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Word 2010

By Chris Dillon. Version 2, 10 September, 2010. Latest version at: www.quickanddirty.org.uk

1.    Interface

Word 2010 has a radically different interface from previous versions, such as Word 2003. For example, where the menus used to be, you will find the ribbon, which is divided into tabs such as File, Home, Insert etc. These tabs in turn are divided into groups. The name of each group is at the bottom of it. To display more options, click the Dialog box launcher. This is a small icon at the bottom right of some of these groups.

2.    File format

Currently many people are unable to read Word 2010 documents created in the default .docx file format. The best thing to do is to set Word 2010 to create documents in the Word 2003 .doc format. You can do this by clicking the File tab and Options. Then select Save in the column on the left and Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc) in the Save files in this format drop-down box in the panel on the right. Click OK.

3.    Basic commands

Click the File tab for basic commands such as New [document] (Ctrl-N), Open (Ctrl-O), Save (Ctrl-S), Print (Ctrl-P) and Close (Ctrl-W). Save As (F12) is used for e.g. creating new versions of documents, saving a document in another format (including the old Word 97-2003 format) or creating a template (File | New to display the templates available to you). The  Options button is found at the bottom of the dialog box which appears when you click the File tab and gives you access to many of Word’s settings.

  • Note that most Word 2003 keyboard shortcuts, e.g. Ctrl-S, still work in Word 2010. Word 2010 has a good collection of its own shortcuts. One way of accessing them is to press Alt, wait a moment and then press the letters that appear on the keyboard.
  • To the top left of the ribbon, there is the Quick Access toolbar with commonly used commands such as the Save (Ctrl-S) and Redo (Ctrl-Z). To add a command you use frequently to this toolbar, right-click on the command’s button and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar. (There is also an option to customise the toolbar.)

Cut (Ctrl-X), Copy (Ctrl-C) and Paste (Ctrl-V)

Buttons for these functions are to be found on the Clipboard group on the left of the ribbon on the Home tab. After you have pasted something, a smart tag will appear. Click on this to specify how the pasted text etc. should be formatted. To see which pieces of text etc. are on the clipboard, click the dialog box launcher on the Clipboard group.

Find (Ctrl-F) and Replace

  • To find or replace text, click the Find button in the Editing group on the Home tab.


  • To change the document view, go to the Document Views group on the View tab.

Print Preview

  • To see what a document looks like before you print it, click the File tab and Print.
    The right pane displays what your document will look like.

5.    Formatting


The default font is Calibri, 11pt. See the Font group on the Home tab for common formatting options, such as bold.

The Font dialog box launcher has two tabs – Font for options such as Shadow, and Advanced for Character Spacing which includes kerning (adjusting the space between characters) etc.

To change Word’s default font, set the font and point size on the Font tab and click Det As Default (bottom left) and then OK.

To clear font-formatting from a selection, click the Clear Formatting button in the Font group (it has AB and a rubber on it) or press Ctrl-Spacebar.

If you want to be sure that those receiving your document will see your fonts as you intend, embed the fonts in your document by going to File | Options | Save and selecting Embed fonts in the file in the pane on the right.

Paragraph formatting

The Paragraph group on the Home tab includes the Show/Hide button for (non-printing) formatting marks. It is recommended that you work with this switched on, as it is helpful if something goes wrong with your formatting.

Other useful options are:

  • Bulleted and numbered lists (Use the drop-down box for more options. If numbering goes wrong, select the list, right-click and use Continue Numbering or Set Numbering Value.)
  • Indents (For more options e.g. hanging and first line indents, see the Special drop-down when you click the Paragraph dialog box launcher.)
  • Alignment
  • Line and Paragraph Spacing (The drop-down box includes most options inc. space before and after paragraphs.)
  • Borders (Includes horizontal lines. More options are available from the bottom option, Borders and Shading, in the drop-down list.)
  • Shading

You do not need to highlight the paragraph for these to work, just put your cursor somewhere in the paragraph and click the button or press the keyboard shortcut. As usual, there are more options in the Paragraph dialog box launcher.

To copy formatting from one selection to another, click the Format Painter button (which looks like a paintbrush) in the Clipboard group. If you double-click the button instead, you can apply the formatting to other selections until you click it again.

To insert a line break (when you want to end the line, but do not want a new paragraph possibly with space before it), press Shift-Enter.


Click the Margins button in the Page Setup group on the Page Layout tab. Either select an option from the list or click Custom Margins. If you are using sections and the margins only apply to the current section, you need to set Apply to to This section.

Paper size

Click the Size button in the Page Setup group on the Page Layout tab and select the size from the list.


If part of your document is in more than one column, select it and click Columns in the Page Setup group on the Page Layout tab and select the option you want. If you want to force a break in a column, click Breaks in the Page Setup group and then Column.


To change the case of a selection, click the Change Case button (which has Aa on it) in the Font group on the Home tab.


