Working With Text

Help Center Microsoft Word (XP) Working With Text

Typing and Inserting Text

To enter text, just start typing! The text will appear where the blinking cursor is located. Move the cursor by using the arrow buttons on the keyboard or positioning the mouse and clicking the left button. The keyboard combinations listed below are also helpful when moving through the text of a document:

Movement Action Key Combination
Beginning of the line <Home>
End of the line <End>
Top of the document <Ctrl><Home>
End of the document <Ctrl><End>

Selecting Text

To change any attributes of text, the text must be highlighted first. Select the text by dragging the mouse over the desired text while keeping the left mouse button depressed, or hold down the key on the keyboard while using the arrow buttons to highlight the text. The following table contains techniques for selecting a portion of text:

Selection Technique
Whole word Double-click within the word
Whole paragraph Triple-click within the paragraph
Several words or lines Drag the mouse over the words, or hold down <Shift> while using the arrow keys
Entire document Choose Edit > Select All from the menu bar, or press <Ctrl>A

Deselect the text by clicking anywhere outside of the selection on the page or pressing an arrow key on the keyboard.

Deleting Text

Use the <Backspace> and <Delete> keys on the keyboard to delete text. Backspace will delete text to the left of the cursor and Delete will erase text to the right. To delete a large selection of text, highlight it using any of the methods outlined above and press the <Delete> key.

Formatting Text

The formatting toolbar is the easiest way to change many attributes of text. If the toolbar as shown below isn't displayed on the screen, select View > Toolbars and choose Formatting.

[formatting toolbar]
  • Style Menu - Styles are explained in detail later in this tutorial.
  • Font Menu - Click the arrowhead to the right of the font menu to view the list of fonts available. Scroll down to the font you want and select it by clicking on the name once with the mouse. A serif font (one with "feet" circled in the illustration below) is recommended for paragraphs of text that will be printed on paper as they are most readable. The following graphic demonstrates the difference between serif (Times New Roman, left) and sans-serif (Arial, right, "no feet") fonts.
    Serif example
  • Font Size - Click on the white part of the font size menu to enter a value for the font size or click the arrowhead to the right of the box to view a list of font sizes available. Select a size by clicking on it once. A font size of 10 or 12 is best for paragraphs of text.
  • Font Style - Use the bold, italics, and underline buttons to change the font style of the selected text accordingly.
  • Alignment - Use the left justification, centered, right justification, and justify acoss the page buttons to change the alignment of the selected text.
  • Numbered and Bulleted Lists - Lists are explained in detail later in this tutorial.
  • Increase/Decrease Indent - Change the indentation of a paragraph in relation to the left side of the page.
  • Outside Border - Add a border around a text selection.
  • Highlight Color - Use this option to change the color behind a text selection. The color shown on the button is the last color used. To select a different color, click the arrowhead next to the image on the button.
  • Font Color - Change the color of the selected text. The color shown on the button is the last color chosen. Click the arrowhead next to the button image to select another color.

    The Font dialog box allows you to choose from a larger selection of formatting options. Select Format > Font from the menu bar to access the dialog.
[font dialog box]

Format Painter [format painter]

A handy feature for formatting text is accessed using the Format Painter button located on the standard toolbar. For example, if you have already formatted a paragraph heading with a certain font face, size, and style and you want to format another heading the same way, you do not need to manually add each attribute to the second heading. Instead, use the Format Painter by following these steps:

  1. Place the cursor within the text that contains the formatting you want to copy.
  2. Click the Format Painter button in the standard toolbar. Notice that your pointer now has a paintbrush beside it.
  3. Highlight the text you want to add the same format to with the mouse and release the mouse button.

To add the formatting to multiple selections of text, double-click the Format Painter button instead of clicking once. The format painter then stays active until you press the <Esc> key to turn it off.

Undo [undo]

Feel free to experiment with various text styles. You can always undo your last action by clicking the Undo button on the standard toolbar or selecting Edit > Undo... from the menu bar. Click the Redo button on the standard toolbar or select Edit > Redo... to erase the undo action.

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