Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Add color to your documents

It is the Holiday time of year, and soon most of us will be writing our Christmas letters and addressing greeting cards. We will tell our friends and relatives all that we’ve done during 2007 (Is it just me, or did 2007 pass-by rather quickly?) and wish them season’s greetings. Quite a few of us write these Christmas letters on our computers using Word. Today I’m going to demonstrate some tricks to make your letter more joyous, and your docs more visually interesting.

Tip of the day: Add some festivity to your documents with fonts and color. MS Word has a lot of features and options built into it that allows for some very creative elements to be added to your correspondence, and is not at all limited to cold, “professional” documents. Today I’m going to use a hypothetical holiday greeting letter to show how to add some fun.

By default, Word sets the font to Times New Roman at 12 “points” in height. I have typed in my text, to get things started, and will demonstrate using this letter’s “opener”. As it is a header, I have “centered” the text.
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As you can see, this font and text does not quite convey the joy and cheer and “best wishes” I am hoping to express. In fact, this may as well say, “Memo from Giganti Corp.” Yawn!

So first thing I’m going to do is ‘tweak’ the font style, and make some word bigger (louder), to express a less formal tone.
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I “highlighted” Season’s Greetings, and used the Font drop-down arrow and selected a cursive font– Lucida Handwriting (explore Words various fonts, and find the one you like best). I set the point size to 36. I repeated the process on the second sentence, but set the type smaller.. only 18.

I think you’ll agree, this is much more “friendly” than the default’s look. But this is just not Festive enough! Let’s use some color and improve things some more.
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I have again “highlighted” season’s greetings to select this font, and then clicked the Font Color button on the Formatting toolbar (If this is not showing, click here to read how to customize your toolbars). I then clicked on the little red box in the color-picker. Now season’s greetings is red.

I want to alternate letters in green, so I hold down the Ctrl key and use my mouse to “select” every other letter.
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I didn’t really like the greens available on the color-picker, so I clicked on “More Colors”….
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… and selected a green that contrasted nicely with the red– as the box in the lower right corner shows. This is the result of these steps.
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Much more jolly! But, something’s missing…
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Let’s add one more thing– a picture of a candy cane. I went on the Internet and found a Royalty-free graphic (though a piece of Clip Art would do just as nicely) and…
10.jpgVoila!I could ‘go crazy’, and get carried away with adding things here… but I hope you will be able to see by this little demonstration — using only two of Word’s functions — that you are limited only by your own creativity, and that it’s easy to personalize and ‘spice up’ your documents.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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November 27, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, MS Word, PC, tech, Windows, word processors | , , , | 1 Comment

Dust off that old WordArt feature

In a recent articleI lamented the fact that with each new version of a software release, the program bloats with new code and new features. The other side of that coin happens when a feature you’ve come to value and rely on doesn’t make it from CoolProgram 4.3 to CoolProgram 5.0. You wait, and hope and pray that the makers of CoolProgram will re-add your feature in Version 6.0… but they don’t– and you’re stuck using a ten year-old program just for that one feature.
(And then Microsoft releases a new OS, and your program won’t run at all…)

Sometimes, though, those old features aren’t gone; they’re just forgotten. Like Word’s (6.0, I believe it was.. tho it may have been 5.3) revolutionary (for its time) graphic text tool, WordArt.
People loved WordArt like the new toy it was. Colorful, twisty (or “ballooned”) words showed up in the most unlikely documents. The brand-new technology — color printers — occurred at roughly this same time, and then we really had something. We went crazy with color and WordArt, and eventually Management had to make it Company Policy: NoWordArt. Period. Ever.
And like any fad, or new toy, WordArt faded into memory and lore.

A question I received from a fella who got himself volunteered into working on a church newsletter reminded me of that old feature, and I went and did some digging and I’m pleased to report that, yes, WordArt still is a feature in Microsoft Word. It hasn’t changed much over the years.. if it’s changed at all. It’s just sorta hard to find.

So take a trip with me down memory lane with me (or, if you’re too young to remember this little tool, just play along) and open Word and click on the “Insert” menu on your toolbar. Then select and click “Picture”.  And then, click “WordArt”.
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Word 2007 users will find WordArt on the “Insert” ribbon.
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And you will be presented with the WordArt Gallery, which (some of you will remember) is where the fun begins.
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While some of these representations may strike you as rather too-whimsical for any practical use, the elements are adjustable (color, ie.) and a little experimentation will bring you some very professional-looking results, and may provide just the “oomph” needed to spice up your document.
Select a style of WordArt — I have selected the lowest/left-est corner — and click on “OK”.
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Select a font (I have chosen “Stencil”), a size, and you have the option to set for bold or italic, though I wouldn’t.. at least, not right away, and enter your text where it says, “your text here”.
Since I am thinking to create only a banner headline for my document, I have limited myself to three words– “tried and true”.  Here is what the top of my new document looks like, with those options selected:

sampletext.jpg

But I want it bigger and… snazzier. So I double-clicked on the three-words (which is the WordArt “object”) and an “Edit” menu opened which allows me to make those adjustments I mentioned earlier. I left the color alone, but changed the size.. and the shape.

If WordArt is something you want to use often, I suggest adding it to a Word toolbar. Doing so allows to to have the full-featured WordArt editor at a touchbutton. To do this, right-click on a toolbar, or better yet, a blank area next to a toolbar, and select the bottom choice from the context menu– “Customize”.
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Place a check in the checkbox next to WordArt (shown highlighted, but not checked).
Now one of two things will happen; either your existing toolbar will have new WordArt buttons (Insert, Shape, Font, Font Color, etc.), or a small WordArt toolbar will appear which is “floating”. In this latter case, move your cursor to the upper-left corner of the new toolbar and drag it to an open toolbar area, and “drop” it there. You have your choice of the upper (main toolbar) area, or on the bottom area where your word count is. That choice is up to you.

So whether you want to be whimsical and just add some color to your correspondence, or are trying to make a newsletter look like you’ve spent some money at the printers, dig into that “Insert” menu and do some WordArt. Experiment with the 3D effects, or shadows. Have some fun.

Today’s free link:Those of you with an eagle-eye noticed that I have Acrobat linked into my Word 2003. This is so that I can use Word to create PDF formats (which, frankly, I can’t remember ever doing…) as MS Word didn’t have this ability prior to the release of Office 2007. For those of you looking for this ability and you’re using an older Office version, you don’t have to pay for Acrobat. Download the free PrimoPDF.

Copyright 2007 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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November 19, 2007 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, MS Word, PC, tech | , , , , , , | Leave a comment