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Wonderful Word

Wonderful Word

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Published by James Head
A guide on how to use tabs, tables, and search and replace effectively in Microsoft Word, and how to format times in Microsoft Excel. It was written specifically to teach organisers of orienteering events how to present result lists in a clear format for publishing but could be useful for others.
A guide on how to use tabs, tables, and search and replace effectively in Microsoft Word, and how to format times in Microsoft Excel. It was written specifically to teach organisers of orienteering events how to present result lists in a clear format for publishing but could be useful for others.

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Published by: James Head on Feb 13, 2009
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06/16/2009

 
Wonderful Word
Or How To Please Your Newsletter Editor With Results Presentation
In a recent article Mike raised the matter of results formatting and the use word-processors andspreadsheets. Unfortunately since software these days does not come bundled with a manual manyusers are left to work most of it out for themselves or to go out and buy a third-party book.Generally these books cover the basics but not a lot more unless it’s one of the thick and thereforemore expensive ones. As a result of this many people do not know the full power of the word processor installed on their computers. Hopefully this little piece will go some way to helpingexplain some of the more useful features to events organisers compiling their results lists, and gosome way to making Mike’s life a little easier.
Terrific Tabs 
First of all in order to go through these examples it would be better to make the non-printingcharacters (spaces, tabs and paragraph markers) visible on the screen. To do this in Word click onthe menu TOOLS > OPTIONS, then click the tab marked VIEW and click in the selection box for each character as required. Tabs appear on the screen as arrows, spaces as a dot at half alpha-numeric character height and the paragraph marker as a backwards ‘P’ with a filled in circle anddouble vertical line.Below you can see an example of your rather unordered results list with just the normal tab settings. pos
n
name club class time. …. …. ….9 Joe Bloggs Devon M10 89:2310 Katie Jones Devon W35 102:2711 Tom Brown IND M75 109:44If you were to click on one of the lines you would see a little capital L in the ruler at the top of thescreen, just underneath the normal Word buttons. This is the LEFT TAB marker. What you mightnot have known is that there is more than one kind of tab in your word-processor. These are theleft, right, centre and decimal tabs and when used correctly can be quite powerful.By default if you were to click on the ruler you would insert on the current line a Left Tab. If younow move your eyes over to the left side of the ruler you should see a very small button with thelittle
└ 
tab marker on it. Click this button to cycle through the variety of tab markers.Clicking once will bring up the Centre Tab that looks like
└ 
. Clicking a second time will bring upthe Right Tab, looking like
 ┘
. Clicking a third time will bring up the decimal tab that resembles thecentre tab with a small dot on the right hand side. See below for an example of each different tab inuse.This is a left tab This is a centre tab This is a right tabAnother left tab Centre tab again finishing with a right tabBelow you can see the decimal tab in action. It lines up the decimal points or colons for you.0.00111 10:01101.12 100:231.1254 1:12
 
