In the years since its creation, Word has grown from a simple word processor to a complex program with more functions than any one person could ever want. Word has consistently topped the list of the really great applications around. One of the best things I can say about it is that you can fire it up, start typing right away, and produce a pretty nice document—no experience necessary. There is also no end to the amount of functionality you can uncover if you feel like digging.

Of course, Word has its problems. It can be slow. It crashes sometimes (it even crashed while I was writing this preface). The interface is often frustratingly complex. Error messages are not helpful and the help system leaves a lot to be desired.

I’ve been using Word since it was created, and during the year I’ve spent writing this book, I’ve used it a lot. I considered myself a pretty savvy Word user when I started work on the book, but I quickly found out just how wrong I was. Like most of the people I’ve worked with, I had no idea of Word’s full potential.

I have tried my best to create an accurate, no-nonsense reference that covers not only how to accomplish various tasks, but also why you might want to accomplish them.

Organization of This Book

Word 2000 in a Nutshell is structured in three parts.

Part I is an overview of the interface and a look into the inner workings of Word. It is intended to give the reader a solid understanding of Word’s basic dynamics.

Chapter 1 is a quick reference to the basic Word interface that is aimed at getting a user up to speed quickly. Chapter 1 also includes a Task List, which functions as a sort of information desk for the book. It provides a quick reference to the most common tasks in Word and shows where in the book those tasks are detailed.

Chapter 2 is a critical chapter. It starts with a description of how Word builds its interface each time it starts and what environmental variables affect that process. From there, it opens Word’s hood and examines the nuts and bolts that make it work (and sometimes not work).

Chapter 3 covers the two primary tools used to customize Word’s operations and its interface: the Tools Options and Tools Customize commands.

Part II is the part of the book that should keep you coming back for more and will likely end up with the most dog-eared pages. The chapters are organized according to Word’s menus. Each chapter is organized by the commands on the menu it covers.

Chapter 4 details the menu commands used to start, save, close, and print documents, edit document properties, and exit the Word program.

Chapter 5 details the commands used for selecting and manipulating content and for searching documents.

Chapter 6 details the commands used for changing the way a document window looks and works.

Chapter 7 details the commands used for inserting fields, footnotes, cross-references, graphics, and other objects into a document.

Chapter 8 details the commands used for formatting content.

Chapter 9 details commands used for setting options, customizing Word, and accessing other tools that just don’t fit into Word’s other menus.

Chapter 10 details the commands used for building and manipulating tables.

Chapter 11 details the commands used for controlling document windows.

Chapter 12 details the commands used for getting help.

Part III brings the topics discussed earlier in the book to bear on actual tasks. In these chapters, you look over my shoulder while I walk through many of the interesting things you can do in Word.

Chapter 13 looks at several different tools Word offers for collaborating on documents with other users.

Chapter 14 walks through the creation of a sample template.

Chapter 15 examines the use of fields in Word and also walks through the creation of an electronic form.

Chapter 16 looks at tools Word includes for designing web pages and some methods for cleaning up the often messy HTML code that Word generates.

Chapter 17 shows how master documents can be used to group collections of documents for global formatting and printing.

Chapter 18 looks at the tools and methods for using Visual Basic for Applications to extend Word’s functionality to new levels.

This section includes supplemental reference information and several quick-reference lists.

Appendix A is a comprehensive reference to Word’s keyboard shortcuts, arranged by function.

Appendix B details the common registry keys used by Word.

Appendix C details the text converters and graphics filters included with Word 2000.

Appendix D is a complete list of all of the numbered tips included in the book.

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