Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing

  • Print
  • + Share This

Entering and Editing Text

This section reviews fundamental Word editing skills and brings you up to speed even if you are new to word processing. In this section, you learn how to do the following:

  • Type text into a document and maneuver around the screen

  • Copy, cut, and paste text from one location to another

  • Locate and replace text

Entering Text

The blank editing area is where you type text to create a new document. Of course, Word supports more than just text because you can add graphics and even Web page elements to a Word document. The best place to familiarize you with Word, however, is to start with straight text.

Two pointers appear in Word: the mouse's pointing arrow and the insertion point, which is the flashing vertical bar (also called the text cursor) that shows where the next character will appear. As you type, remember these basic editing hints:

  • Don't press Enter at the end of each line. As you type close to the right edge of the screen, Word automatically wraps the text to the next line for you.

  • Only press Enter at the end of each paragraph. Each subsequent press of the Enter key adds an extra blank line before the next paragraph. (If you type a list of items, you would press Enter at the end of each item.)

  • If you make a typing mistake, press the Backspace key to erase the last character you typed. Continue pressing Backspace to erase multiple characters. You can also erase any text you've typed, not just the most recent character. If you press one of the arrow keys, you can move the insertion point (the text cursor) all around the document until you get to text you want to erase. At that point, you can press the Delete key to erase whatever character follows the insertion point.

Insert mode is Word's default editing mode. When you are using Insert mode, new text you type appears at the text pointer, pushing existing characters to the right (and down the page if needed). When in Overtype mode, new text replaces existing text.

The Word Status bar shows the current insertion mode. If the letters OVR are visible, Word is in Overtype mode. If OVR is grayed out, Word is in Insert mode. You can switch between the two modes by pressing the Insert key.

Not only can you insert text, but Word also enables you to insert blanks. Suppose that you forget a space or want to insert three spaces before the start of a paragraph. You can move the pointer to the place you want the blanks (to the left of text that you want to shift right) by pointing and clicking the mouse pointer to anchor the insertion point in position. Press the Spacebar as many times as you need to shift the existing text right.

Navigating Word Documents

When you first type a document, you might enter the rough draft all at once and edit the text later, or you might be the kind of writer who edits as you go. No matter how you write, you need to be able to move the insertion point around a Word document quickly, locating just the text you want. Often, you navigate through a Word document using these general practices:

  • Use the four arrow keys to move the insertion point within the current editing area.

  • Click the scrollbars to scroll through the display until you view the text you want.

  • Click your mouse pointer anywhere inside the editing area to set the insertion point in that location.

  • If you type more text than fits in the editing area, use the scrollbars, arrow keys, PageUp, PageDown, Ctrl+Home, and Ctrl+End keys to scroll to the portions of text that you want to see.

TIP

If you open an existing document, press Shift+F5 to jump directly to your most recent edit.

To quickly navigate many pages in a document, press Ctrl+G (the shortcut for Edit, Go To) to display Figure 3.3's Find and Replace dialog box and enter a page number to jump to that page. The Find and Replace dialog box is great for jumping not only to specific page numbers, but also to specific text that you want to read or edit. You will learn more about the Find and Replace dialog box as well as how the Task Pane helps you search for text.

FIGURE 3.3 You can quickly jump to any page.

TIP

The navigation skills you learn here also apply to the other Office XP products. Excel, for example, has a similar Find and Replace dialog box.

Selecting Text

Earlier in this hour, you learned how to insert and delete individual characters; you now learn how to select entire sections of text you can move or delete.

When you highlight (select) text, you can perform tasks on that selection. For example, you can select two sentences and underline them for emphasis. You can select text using your keyboard or mouse. Table 3.1 shows the mouse-selection operations.

Table 3.1 Word Makes Easy Work of Text Selection

To Select

Do This

Any text

Click the mouse on the first character of the text and drag the mouse to the last character. (Figure 3.4 shows a partial paragraph selection.)

A Single Word

Double-click anywhere on the word.

A Sentence

Press Ctrl and click anywhere within the sentence.

A Line

Click the white margin area at the left of the line.

