Microsoft Word 2007

I’ve learned a few things about Microsoft Word 2007 in the past few weeks. Some days I start up Word more than 20 times. I like to control what my computer does when, so I suppose it’s a given that I will confront Word and try to figure out how to start it in blank mode, without opening any file. I make a lot of documents for class assignments, but I also write a lot of my ideas and stuff as blog posts although only a small percentage of what I write shows up on my blog. So, every time I open Word it throws a file called Document 1 at me. I don’t like Document 1 because it is seldom the reason I start Word. Usually I’m editing an already started document, or I want to branch off using an existing file. Wouldn’t it be great if I could start Word without Document 1? Sure, I could navigate to the file I want to work on and open Word with the file, but I often don’t remember the exact name, and it’s just too tedious to do on a recurring basis. I think there are better things to fill my mind with than trying to remember exact file names. (Another option would be to save stuff that I want to use again on the Desktop, but I’ve prohibited myself from saving anything to the Desktop for more than five minutes, because, and I’m not making this up, it gets full by the end of the day.) I’ve already made shortcuts for ‘blog Document 1’and ‘document Document 1′ but I still am not happy. Is there another way?

There is a better way. (btw, these instructions apply to Windows Vista.) This solution actually took quite a bit of digging to uncover because I had to use search engine keywords that are commonly used to find solutions for other problems. Here’s the lowdown. You’ll have to start Word by using a special command run from the command prompt. The easy way is to make a shortcut by right-clicking on the Desktop, select New>Shortcut. In the location field, type in “C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12WINWORD.EXE” /n, or the location of the WINWORD.exe file in your computer. The important part is that you get the ‘[space] /n’ in there at the end. Click Next and Finish, and you’re done. You can rename it and drag this shortcut wherever you want in your computer. When you run the shortcut, it’ll open Word with a blank palette. Get the full story here.

Auto Save was another nice feature I set up long ago. Word will automatically save your work at intervals you specify. These auto save files are deleted if you close without choosing to save your document, so it’s still very important that you save your work as soon as you begin on a file. But if Word crashes, as does happen occasionally, then you’ll have a backup, provided that you take careful steps to recover it. I have my Word set to auto save every three minutes; I know that’s a small interval, but I rarely lose any work, and there’s something to be said for that. It’s important to note that in Excel, there is an exception box you should uncheck in the Options place, otherwise it will not save recovery files for unsaved workbooks. I found this obscure exceptions check box after an especially grievous experience of loosing many hours of work that I had stupidly not saved. Auto save settings can be reached in Office 2007 by clicking the Office button >Word Options>Save.

Pin often-used files to your Office list. You probably know this already, but I just learned it and I’m proud to admit it. Office keeps a list of recently opened file shortcuts on the right side of the Office pane. To keep a file in your ‘Recently Opened’ pane permanently, click the pin on the far right. This will stick, or unstick it, to the list. Pretty cool. I like using this pane to open files because I have enough things to think about and remember without having to worry about file names and locations. My list holds 17 items (a number you can set in the Options room) and a file that I hadn’t opened in a day or two would disappear and I would rack my brain trying to figure out what I had named it and where it was, so I was pleased to find out about the green pins.

If you’re getting really intense with Word, consider making a Master Document. I once had a 360-page book to format, and it took everything Word could muster to scroll and edit such a monstrosity. I split it up into 22 sub-files and the result was beautiful. I’m not going to try to explain it here; if you need to know you’ve probably already figured it out.

I’ve gotten into the habit of saving my file first thing before I start typing. Word seems to like that better, especially when typing in blog layout. If I don’t save, Word sometimes will crash on a big document if I wait to save it until I’m done. While crashes are generally not serious due to my recovery file obsession, I can do without them. There’s always the brief moment of suspense, hoping Word will pull up recovery correctly. It always does, but that’s not the general rule with computers.

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