Basic Concepts of Microsoft Word - derived from Shauna Kelly's site

This page belongs to Shauna Kelly's estate and is posted here with permission. There is a link to the original above. The words in this page have not been changed much, but the links here have been changed to guide you to versions set up for the Ribbon versions of Word (Word 2007 and later). It is also in homage to Robin Williams' book "The Mac is Not a Typewriter."

See also: Microsoft Word Styles: A Deep Dive with Word Expert Greg Maxey 08-25-2021

Basic concepts of Microsoft Word: An introduction

This page, and those that follow from it, present some Basic Concepts of using Microsoft Word. These pages are designed for someone who is a new user of Word, although there might be

Basic Concept Pages

1. Start Typing Your Page

2. Rules for Typing in Word

2.1 Why you should not press Enter at the end of every line

2.2 Why you should press Enter only once to end a paragraph

2.3 Why you should use one space after each sentence

3. Use Styles to Format Text

4. Use Tables and Tabs to Arrange Text

5. Use a bulleted paragraph style for bullets and dotpoints

6. Make changes, fix mistakes, edit your document

7. Use page numbering and let the text flow from page to page

8. Print your document

(some links go directly to Shauna Kelly's unchanged pages on her site)


 something here even for those who have used Word for a while.

The Basic Concepts pages assume that you know how to start Word, how to click a menu item and choose an item on the menu. You also need to know the basics about how files are stored in folders (once known as directories), so that when you save your work, you'll be able to find it again tomorrow.

Assuming you know those things, these pages present basics of using Microsoft Word for newbies. We start from scratch.

A lot of people who come new to Word have used a typewriter in the past. Here's a sample document, and how you would produce it on a typewriter.

How to use a typewriter

Word is not a typewriter

Big idea here: Word is not a typewriter!

Word produces pieces of paper with text on them. So do typewriters. That's about where the similarity ends.

Word is not a typewriter. So you can't use it in exactly the same way as you would have used a typewriter.


Word is not WordPerfect, or anything like it

Word is also not WordPerfect, or Ami Pro, or any other word processing program. So if you're moving from WordPerfect or another word processor, you can't use Word in exactly the same way as you are used to using your old word processor.

Here is the same sample document, showing how you produce it in Word.

How to use Word

So, there are 8 basic concepts that we need to learn.

How the Basic Concepts pages work

There is one web page for each Basic Concept. Use the menu at the top left to go to the relevant page, or use the link below to go to the first Basic Concept. (In this copy so far, there is not the menu, you will have to go through them step-by-step.)

Each Basic Concept page is in three sections:

Next: Concept 1: Start typing your document

A philosophical aside

Microsoft designed Word to be friendly for the user. The outcome of that philosophy is that Word often has more than one way to achieve much the same thing.

If you're talking to friends or colleagues about using Word, they may do things differently.

There are sometimes no "right" or "wrong" ways to use Word. But some ways are easier or more effective than others.

Next: Concept 1: Start typing your document


This page is dedicated to my mother for two reasons. First, she was the one who made me learn to type when I was 12. Second, she had done a pretty good job of learning how to use Excel, so she used Excel to write a business letter. I decided that she needed somewhere to learn the basics of Word!


End of Shauna Kelly's page.