A Paragraph

Double-click the white margin area at the left of the paragraph or triple-click anywhere inside the paragraph's text.

The Entire document

Press Ctrl and click the white margin area at the left of the document's text.


Beginning with Word 2002, you can select multiple occurrences of text by pressing Ctrl before you select text. By using Ctrl, you can select a sentence at the top of your document and one at the bottom at the same time, and then apply a special format to both sentences at once. The next hour's lesson explains how to format selected text.

To select text with your keyboard, move the insertion point to the beginning of the selection, press the Shift key, and move the insertion point to the final selection character. Release the Shift key when you're finished selecting the text.

TIP

You can press Ctrl+A to select your entire document.

FIGURE 3.4 Select a block of text to edit.

Deleting Text

Press Delete to erase characters to the right of the insertion point. Any characters to the right of the deleted character shift left to close the gap. You can also press Delete to delete selected text. Furthermore, you can press Backspace to erase text characters to the left of the insertion point.

TIP

Here's a tip that even advanced Word gurus often forget: Ctrl+Backspace erases the word to the left of your insertion point, and Ctrl+Del erases the word to the right of your insertion point.

Copying, Cutting, and Pasting

After you select text, you can copy or cut (move) that text to a different location. One of the most beneficial features that propelled word processors into the spotlight in the 1980s was their capability to copy and move text. In the medieval days (before 1980), people had to use scissors and glue to cut and paste. Now, your hands stay clean.

Windows uses a clipboard concept to hold text that you want to cut, copy, or move; and Office takes the concept of the clipboard further with the Office Clipboard. The Office Clipboard is where text resides during a copy, cut, or paste operation. It shows itself in Office as a Task Pane and is a section of memory that holds text and other document items (even graphics) that you place there. It can hold 24 selected items, and a special Clipboard Task Pane automatically appears as you select text (see Figure 3.5). If you don't want to see the Task Pane when you use the Office Clipboard, click the Task Pane's Options button and select Collect Without Showing Office Clipboard. You can always redisplay the Task Pane by selecting from the View menu.

FIGURE 3.5 The Clipboard Task Pane displays items you've cut or copied.

To copy text or other document elements such as graphics from one place to another, first select the item. Next, copy the selected text to the Office Clipboard by selecting Edit, Copy (you can also press Ctrl+C or click the Copy button). Then, paste the Office Clipboard contents in their new location by selecting Edit, Paste (alternatively you can press Ctrl+V or click the Paste button). You can paste the same text again and again wherever you want it to appear. If you've copied several items to the Office Clipboard (by performing a copy operation more than once during the current editing session), click where the pasted item is to appear in your document and then click the item in the Office Clipboard Task Pane.

When you paste an item into your document, a small Paste Options button (similar to the one on the Paste toolbar button) appears under the pasted text. You can ignore the button by continuing with your typing and the icon goes away. But if you click on the Paste button's drop-down list arrow, Word displays several formatting options that control the way your text will paste into the document.

When you cut text from your document (select Edit, Cut, click the Cut toolbar button, or press Ctrl+X), Word erases the text from your document and sends it to the Office Clipboard where you can paste the Office Clipboard contents elsewhere. In effect, cutting and pasting moves the text. As with copying text, you don't have to paste the most recent item you've copied to the clipboard if you've copied multiple items. Simply click the item you want to paste in the Office Clipboard Task Pane. You can paste the same item into several different locations.

TIP

You can also move and copy by using your mouse. This technique is called drag and drop. To use this method to move text, select the text to move and hold the mouse button while dragging the text to its new location. To copy (instead of move) with your mouse, press and hold Ctrl before you click and then drag the selected text. Word indicates that you are copying by adding a small plus sign to the mouse pointer while you are performing the operation.

Finding and Replacing Text

Use Word to locate text for you. When searching through extremely long documents, Word's search capabilities come in handy. Suppose that you are writing a political letter, for example, and you want to correct a congressional district's seat name. Let Word find all occurrences of the word district by following these steps:

  1. Select Edit, Find or press Ctrl+F to display the Find and Replace dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.6.

    FIGURE 3.6 Enter text that you want Word to locate.

