Styles and Word Processing

A Manual Word Processor (A typewriter)

Manual Word Processor

At the January 2010 Broward Personal Computer Association, Inc. (BPCA) general meeting Q&A session the subject of using styles in word processing came up.

The actual question was: In Microsoft Word, how do I stop it from capitalizing the beginning of each line?

In answer to the question, it was suggested that the reason for capitalization of the first letter of the new line is that she is using the Enter key as a carriage return, just like she would if using a typewriter. Upon opening a session of Microsoft Word on one laptop, and one of on another laptop, a few lines were typed in each using the Enter key as a carriage return, and another few paragraphs only pressing the Enter key as a carriage return at the end of the paragraph. Sure enough, once we turned on Show/Hide Paragraph Marks it showed that was exactly what was happening.

Now the thing is how to get her to stop using her word processor (it doesn’t really matter which one, as long as it supports styles) like a typewriter, and use it as it is intended, a way to process words.


Here is a suggestion, as well as some links to information regarding using styles.

Instead of worrying about what the document looks like, try using a plain text editor, such as Notepad, to just put down all your thoughts. Just write until you have everything out of your head and into the document. Once you have all this, I call it my very rough draft, copy and paste it into your word processor, and now apply your formatting (bold, italic, etc.), rearrange and edit your sentences and paragraphs, and apply your styles to make it look pretty.


Some Links to check out regarding styles (mostly for Microsoft Word, but with minor adjustments should work with any word processor or desktop publisher that supports styles): search for microsoft word styles result:||

Delicious has been shut down, as of June 15, 2017.

Results for style search at


Photo courtesy of:

MS Word – Adjusting a Form Template

Just got back to having computer access and received a call from my wife. A form I had made up for her, using Microsoft Word 2003, needed adjusting for some new product and she had ten orders to type up and run on the dot matrix printer with the new information.

The problem was that she knows very little about how to use Microsoft Word and needed it done right away to keep from having to do everything by hand.

Luckily, I was able to walk her through sending me a copy of the DOT (Word Document Template (Microsoft)) file, via email. Once I saved that DOT file to my hard drive, I was able to open it, adjust it and email it back to her.

To make the adjustments in MS Word 2003, I did the following:

  • Right clicked on the DOT file.
  • Selected Open from the drop down menu. (If you just double-click a DOT file to open it, you will get a new blank document instead of opening the DOT itself.)
  • Made the Forms Toolbar visible:
  • View on the MS Word menu bar
  • Select Toolbars
  • Click on Forms
  • Clicked on the Protect Forms icon, it looks like a little padlock, to unlock the form.
  • Replaced three text items with Text Form Fields, with the same formatting as the replaced text; also changed text in another area, but straight text not a Text Form Field.
  • Clicked on the Protect Forms icon again to lock the form again.
  • Hid the Forms Toolbar again.
  • View on the MS Word menu bar
  • Select Toolbars
  • Click on Forms
  • Saved the DOT file with a new name, reflecting today’s date and the new function.

Once the form was adjusted, I emailed her the new DOT file and walked her through how to save it in a folder in My Documents containing forms of the same type and then walked her through creating a shortcut for this one to the desktop.

The whole process took about a half hour and saved a lot of work on her part. Now she just needs to double-click on the shortcut item, fill in the information that changes, print the multi-part form on the dot matrix printer, sign it and move on to the next order of business.

She has some other forms, that are not multi-part, but those I have done for her in PDF (Acrobat Portable Document Format) and have to do those differently as you must have the complete Acrobat application to create or adjust them.

If you have special forms or interested in forms, leave a comment and let me know how you handle problems.

As Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, there will be no posting. I will be spending time with my family, as we all should, and will post Friday this week instead.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Word – Random Text Generation

I sometimes have to generate some random text to test how a new layout looks for a newsletter or website. I know there are easier, and probably better ways to do it but, here are two methods I have used in Microsoft Word.

The first is to simply locate a document and copy what looks like the right amount of text and paste it into the new layout as plain text.

The second method I use is to randomly generate a number of paragraphs in Word and then copy them and paste them into the new layout as plain text.

To do the generation of random text paragraphs in Word:

  • Create a new blank document.
  • Type =rand(#) [insert 1 for 1 paragraph, 5 for five paragraphs, etc. in the place of #, inside the parentheses].
  • Press enter.

This will insert the following paragraph the specified number of times:

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

This is another of those little things, that I seldom think about but, have been asked by others “How do you do that?”.