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Using the New Document Task Pane

Word 2002 brings together your options for opening or creating files in a brand-new New Document side pane (see Figure 3.1). This side pane appears when you choose File, New, and depending on how your computer is configured, it may also appear automatically when you start Word. You can also display it by choosing View, Task Pane.

Figure 3.1 The New Document side pane.


To display the New Document side pane at startup, choose Tools, Options, View; then check the Startup Task Pane check box and click OK.

From the New Document side pane, you can

  • Choose a document you worked on recently, or another document on any drive accessible to you

  • Create a blank document, Web page, or e-mail message

  • Browse to an existing document and create a new document based on it

  • Create a new document based on a template (see the following section for an overview of what templates can do)

  • Create a new Network Place, making it easy to access (or save files to) folders on the Web

  • Display Microsoft Word's Help System

Creating a Blank Document

Whenever you want to create a document from scratch, Word provides several ways to display a blank document for editing and formatting. You can:

  • Click Blank Document on the New Document task pane

  • Click the New Blank Document button on the Standard Toolbar

  • Press Ctrl+N

While a blank document contains no text or formatting, it has access to all of Word's built-in styles and shortcuts.

Choosing a Template That Has Already Done the Work for You

Why start from scratch if you can get Word to do much of the work for you? For example, you might want to create a memo that follows a standard format, with a standard memo header and To, CC, From, Date, and Re lines already included and formatted. You don't have to enter all those lines; you can choose a built-in Word template that already contains them.

Templates are patterns Word can use to build new documents. You'll learn about them in detail in Chapter 12, "Templates, Wizards, and Add-Ins." The quickest way to access templates is from the New Document side pane.

If you've used a template recently, you can select it from the templates that appear at the top of the New From Template section.

If you want to browse all the templates stored on your computer (as well as any workgroup templates stored on your network server), click General Templates. The Templates dialog box opens (see Figure 3.2). Click the tab corresponding to the type of template you are seeking and double-click the template you want to use.

Figure 3.2 The Templates dialog box organizes all Word's built-in templates and any you create.

Word offers an extensive library of built-in templates for the following types of documents:

  • Brochures

  • Directories

  • Invoices

  • Letters & Faxes

  • Memos

  • Press Releases

  • Publications

  • Purchase Orders

  • Reports

  • Résumés

  • Theses

  • Time Sheets

  • Web Pages

Some of these templates, such as Memos, appear in their own tabs in the New dialog box. Several, such as Brochures and Directories, appear in the Publications tab. Several others, such as Agendas and Résumés, appear in the Other Documents tab.

For many categories of printed documents, Word offers three consistent approaches to document formatting: Contemporary, Elegant, and Professional. By choosing one of these approaches and using it in all your documents, you can have the benefits of consistent professional design without the expense.

If you don't want your documents to potentially look exactly the same as those of another Word user, you can change fonts and other aspects of the base styles on which these documents are built (see Chapter 11, "Streamlining Your Formatting with Styles"). If you're careful, you can establish a distinctive, high-quality set of design standards for your business with remarkably little effort and expense.

For more information about Word's wizards for building newsletters and other documents, see "Using Word Wizards," on p. 379.

Creating a Web Page

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft expects users to often use Word 2002 to create Web and intranet pages. To create a blank Web page, display the New Document side pane and click Blank Web Page.

While you are editing a Web page, you can create a new Web page by clicking the New Web Page button on the Standard toolbar, or by pressing Ctrl+N.

Word 2002 also contains several templates that provide standard Web page formats. To use one of these, click General Templates on the New Document side pane, choose the Web Pages tab of the New dialog box (see Figure 3.3), click on the Web Page template you want to use, and click OK.

Figure 3.3 Choosing from Word's library of Web Page templates.

For more information on using Word's Web Page Wizard—and on editing Web pages in Word—see the Bonus Word Chapter, "Using Word to Develop Web Content."

Creating a Blank E-mail Message

To create a blank e-mail message, display the New Document side pane and click Blank E-mail Page. Microsoft opens a blank e-mail message containing tools for specifying recipients, adding subject lines, and inserting attachments.

For a detailed look at using Word to edit e-mail, see Chapter 7, "Using Word As an E-mail Editor," p. 227.

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