  2. Type the word or phrase you want to find in the Find What text box. For example, type District to locate that word. Click Find Next.

  3. When Word locates the first occurrence of the search text, it highlights the word.

  4. If the selected text is the text you wanted to find, click the Cancel button (or press Escape) to clear the Find and Replace dialog box. Word keeps the selected text highlighted. To remove the selection, press an arrow key or click anywhere in the editing area. If the selected text is not the text you want, click the Find Next button in the Find and Replace dialog box to search for the next occurrence of the text.

A feature new in Word is the find and highlight option. If you click the Find and Replace dialog box's option labeled Highlight All Items Found In, and then click Find All, Word immediately highlights all occurrences of the text. This option is useful when you want to see where all occurrences of text occurs without locating each individual one using the Find and Replace method.

CAUTION

Be careful, however, because if you click your mouse or press any key other than the mouse buttons and keyboard keys that scroll your document, Word will remove all the highlighted words.

As you probably can guess from the name of the Find and Replace dialog box, Word not only finds, but can also replace text. Suppose that you wrote a lengthy business proposal to an associate whom you thought was named Paul McDonald. Luckily, before you sent the proposal over your corporate network (using Outlook 2002), you realized that Paul's last name is spelled MacDonald.

Use Word to change all names of McDonald to MacDonald by following these steps:

  1. Select Edit, Replace or press Ctrl+H. Word displays the Find and Replace dialog box with the Replace tab displayed.

  2. Type McDonald in the Find What text box.

  3. Press Tab to move the insertion point to the Replace With text box.

  4. Type the replacement text (in this case, MacDonald).

  5. If you want Word to replace all occurrences of the text, click the Replace All button. After Word finishes replacing all the occurrences, it indicates how many replacements were made in a message box.

    If you want to replace only one or a few of the occurrences (for example, there might be another person with the name McDonald in the business plan whose name is spelled that way), click the Find Next button again. Upon finding a match, Word selects the text and gives you a chance to replace it. To skip an occurrence, click Find Next rather than Replace after a match is found that you want to ignore.

  6. Press Escape or click Cancel when you are finished.

TIP

If you want to delete all occurrences of a word or phrase, leave the Replace With text box blank before clicking Replace All.

Using the Search Task Pane

Word can display a Search Task Pane that aids you in your search for specific data when that data lies in other documents elsewhere on your computer or on a networked computer. You can even search for email messages using the Search Task Pane. Click the Standard toolbar's Search button to display the Search Task Pane. Figure 3.7 shows the Search Task Pane.

FIGURE 3.7 Use the Task Pane when you have several searches to make.

To look for something, type a word or phrase in the Search text box. Open the drop-down list labeled Search In The to select the folder and networked computers (if any are attached) to use in your search. Click the Minus signs next to any item to expand that computer's folder structure. You can limit your search to specific files by selecting file types in the box labeled Results Should Be.

When Word completes the search, a new Task Pane appears that lists the filename of every file found that matches your search. If you open the Search Task Pane and then realize that you want to search within the current document, click the option labeled Find In This Document to show the standard Find and Replace dialog box and enter your search criteria.

CAUTION

Obviously, the scope of the Search Task Pane is generally far greater than that of a single document. With the Find and Replace dialog box you learned about in the previous section, and with the Search Task Pane you learn about here, you now have the tools to search within a file and across a file. Be careful when using the Search Pane and make sure, however, that you are as specific as possible. Otherwise, Word will return a huge list of matching values. If you start a search and realize that too many documents are being listed because your search was not specific enough, click the Stop Search button that appears during the search to halt with the list you have at the time.

Advanced Find and Replace

The Find and Replace dialog box (see the preceding section) contains more buttons. If you want more control over how Word searches for and replaces text, click the More button on either the Find or Replace pages. The dialog box expands to show more options, as Figure 3.8 shows.

NOTE

After you click the More button and the dialog box expands, the More button becomes a Less button that you can click to return to the simpler Find or Replace pages.

FIGURE 3.8 Advanced options enable you to control your find-and-replace operations.

Table 3.2 describes each of the advanced find-and-replace options.

