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?”.

Plain Text Paste

I have been getting a lot of complaints regarding my admonition to copy and paste text from the web to keep it for reference.

It seems that many of those who have tried doing this do not realize that if you do a straight copy and paste to a word processor, the formatting is also pasted.

This is my fault, as I tend to think everyone works the same as I do.

To paste the text with no formatting, in most applications, select Paste Special from the Edit or Insert menu, depending upon the application and then select either Plain text or Unformatted text, again depending upon the application.

If you somehow have a word processor which does not enable you to do a Paste Special, another way around this is to use a text only editor such as Windows Notepad as the place you safe the text.

I have just been so used to using Paste Special with Word, Publisher, email, etc., that I thought everyone knew to do it that way.

Remember, if you do not understand something in one of my posts or things do not work the way I describe, just let me know and I will research it and get back with you. It is probably me not being clear in the way I did the posting.

Happy 4th!!!!

Manual Line Breaks

This tip applies to MS Word 97 and above, it is possible it works in earlier editions but, I have no experience with them. This should also work in just about any word processor, but you will have to check for yourself.

When you get to the end of a line of text, you can start a new paragraph by pressing the Shift and Enter keys simultaneously. This will insert a manual line break.

The use of a manual line break comes in very handy when dealing with numbered lists. When you want to start a new paragraph in a numbered list without getting a new line number, use the manual break.

Another place to use the manual break, rather than start a new paragraph, is in any place set up as a “hanging” paragraph, such as cc: lines and references.

Try using the manual line break. Once you get used to it, you will find yourself using it frequently.

Let me know if there are any more applications of the manual break that help you in your word processing.