Sometimes you may notice that when you type TAB at the beginning of an existing line (i.e not atthe end of the file) then Word will try and replace it with an indented margin instead. To force aTAB in this condition simply press the CTRL key and TAB together.Another thing you can do with tabs is link them together. You probably already know that whenyou set your tabs on the ribbon, when you press return you tabs get transferred to the new line, butyou if you wanted to change the position of one of the tabs you’d have to select both lines beforedragging the tab position on the ruler. Well there is an easier way when you’re working with longlists – but you should not use it on fully justified lines. Instead of pressing Return at the end of theline, hold the SHIFT key down and press RETURN. You should notice that instead of the normal paragraph marker you now see a bent arrow. This indicates that from the line where the bent arrowfirst appears, until the next line with a proper paragraph marker, all your tabs are linked. Now youonly need to click anywhere in one of the lines, drag the tab marker and all of the lines will bealtered to match. You can see an example next. pos
n
name club class time. …. …. ….9 Joe Bloggs Devon M10 89:2310 Katie Jones Devon W35 102:2711 Tom Brown IND M75 109:44Finally there is another way built in to word to enter tabs at exactly the points required and in thetype you want. You can start with a fresh page or by selecting a block of text that is alreadytabulated and from the menu choose FORMAT then TABS. Start by selecting CLEAR ALL thenenter the tab positions and the type you require, pressing SET each time. To clear a tab positionselect it from the list and press CLEAR.
Tremendous Tables 
 Next I will cover tables. If you have data presented using tabs, commas or a particular character you can select every line, then from the menu bar select TABLE then CONVERT and TEXT TOTABLE. Depending upon the format of the text Word may automatically try to convert it into atable for you or will bring up a dialogue box prompting you to select which character separates thecells in your table. Be warned – the number of tabs (or other) must be equal on all lines or you mayget strange results. pos
n
name club class Time. …. …. ….9 Joe Bloggs Devon M10 89:2310 Katie Jones Devon W35 102:2711 Tom Brown IND M75 109:44An alternative way of doing this is to select the text and on the menu click TABLE, INSERT thenTABLE and Word will automatically convert the text to a table without showing the dialogue boxas the previous example.If your table appears rather strange the first time you can easily change it back to a tabbed format byclicking TABLE, SELECT, TABLE then clicking TABLE, CONVERT, TABLE TO TEXT andchoosing how you want the data separated.You can add extra formatting to your table by setting TABS on the ruler within selected columns.To ‘type’ these tabs however you must press CTRL and TAB at the same time. Pressing TAB onit’s own will only cause the cursor to jump to the next cell of the table.
 
 
Super Search and Replace 
Finally to round off I will cover the search and replace function. You can find it under the EDITmenu. You can pick either FIND or REPLACE from the EDIT menu. Changing from FIND onlyto FIND and REPLACE can be done by selecting the appropriate tab in the dialogue box thatappears. This function works in much the way you’d expect. You enter the text for Word to searchfor and the text you wish to replace with, press OK and let Word do all the work. You can get a better search ‘filter’ and more replace options by clicking the MORE button. This brings up a hostof extra options such as searching for whole words only or a ‘case sensitive’ search where thecapitalisation or lack of will affect the search.It is here where we can also use some of the more powerful search options available. Mike’s articlein the previous issue related the case of an email message containing results in a non-formatted waythat could easily have been converted into a formatted version with just five minutes work.In the example below each field such as position, name and class etc. is separated by two spaces. Inaddition a persons name is separated by a single space. After copying and pasting the text into aWord article the text is unformatted. The first step is to turn the spaces on viewable by usingTOOLS, OPTIONS and the VIEW tab as detailed earlier. Next the user needs to see how manyspaces separate the fields. In our case it is two. pos
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name club class time. … …. …. ….9 Joe Bloggs Devon M10 89:2310 Katie Jones Devon W35 102:2711 Tom Brown IND M75 109:44This is where it gets cunning for as well as searching for normal text the Search and Replacefunction can also look for special characters including tabs, paragraph markers and with a little bitmore effort, spaces. Most of the special characters can be referred to with a ^ (named ‘caret’) before a single letter code for the item. For example a single tab would be ^t and a paragraphmarker would be ^p. You can pick from a list if in the Search and Replace dialogue box you click MORE then SPECIAL. Alternatively you can get a list by clicking the question mark in the topright hand corner of the dialogue box and the pressing the SPECIAL button. A help file (if youhave installed this feature) will appear detailing the caret codes. Incidentally to search for a ^ in a block of text you would need to enter ^^.Using this we can search for double tabs to replace with a single tab, for example:SEARCH for ^t^tREPLACE with ^tSpaces are however a little bit more complicated. There is no caret code to search for a normalsingle space. If you’ve been observant you may have noticed under SPECIAL the optionsWhitespace or non-breaking space. These are not the same as a single space and will not work for what we want to do.Instead in order to search for a single space character and replace it with something else we need totell word to search for the ASCII code for a space. An ASCII code – in simple terms - is a number that represents a character to the computer. Every character including spaces, tabs and paragraphmarkers has its own unique ASCII code to identify it. To search in Word we have to use ^0nnnwhere nnn is the ASCII code for a single space, 032. Therefore to search for a sequence of two

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