table is inserted with your cursor in it and the Table Tools tab in your toolbar.  Go to the Design tab > Table Styles group > Borders down-arrowhead.  The Borders and Shading option is at the bottom of the dropdown menu. Right-click it to see a dropdown submenu with “Add to Quick Access Toolbar” as the first option.  Select it.  The Borders and Shading button is added to your QAT.

Remove Shading

Triple-click in the margin beside the paragraph with shading to select it.  Hold down the Shift key and press the Left Arrow key once so that only the text is selected.  Click on the Borders and Shading button in the QAT > Shading > Fill > No color.

Repeat as often as necessary, using the F4 key.

Use F4 to redo.

The F4 function key allows you, with one key press, to repeat the last action you did that was not a move or a selection, i.e., in this case, apply No color.

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Reveal Formatting

A very useful feature in Word is the Reveal Formatting pane. The keyboard shortcut is Shift-F1. Click on different paragraphs to give try it out.

Thanks to Bruce Conradie for telling me about it. I love learning new things like this.

The Reveal Formatting pane is also mentioned in instructions about how to format a business letter. They are part of a manual about how to format a document manually in Word 2019. Go to the Manual contents

Word Units of Measurement

Setting the unit of measurement

Microsoft Word’s unit of measurement follows the regional settings in Windows but can be changed in Word. Go to FileOptionsAdvancedDisplay, as shown in the Word Options dialog box below.

Setting units of measurement in Microsoft Word
Setting your units of measurement

Microsoft Word’s Tables of Figures

You can have separate lists or tables of the figures, pictures, or tables in your Word document, similar to a table of contents. The default is a table of figures. But MS-Word can only generate a table of figures if you have previously inserted MS-Word’s captions to mark the figures. Click here to find out how to handle captions. This blog post tells you how to insert a table of figures and how to update it.

Inserting a Table of Figures

Put your cursor where you want your table of figures to be.

  1. Go to the References tab, run your eye along the bottom of the ribbon to the Captions block, and click the Insert Table of Figures button. (Note: If your Word document is not maximized, the Insert Table of Figures option might not be visible. Some minimized views show only the Insert Table of Figures icon.)
  2. The Table of Figures dialog box pops up.
  3. You can change the font and paragraph format by unticking the boxes on the face of the dialog box – but you do not usually need to untick any of them.
  4. The Options… button. If you did not use the caption style for your figure captions, you can tell Word what style you did use by clicking on the Options… button.  The Table of Figures Options dialog box pops up.
  5. The Modify… button. Word uses the Table of Figures style for the entries in your list of figures. You can change the styles format by clicking on the Modify… button. The Style dialog box pops up, and asks you to select the appropriate style for your index or table entry. It has another Modify… button and, if you click on it, the usual Modify Style dialog box pops up.
  6. Make the changes you want. I advise setting a left tab of about 2,5 cm.
  7. Click the OK button or press the Enter key as many times as necessary to get out of the dialog boxes.

Word then searches the document for your captions and automatically adds a list of figures, sorted by figure number and page number.

Updating a table of figures

If you add, delete, change, or move captions, you need to update the table of figures to reflect your changes:

  1. Click in the table of figures in your document. The entire table will be highlighted.
  2. Press F9 or click References > Update Table. (Note: Update Table only becomes an option when you have your cursor in the table of figures.)
  3. The Update Table of Figures dialog box pops up.
  4. Select Update page numbers if you need to adjust the page numbers.
  5. Select Update entire table if you have moved figures or altered captions.
  6. Click the OK button or press the Enter key.

Tip: Do not try to type changes in the table of figures. Make changes to the captions and then put your cursor in the table of figures and press F9 to make them reflect there.

Microsoft Word’s Captions

Captions in documents

Figure 1. Captions are important

A caption accompanies a figure, table, equation or other object, such as a box or a photograph. Figure captions are the default.

A caption usually has three components: a customisable label (like “Figure”, “Table”, “Equation”) plus an ordered number or letter that Word inserts for you (e.g., “1, 2, 3…” or “a, b, c…”), followed by a description.

The advantages to using MS-Word’s caption fields are that, if you add, delete, or move captions, you can easily update the caption numbers all at once; and that you can list the captioned items; for example, in a table of figures or a table of equations.

Click here to open a PDF of the instructions below – with illustrations.

Changing a caption

There are different ways of inserting captions and formatting them, which you get by selecting buttons in the dialog boxes. I suggest you explore them to see what suits you. You can:

Manually positioning the figure and its caption

If you have your cursor in the paragraph above or below the figure when you click on Insert Caption, the Position textbox is greyed out, and it is up to you to keep the figure and its caption on the same page.

(To keep the figure and its caption on the same page, put your cursor in the first paragraph, go to the Home tab > Paragraph group > dialog box launcher > Line and Page Breaks tab > tick the box labelled Keep With Next.)

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Automatically positioning the figure and its caption

If you select the figure before you click on Insert Caption, the Position textbox is not greyed out, you can specify whether the caption is inserted above or below the figure.

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Excluding the word “Figure” from the label

If you just want the number to show in the caption, tick the box labelled Exclude label from caption.

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Changing the number format

To change the 1-2-3 numbers in figure labels to a-b-c or i-ii-iii, click on the Numbering button. The Caption Numbering dialog box pops up with the Format text box selected. Change the number by selecting from the Format drop-down list.

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Including the heading number with the figure number

You can include the chapter, section or heading number with the figure number (e.g., Figure II-1, Table 1-A). To do this, tick the box labelled Include chapter number. The greyed-out items below it are activated:

  • Click the down-arrow on the right of the Chapter starts with style label to see a drop-down list of styles. Select the style of the heading whose number you want to include; and
  • Click the down-arrow on the right of the Use separator label to see a drop-down list of punctuation. Select the punctuation you want between the chapter number and the figure number

Click on the OK button or press the Enter key.

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Formatting captions

After you have added a caption to your document, there will be a Caption style in the style gallery.

To change the formatting of all the captions in your document, right-click the Caption style and choose Modify.

The Modify Style dialog box pops up, as shown below. Many modifications to the font and paragraph are available in the Formatting group, and the effect of a change is shown in the Sample text. More modifications can be made by clicking on the Format button at the bottom left of the dialog box.

Click here to find out how to list your figures in a table of figures.

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Microsoft Word’s Tables of Figures from Captions

Tables of Figures and Figure Captions

MS-Word can add an automatic, updatable table of figures to your document.

But how? As my fellow editor said, “‘The last List of Figures I generated hyperlinked only one item on the list – the rest were not linked.”

This happened because MS-Word can only add a table of figures if you have previously inserted MS-Word’s captions to mark the figures. MS-Word can only ‘see’ its own captions; it does not detect manually inserted figure labels and so does not include them in the list of figures.

I have explained them in separate blog posts. One explains figure captions and the other explains how to list them in a table of figures. Click on the underlined words to go there.

Click here if you want to open a PDF that explains everything in one document- with illustrations.