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What are some common errors that 
people make using Word?

 

This page last revised: 03 Oct 2017 14:18:55 -0500 .

a. Editing a document on a floppy disk. Don't edit documents on a floppy disk! - graphic from Woody's Lounge

Word normally stores all sorts of backup material on the disk directory of any document being edited. Even though you have plenty of room on a floppy, chances are good that you will eventually trash a document simply by using Word to edit it while it is stored on the floppy. Copy the document to your hard drive, do the editing there, and copy it back to your floppy when you are done. You can even put together a macro to do this. There is a macro built into WOPR that does this.

b. Working with paragraph markers and tab markers hidden.

Wordís formatting is tied into paragraphs and the actual formatting commands are located in the paragraph markers (∂) at the end of each paragraph. Things like margins (called indents), line spacing, fonts are all there. There is a difference between five blank spaces     and a tab            even though they may look the same on your screen (if you are not displaying them) and on your paper.

c. Using master documents.

This isn't really a common error in that few people try to use Master Documents. I guess the common part of the error is in assuming that Microsoft wouldn't really put such a time bomb in their program and actually encourage people to use it!

Editing a document on a floppy can mess up that document, but if it will fit on a floppy it isnít too huge a project, maybe only a couple of hundred pages and a monthís work. How about the 900-page manual youíve been working on for the past six months? Thatís right, the one with 26 chapters, 230 figures, 53 tables, an index and two appendices, ... the one your next promotion is riding on?. That wonít fit on a floppy . . . so to really mess it up, you can use the Master Document feature.

d. Not learning to use styles and templates.

If all you are doing is typing a letter or two, and you don't care a lot how it looks, you can afford to ignore styles. Otherwise, you are wasting a lot of time and energy. See John McGhie's excellent primer on styles and templates. A fine look at styles was just published by Microsoft in the Legal Users Guide to Microsoft Word. You can find this on-line at http://www.addbalance.com/usersguide (revised).

There are a number of excellent articles on the MVP FAQ site. You can start with:

Tips & Gotchas at mvps.org/word/FAQs/General/TipsAndGotchas.htm.

 

 

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