Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Basic Word Processing Tips for Writers > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Basic Word Processing Tips for Writers

Word processors are so widely used now that I tend to take it for granted that most writers know how to perform basic tasks (e.g. double space their work, count the number of words, and indent a paragraph automatically). Every so often, however, I see a manuscript that reminds me that there are a lot of writers who are still using a word processor as they would an old-fashioned typewriter.

They put a double space after a full stop; they hit the space bar half a dozen times to indent a paragraph, and they tap 'Enter' at the end of every line to achieve double spacing. This can result in some peculiar effects - such as capital letters at the beginning of every 'double spaced' line. (The computer thinks you are starting a new paragraph when you hit 'enter', so it automatically starts it with a capital letter.)

Here are a few tips on how to perform basic word processing functions. I'm using Microsoft Word for these examples, because it is the most widely used word processor (and the one I'm most familiar with). However, you should find that most word processors work in a similar way.

How To Double Space Your Work

  • Type your story or scene in normal single spacing

  • Look for the word 'Edit' on the menu bar at the top of your screen. Click on it, then choose 'Select all' in the drop down menu. Slick on 'select all' and your story will be highlighted in black.

  • Look for the word 'Format' on the menu bar. Click on it, then choose 'Paragraph' from the drop-down menu.

  • A pop-up text box will appear. Look for the line that says 'Line spacing'. It will probably say 'single' in the rectangular box underneath it. Click on the arrow beside the box and a menu will drop down with other choices. Choose 'double' and then click on OK. Your whole story should immediately become double spaced.
How To Indent Your Paragraphs

If you set your work to the accepted layout for business letters and documents, your paragraphs will all be flush left, and you will have a space between each paragraph. Don't use this format for your manuscripts- otherwise when you double-space your work, the spaces between get double spaced as well. You will waste a lot of paper, and it can be annoying for the reader if you have a series of short paragraphs and therefore a lot of white space on the page.

Before you start typing, set your paragraphs up using this method:

  • Click on 'Format' on the menu bar at the top of your screen.

  • Click on 'Paragraph'. A text box will pop up.

  • Look for the word 'Indentation'. In that section, you will see the word 'Special'. It will probably be set to 'none'. Click on the arrow beside the box, and choose 'First line'. This means that just the first line of each paragraph will be indented. Don't close the text box yet.

  • In the section underneath you will see the words 'before' and 'after'. This refers to the space before and after your paragraph. Make sure both are set to zero. Then click OK.
How To Count Words
  • Click on 'Tools' on the menu at the top of your screen.

  • Choose 'Word Count'. A box will pop up with various statistics for your work in progress, including a word count.
Cutting, Copying, Pasting and Deleting
  • You can select (highlight) one word quickly by double-clicking it. You can select a whole paragraph by clicking the left mouse button three times.

  • To delete a word or a paragraph once it is highlighted, simply press the 'delete' key.

  • To move a highlighted sentence (or a word) to a different place in the paragraph, you can use either of these methods:

  • click on the 'edit' menu at the top of your screen, choose 'cut' from the drop-down menu, move your cursor to the place you want to insert the sentence, choose 'edit' then click on 'paste'.

  • Place your cursor (which turns into an arrow when you highlight text) anywhere in the highlighted text. Click and hold down the left mouse button. You will see a little box appear at the bottom of the arrow-this represents the block of text you are moving. Making sure you continue to hold down the left mouse button, drag the highlighted section to its new position. (You will see a grey cursor line moving with the text-just position that cursor where you want the sentence to start.)

  • If you want to copy text from one document to another, simply open two files at once. Highlight the text you want to copy as described here, but choose 'copy' from the 'edit' menu rather than 'cut'. Move to the second document (which will be open in separate window - look for it on the taskbar at the bottom of your screen; click on it and it will pop up. Alternatively, click on 'Window' on the menu bar at the top of the page, and choose the document you want from the list that drops down.) Place the cursor where you want to place the text copied from document #1, choose "Edit" then "paste".
How To Start A New Page

Sometimes (for example, when you want to start a new chapter) you will want to move to a new page when you are only part-way down the existing page. DON'T just keep tapping the 'Enter' key until you eventually arrive at a new page. This makes it harder for the editor to format the work later on.

To finish working on one page and move quickly to a new one, click on 'Insert' on the menu bar at the top of your screen. Then click on 'Break'. A box will pop up so you can choose what kind of break you want - in this case, it's simply "page break". This will probably be the one selected. Make sure there is a black dot in the circle next to 'page break' (do this by clicking on it if the circle is empty) and then click OK.

The "Undo" Arrow

This is a blessing for writers. If you make a mistake while editing, and end up losing a whole paragraph, page or section, simply click on the little blue curved arrow at the top of the screen. If one click doesn't get you back to where you were, keep clicking until you've undone the disaster. The arrow that curves to the left is 'undo'; the arrow that curves to the right is 'redo'.

(c) Copyright Marg McAlister

Marg McAlister has published magazine articles, short stories, books for children, ezines, promotional material, sales letters and web content. She has written 5 distance education courses on writing, and her online help for writers is popular all over the world. Sign up for her regular writers' tipsheet at http://www.writing4success.com/

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Voice of America

Report: Long Writing Assignments Now Less Common at US Colleges
Voice of America
Yet if you asked almost any professor or student, they would likely tell you that writing is one of the skills most often examined at colleges and universities. In the United States, writing long essays about complex subjects has been, in many cases, a ...


New York Times

The Writing Dead
New York Times
These days, when a popular author dies, financially savvy heirs often commission someone to keep writing his or her books. (There's even a term for this: “continuation literature.”) Sophie Hannah writes Agatha Christie novels; David Lagercrantz ...