Table 3.2 The Advanced Find and Replace Dialog Box Options

Option

Description

Search

Determines the scope of the find and replace. Select All to search the entire document starting from the beginning, Down to search the document from the insertion point's current position down in the document, and Up to search the document from the insertion point's current position up through the document.

Match Case

Finds text only when the text exactly matches the capitalization of your search text.

Find Whole Words Only

Matches only when complete text words match your search phrase. If this box is checked, Word does not consider McDonald a match for McD, for example. If unchecked, McD matches McDonald, McDonald's, and McDonalds.

Use Wildcards

Uses an asterisk (*) to indicate zero or more characters, or a question mark (?) to indicate a single character in your search. If you search for Mc* and click this option, for example, Word matches on Mc, McDonald, and McDonald's. If you search for M?cDonald, Word considers MacDonald a match but not McDonald.

Sounds Like

Bases the match on words or phrases that phonetically match the search phrase but are not necessarily spelled the same way as the search phrase. Therefore, Word would consider both to and too matches for the search phrase too.

Find All Word Forms

Matches on similar parts of speech that match the search phrase. Therefore, Word would not consider the verb color to be a match for the noun color when you check this option.


CAUTION

Word cannot conduct a Word Form search if you have checked either the Use Wildcards or Sounds Like options.

AutoCorrecting and AutoFormatting

Word is smart. Often, Word fixes problems without you ever being aware of them, thanks to Word's AutoCorrect feature. As you type, Word analyzes the errors and makes corrections or suggested improvements along the way. If you have selected Tools, AutoCorrect and selected Replace Text As You Type and Automatically Use suggestions from the Spelling Checker options, Word makes spelling corrections as you type.

The Office Assistant is always there to guide you, but AutoCorrect is integral to Word as well as to many of the other Office XP products. If AutoCorrect recognizes a typing mistake, it immediately corrects the mistake.

Following are just a few of the mistakes AutoCorrect recognizes and corrects as you type:

  • AutoCorrect corrects two initial capital letters at the beginning of sentences. LAtely, we have been gone becomes Lately, we have been gone.

  • AutoCorrect capitalizes the names of days and months that you forget to capitalize.

  • AutoCorrect corrects a sentence that you accidentally type in the Caps Lock key mode. For example, lATELY, WE'VE BEEN GONE becomes Lately, we've been gone.

  • AutoCorrect replaces common symbols' predefined characters. When you type (c), for example, Word converts the characters to a single copyright symbol (©).

  • AutoCorrect replaces common spelling transpositions, such as teh with the.

If AutoCorrect corrects something that you don't want corrected, press Ctrl+Z (Alt+Backspace also works) and AutoCorrect reverses its action. If you type an entry in the AutoCorrect list that you do not want corrected in the future, such as QBasic that Word incorrectly changes to Qbasic, press backspace as soon as Word first corrects the word. A small bar appears beneath the correction. When you rest your mouse pointer over the bar for a moment, the AutoCorrect option buttons appear so that you can control the way the correction works.

The initial AutoCorrection word list and AutoCorrect options are preset. However, you can add your own frequently misspelled (or mistyped) words to the list. You will most certainly want to add your initials to the AutoCorrect table, for example, so that you need only to type your initials when you want to enter your full name in a document.

To add your own AutoCorrect entries to the list, perform these steps:

  1. Select Tools, AutoCorrect Options. Word displays the AutoCorrect dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.9.

  2. Type the AutoCorrect shortcut, such as an abbreviation, in the Replace text box.

  3. Press Tab.

  4. Type the AutoCorrect replacement text in the With text box.

  5. Press Enter.

After you enter a new AutoCorrect entry, you can begin using the AutoCorrect feature immediately.

In addition to AutoCorrect entries, Word also automatically formats special character combinations within your document as you type. For example, Word converts common typed fractions, such as 1/2, to their single character equivalent. You can control exactly which AutoFormat features Word uses by selecting Tools, AutoCorrect Options and then clicking the AutoFormat As You Type tab.

FIGURE 3.9 Add your own AutoCorrect entries.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Related Resources

There are currently no related titles. Please check back later.