To apply a highlight behind text, click the down-arrow next to the Highlight button in the Font group on the Home tab (the button has ab and a pencil on it) and select a colour.

6.    Special characters

To insert special characters (anything you can't see on your keyboard), click the Symbol button in the Symbols group on the Insert tab, and then More Symbols if you don't see the character you require. Select the font that contains the character in the Font drop-down box, locate it and click Insert.

There are keyboard shortcuts for many accents. Before typing the letter use:

Ctrl and ' for an acute accent e.g. é

Ctrl and ~ for a tilde e.g. ñ

Ctrl and ` for a grave accent e.g. è

Ctrl and & followed by o for œ

Ctrl and ^ for a circumflex e.g. ê

Ctrl-@ followed by a for å

Ctrl and , followed by c, for ç

Ctrl and / followed by o for ø

Ctrl and : for an umlaut/diaeresis e.g. ä

Ctrl and & followed by a for æ

Ctrl and & followed by s for ß


7.    Styles

These are combinations of formatting. There are two kinds: character (i.e. options from the Font dialog box launcher on the Home tab) and paragraph (which consist of character styles and paragraph formatting). Word comes with some Quick Styles which are available in the Styles group on the Home tab. Use the drop-down arrow on the right of the quick styles to access more built-in styles, or click the dialog box launcher at the bottom of the Styles group to use the Styles task pane.

  • To change a style, right-click on it and click Modify.
  • To create a new style, format some text with the formatting you want in the style and select the text. Right-click and select Styles | Save Selection as a New Quick Style.
  • It is worth switching off Keep track of formatting. That automatically generates a new style every time you make a minor change to an existing style and you almost certainly don’t want that!
    You can find it here: File | Options | Advanced | Keep track of formatting.

Inserting a table of contents

One of the major advantages of using styles for headings in a Word document is that one may insert an automatic table of contents!

  • To insert a table of contents, go to the Table of Contents group on the References tab and click Table of Contents. If the table of contents gets out of date, right-click on it and select Update Field.

8.    Tables

  • Insert a table by going to the Insert tab and clicking Table and then Insert Table. If you are using the table for lay-out etc. and don’t want to see the lines in it, click the area slightly to the top right of the table to select it and then click the drop-down arrow on the right of the Borders button on the ribbon and then No Border.
  • You can insert rows and columns, and merge cells by right-clicking in the table.

9.    Headers, footers and page numbers

  • To edit the document’s header or footer or insert page numbers, use the buttons on the Header & Footer group on the Insert tab.

10. Sections

You may need to use sections:

  • if the document has parts in both portrait and landscape orientations (change this if necessary on the Page Layout tab)
  • if some pages need different margin settings

  • To insert a section break, click Breaks in the Page Setup group on the Page Layout tab. Select the type of break required (there’s a good description of the alternatives).

The This point forward option in page layout features automatically inserts a section break.

Section breaks appear if you have formatting marks (see the Paragraph formatting section above) switched on and may be deleted like any printing character.

11. Pictures and ClipArt

  • To insert a picture, click Picture on the Insert tab.
  • To insert ClipArt (this is a useful database of free drawings), click ClipArt on the Insert tab.

12. Spelling and grammar

  • To do a spell-check, click on the Review tab and then click Spelling & Grammar on the left of the Proofing group, or press F7.

Note that you can only do a spell-check in a limited number of languages as of the time of writing.

  • If you have sentences in another language, highlight them, click Language and then Set Proofing Language in the Language group select the language.
  • For settings, click File | Options and then the Proofing tab.

13. Word count

  • For a word count, click Word Count in the Proofing group on the Review tab.

14. Track changes

  • To switch on Track Changes which displays changes to a document in different colours according to who made them, go to the Tracking group on the Review tab. To hide the changes when printing, select Final in the drop-down box on the Tracking group.

15. Password protection

  • If you want to password-protect your document, click File | Save As. Click Tools, bottom left and then General Options.

16. Definition of a word

  • Hold down your Alt key and click a Word to get its dictionary definition including pronunciation.

17. Inserting an index

  • First you need to switch on Hidden text by going to File | Options | Display on the right.
  • Entries in the text to be placed in the index need to be marked by highlighting them and pressing Alt-Shift-X. There is a choice whether one wants to mark just that one occurrence of the term or all of them in the document.
  • To insert the index, go to the end of the document and select Insert index in the Index group on the References tab.

18. Settings

Switching off irritating AutoCorrect defaults

  • Go to File | Options | Proofing and click AutoCorrect Options in the pane on the right.
  • Go through the AutoCorrect and AutoFormat As You Type tabs and check Word is set up as you would like it to be.

Units of measurement

By default Word works in centimetres.

  • If you want to change this, go to Tools | Options | Advanced. Scroll down to the Display section in the right column and select the unit you want e.g. Inches in the Show measurements in units of box.

19. Help

  • To get help with Word features, click the question mark icon on the far right of the ribbon. Click the Search button if you want to limit where Word searches for help.