Washington Post

'100 Kegs or Bust': Kavanaugh friend, Mark Judge, has spent years writing about high school debauchery
Washington Post
A review of books, articles and blog posts by Judge — a freelance writer who has shifted among jobs at a record store, substitute teaching, housesitting and most recently at a liquor store — describes an '80s private-school party scene in which heavy ...
Hard Case Crime: the Beauty of Male Passion | www.splicetoday.comSplice Today
Barack Obama: the first female presidentThe Daily Caller
'What happens at Georgetown Prep, stays at Georgetown Prep,' Kavanaugh joked in 2015USA TODAY
Campus News - Georgetown Preparatory School -Barnes & Noble
all 596 news articles »

Goshen News

SHADES OF GREEN: Naturalists inviting, inciting through writing
Goshen News
Who else has written about climbing a tree during a storm, traversing crevasse-ridden glaciers solo or walking 1,000 miles … all for a love of wilderness? Among these three heroic figures, Carson and Leopold are close runners-up, because their writing ...


Tuscaloosa News

OUTDOORS: Writing just as enjoyable as hunting
Tuscaloosa News
A lot of people contact me about the things that I write. Some have an exaggerated sense of my talent. Some have little or no respect for it. One thing that seems to pop up pretty frequently is the phrase, “I like to write, too.” Writing is neither as ...


New York Times

In Essays About Bodily Ailments and Other Conditions, Clues to Writing — and Life
New York Times
Many poets have in their oeuvres what they call an ars poetica to describe their philosophy of writing, inspired by a 2,000-year-old verse by Horace. But these formal apologia seem to give away the keys to the poetry kingdom — once we read them, we ...


Vulture

Saturday Night Live Adds Ego Nwodim to the Cast and 4 New Writers
Vulture
Saturday Night Live just announced several additions to the cast and writing staff. First up, Ego Nwodim has joined the SNL cast as a featured player and will make her onscreen debut during the season 44 premiere. In addition to her work at the Upright ...
'SNL' Adds Comedian Ego Nwodim and 4 New WritersComplex
Get ready for more Alec Baldwin as Trump on 'SNL'CNN
'Saturday Night Live' Adds Ego Nwodim to Season 44 CastHollywood Reporter

all 118 news articles »

Entrepreneur

Why is it Important to Write Your Business Plan?
Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur describes the business plan as “A written document describing the nature of the business, the sales and marketing strategy, and the financial background, and containing a projected profit and loss statement.” A business plan is needed by ...


Mental Floss

London's Trafalgar Square Gets a Poetry-Writing Red Lion
Mental Floss
London's historic Trafalgar Square just got a fifth lion, the BBC reports. The fluorescent red, AI-powered lion takes visitor-submitted words and turns them into two-line poems, which are displayed on a screen inside its mouth. The history-inspired ...

and more »

FOX 29 News Philadelphia

NJ doctor admits writing opioid prescriptions to help drug ring
FOX 29 News Philadelphia
WARREN, N.J. (AP) - A New Jersey doctor has admitted writing fraudulent prescriptions to funnel tens of thousands of high-dose opioid pills to a drug ring. George Beecher now faces up to 10 years in state prison when he's sentenced Nov. 16. He also ...

and more »
Google News

Before You Write Your Book, Organize Its Parts - Part 2

If you are a serious writer who wants to publish... Read More

Write Your Story, Put It On A Website, Sell Millions of Copies

Although he has his own website, John Grisham probably does... Read More

Blank Mind, Blank Screen: Need Ideas!

Q. I'm staring at a blank screen with an equally... Read More

Seven Compelling Reasons to Get Your Name on a Book Cover

Have you ever considered writing a book? If so, maybe... Read More

Keep your Book Dream Alive

Is your book nearly finished, finished, published, or even in... Read More

The Power of Punctuation

Punctuation, when used creatively, is powerful. Note, however, that when... Read More

Five Golden Rules for Writers

Regardless of what sort of writer you are and how... Read More

Beginnings

Just about everyone is familiar with this beginning: "In the... Read More

Write Strategy: Think, Believe, Attack

Think of writing like karate...it's about DISCIPLINE.Writing, like other forms... Read More

Pairs/Groups Of Words Often Confused - Part 3 of 6

ELICIT, ILLICITElicit means to extract or draw out; illicit means... Read More

Groundbreaking Work

Every writer knows that the urge to write is not... Read More

Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters - Writing a Screenplay Using Structure

Effective screenwriting relies on the good understanding and use of... Read More

Spiritual Journaling

Whether you keep a separate spiritual journal or just want... Read More

The Best Freelance Job Boards for Writers

How many times have you checked out a job board... Read More

Tips for First Time Authors : 2 Easy Steps to Make Your First Book a Success

Congratulations on writing your first book. That is quite an... Read More

The Magic of Layout in Your Story

"The Magic of Layout..."???Okay... "magic" might seem a bit over... Read More

Hunting for Markets Over the Holidays

Chances are, you'll be busy over the next several weeks.... Read More

8 Tips to Get Publishers to Notice You

If your articles aren't getting published very often, or you... Read More

Bring Out the Natural Writer in You

Think you can't write a book that will sell? You... Read More

For Beginners: Ten Ways To Prepare To Get Published

(Skip directly to ten for the fastest shortcut!)Like any field,... Read More

Do The Unfamiliar To Keep Your Writing Going

One of the best ways to blow someone's winning streak... Read More

Five EASY Ways to Improve Your Business Writing

Have you ever wondered why some people can make millions... Read More

Writing For Free: When & When Not to Do It!

Right off the bat, I want to say that there... Read More

Understanding Editorial Guidelines

Editorial guidelines, also known as writer's guidelines, are the rules... Read More

The Prologue - When to Use One, How to Write One

What is a prologue? When should you use one? Should... Read More