The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #67222   Message #1125262
Posted By: JohnInKansas
27-Feb-04 - 01:04 PM
Thread Name: Tech: Alternatives to Office and Word
Subject: RE: Tech: Alternatives to Office and Word
Most "fully comliant" windows programs allow you to use the same "View - Toolbars - Customize" to move buttons around from one bar to another. You have a very similar, but less detailed, display in Internet Explorer, for example.

It really isn't too difficult to create a "custom" toolbar and put a few of your favorite buttons on it. This can sometimes avoid needing to have another larger toolbar open; and can save some space on the screen to work in, especially if you can avoid having one or two of the larger standard toolbars displayed.

Word2002 goes to extremes with the File - New thing, and displays several categories of "things you can do." (I find it rather annoying that it takes half the options window to ask me if I want to open a document when I click File - New. If I wanted to open a document I'd have clicked File - Open, but...) It displays, conspicuously, the two or three templates you've used most recently, but to open a new document with a template you haven't used recently, you have to search out the one you want. My "custom toolbar" has two buttons that I created, each of which opens a new document using a different specific template. I use these two layouts quite frequently, but apparently not consistently enough to keep them up as the "recent" choices. Clicking one of these buttons does the same thing as "File - New - New from template, General Templates - General Tab - scroll to find the one you want, and click it. One click on my "new card" button, and the new blank document I need to put stuff the way I want it on a 5x8 index card is up.

Word has a number of "floating toolbars" that pop up when you need them. If you insert a picture, when you click on the picture the "Picture Toolbar" should pop up. The default is that it "floats" somewhere in the middle of the screen. If you click and drag it up to the toolbar, it will open there the next time you click on a picture. I prefer to have it "on the bar" so that I don't have to keep moving it around to see the stuff I'm working on. If you decide that you want to "float" it again, just drag it back out into the middle of the screen the next time it's open.

In Word Perfect, character format is controlled by those "codes" that are placed in line with the text. In Word, the character format for a paragraph is "contained in the carriage return" at the end of the paragraph. If you've turned them on to show, you can select the "paragraph mark" at the end of one paragraph, (Hold Shift, and "arrow" across it) copy it, and paste it at the end of another paragraph to "apply" the "character style" of the first paragraph to another one. We used that a lot before the "Paint Format" brush came along. It might still come in handy.

In Word, the "document format" is in the file trailer/footer, which is "contained in" the last carriage return for the document. It's rarely needed with newer Word versions, but those still using Word95/98 or earlier should know that a "corrupted" Word file can often be "salvaged" by copying everything except the last carriage return to a new document.

A documented, but apparently not widely known, way of "corrupting" a Word file is to insert a bookmark at the beginning of the document. Every Word document has a "hidden" book mark - call it "home" - at it's beginning. If you insert a new bookmark that includes the first cursor position at the start of the document, you may replace the "home" bookmark with your own. Since Word keeps track of a lot of stuff by its offset from start of file, the document may fall apart. There's little reason to need a bookmark there, since Control-Home always takes you there, but if you really need your own bookmark at the start of the document, omit at least one character (it can be a space, or a hidden character) from the start of the bookmark. This may have been "fixed" in newer versions, but I'm so used to "avoiding the first char" that I ain't gonna test it.

In principle, it would seem that you might corrupt the document similarly by pasting a carriage return, as mentioned above, over the last carriage return of a document. The last ¶ "contains" the last paragraph's character format and the document format, and the paste only replaces the paragraph's character format, so it's not a problem there.

Especially with newer versions, Word is astonishingly "stable." It's a little depressing that all the problems I've learned to solve seem to have gone away (although some old tricks do come in handy). Now it's just a matter of getting set up to turn off all the "idiot" stuff that's defaulted in.

Those WP people who are justifiably proud of what they've learned about "Word Perfect arcane codes" may see from the above that there's a whole new fertile ground of "arcana" to pick up with Word. :-)