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June 18, 2009

Microsoft Word Skills Test

It amazes me that many of the people I work with and for do not have a basic understanding of Microsoft Word.

This is a fundamental skill for consultants, marketers or sales people. And one that can dramatically change your productivity, the quality of your outputs, and your ability to project a more professional brand.

This is a quick overview of some of the basic things you should be able to do quickly. (And Microsoft PowerPoint is another one, but thats for later)

Microsoft Word Skills Test

Do you know how to save a template as opposed to a document? Can you use templates once they have been saved?
Can you set and change headers and footers? Can you set different headers from page to page?

Can you turn one page only to a landscape position? (Leaving all other pages in portrait?)

Do you use formats instead of making one line bold and calling it a title?

Can you set formats so that they stay that way throughout your document? Yes? Then try these and see if your documents look better.
  • In "Normal" set the paragraph to be 6 pts after each paragraph. A good spacing. It makes the document look clean.
  • Set your alignment up for "justified". Then go into Tools | Language | Hyphenation and then check Automatically Hyphenate document. This makes the document look neat and automatically places a dash in a word if it is halfway through at the end of the sentence.
  • Try colored underlines of "heading" formats. A nice touch sometimes.
  • When writing in chapters or sections then use the paragraph section, again, to create a page break before the use of "Heading 1"
  • Make sure to set up headings to use an outlined Bulleted format. This makes life a lot easier when you need to refer to the document at some stage in the future. 
Do you have software to automatically turn these into PDF documents? No? Then try It's free and I've been using it for years.

Can you insert a table and modify it?

Do you know what the Table Autoformats do under the "Table" menu?

Can you use the auto fields? For example, can you enter a field that automatically calculates the line number in a Microsoft table?

Can you insert images and manipulate them so that they look as you like? (E.g. centered, to one side, mixed in with the text etc)

Can you set captions for figures, pictures, tables etcetera?

Can you insert cross references? Yes? great - can you make sure they are updated as the document grows?

Next Steps
Please leave some comments to let me know how you are with this stuff. For me, they are basic skills but essential nonetheless. 

If there is a shortage of skill sin this area among the blog readership then I will run a short series of ;posts on MS Word skills such as these, as well as MS PowerPoint and maybe even MS Excel. 

Let me know...

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