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Word for the Lazy
A few tweaks save time and typing when you're working in MS Word.
What a hassle it is to reinstall Windows and your applications-but dribbleware is making that a more common practice than ever. I've been thinking about all the tweaks I've applied to Word over the past year or so and how it would nettle me to have to apply them all over again. I composed a list of things I felt I should jot down in case I needed to restore all those little tweaks if I lost them. This month, I treat you to a few Word tweaklings.
As my mother and my wife would agree, I am essentially a lazy person. That goes for writing mechanics as well as household chores.
If there is a shortcut, I take it. If there is an easy way out, I find it. Over the years, I've come to rely heavily on Word's AutoCorrect. Not only does this trusty friend automatically correct me when I type "Widnosw" instead of "Windows," but it actually does some of my writing for me. I don't type "Control Panel"; I type "CP." I don't type "Dial-Up Networking"; I type "DUN." AutoCorrect fills in a host of other words and phrases I'm too lazy to type again and again. I have come to rely on AutoCorrect so much that when I sit down to work with someone else's copy of Word, I feel lost. My manuscripts take on a strange stuttering quality, full of half-eaten words.
Laziness isn't the only reason to use AutoCorrect. Maybe you have a large collection of shortcuts and common typographical errors you would like to share with coworkers so they can be as productive as you. All you have to do is migrate those AutoCorrect entries from one Word installation to another.
Make AutoCorrect portable
Windows stores Word AutoCorrect entries in three places: the Registry, NORMAL.DOT and the USER0000.ACL file (USER is your user name) located in the Windows folder. Moving AutoCorrect entries from one computer to another or recreating AutoCorrect entries after a reinstallation of Word is a matter of copying the Registry settings and the two files to the other Word installation.
First, choose Start/Run and enter Regedit in the Run dialog box to start the Registry Editor. If you're using Word 7.0 (Office 95), open the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Office\95\AutoCorrect. If you're using Word 97, open HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Office\8.0\ Common\AutoCorrect.
On the Registry Editor menu, select Registry/Export Registry File. Save the Registry to a diskette under an appropriate name, such as MIGRATE.REG, then close the Registry Editor.
Next, copy the file NORMAL.DOT from the MSOffice\Templates folder (if Office is in another directory, substitute that directory for MSOffice in the path) to the diskette. Then copy the USER0000.ACL file from the Windows directory.
On the target computer, make backup copies of NORMAL.DOT and the USER0000.ACL files. Replace these files with those from the diskette. If you've customized Word in other ways on the target computer, rename the old NORMAL.DOT file to something like OLDNORMAL.DOT, then place it in the MSOffice\Winword\Startup folder. This makes the file and its macros available to you when you start Word.
To complete the move, open Registry Editor on the target computer and open the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Microsoft Office\95 or \Microsoft Office\8.0\Common, depending on your version of Office. Choose Registry/Import Registry File. Import the Registry file from the diskette, then close the Registry Editor. Your AutoCorrect entries will be available the next time Word is started on the target computer.
Create a common file list
I like the way Word places the names of the last few documents I've worked with on the File menu for quick access, but I'd rather have a permanent list of files I frequently use. So I created one. I'll explain how to do this in Word 7.0 first, then I'll go over the procedural differences for Word 8.0.
To create your own menu of documents, you must first open all of the documents you want to place on the menu. There is no need to open them one at a time if they all reside in the same folder. Just hold down the Ctrl key, click on each of the files you want to open, then click Open.
Next, choose Tools/Customize. Click on the Menus tab to display the Menus property page. Click Menu Bar to open the Menu Bar dialog box. Type &Quick in the "Name on menu bar" text box. (You can name the menu anything you like-it doesn't have to be called Quick.) Now you determine where you want the Quick menu to appear on the menu bar. If you want it to appear on the far left or right side of the menu bar, choose First or Last from the "Position on menu bar" list, then click on Add. Or select a menu from the list of menus and click Add After to add the Quick menu after the selected one. Click on Close to dismiss the dialog box.
What's on the Menu?
To add filenames to the Quick menu, select FileOpenFile from the Commands list. A FileOpenFile drop-down list of all open documents appears on the dialog box. One at a time, choose a file from the FileOpenFile list, then click Add. Repeat the process for as many files as you want to add to the list. When you're finished, click on Close. You'll find a new Quick menu, containing your most-frequently used documents, on your menu bar.
Documents added to the Quick menu are placed at the bottom of the menu by default. If you prefer, you can place a specific entry at the top or bottom of the menu list. To place a document at the top of the menu, choose At Top from the "Position on menu" drop-down list. To place a document at the bottom, choose At Bottom.
To place a document at a spot on the menu below another specific document, pick the existing file's name from the "Position on menu" drop-down list. The Add button will change to Add Below. Click on Add Below to place the new document below the selected one.
To remove a document from the Quick menu, choose Tools/Customize. Select &Quick from the "Change what menu" drop-down list. From the "Position on menu" drop-down list, select the document you want to remove, then click Remove.
If you're working with Word 8.0, the process is similar, but not identical. To add a new menu, choose Tools/Customize. Click on the Commands tab, then look at the bottom of the Categories list for New Menu. Select New Menu, then drag and drop New Menu from the Commands list to the spot where you want the new one. Right-click on the new menu, highlight the name in the Name text box, then name the menu.
To add documents to the Word 8.0 menu, select All Commands from the Categories list on the Commands property page. From the Commands list, choose FileOpenFile. A FileOpenFile drop-down list appears near the bottom of the property sheet. Select the open file you want to add to the menu, then drag FileOpenFile from the Command list to the menu. To remove a document from the menu, open the menu and right-click on the document you want to remove, then choose Delete from the context menu.
In addition to placing documents on a menu, you might also want to assign shortcut keys to specific files. When you want to open the file, you just press the shortcut key combination on the keyboard. To assign shortcut keys to documents, first open the documents to make them available in the file list. Then, choose Tools/Customize. Click on the Keyboard tab to display the Keyboard property page. In the Commands text box, choose FileOpenFile. From the FileOpenFile drop-down list, select the file to which you want to assign the shortcut key. Click in the "Press new shortcut key" text box, then press the key combination you want to assign to the document. Then, click Assign to apply the shortcut.
One final tip: You might prefer to remove documents from a menu using the mouse. To do so, press Ctrl+Alt+- to change the pointer to a horizontal bar. Click on the item you want to remove and it goes away. You can easily remove any menu item-not only documents-using this shortcut. It's possible to remove the Exit command from the File menu, for example. You might find this helpful, particularly if you support others and want to limit their access to specific commands.
If you decide to restore the default menu structure to Word, choose Tools/Customize. In the Menus property page, click the Reset All button. Word will restore your original menu settings.
Contributing Editor Jim Boyce is the author of Upgrading PCs Illustrated (Que, 1997). Contact Jim with your questions and tips in the "Applications" topic of WINDOWS Magazine's areas on America Online and CompuServe, or care of the editor at the addresses here.