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Our Word expert is, of course, TheWordExpert. Dreamboat has long been frequenting the free technical support sites and providing people with free help. She finally made the site to create an FAQ of sorts, so she didn't have to keep typing the same information over and over. Now, Dreamboat just links to her site.

Dreamboat's Recommended Settings

Troubleshooting Word

Lost Toolbars - Limited Troubleshooting Required

Troubleshooting Documents

Normal Dot What?

Mail Merge

Mail Merge in Word 2002 (XP)

Easy Guided Forms

Fill-In Forms

Envelopes & Labels Tricks

All About Tables

Page and Section Breaks

Outline Numbering Made Easy

Tips from My New Friend


Dreamboat's Recommended Settings for Word

There are certain settings in Word that can cause problems or confusion. Here, Dreamboat gives you the settings she uses, and suggests you use them as well. By using these settings, you'll be able to learn more about Word, and have many features available.

The settings are described for use with Word 2000, but can be found in similar locations in all other versions of Word.

We don't like some of the new interface that came with Word 2000. Mostly the toolbars and menus, and the multiple-document interface. We cannot understand why Microsoft would want to hide Word's features from us. Many people learn by making mistakes, and they are reducing Word's features by not allowing us to discover them.

Toolbars and Menus

The toolbars in Office 2000 are, by default, displayed on one line. Also by default, the menus show only the most recently used commands. Then you read some instructions at some tech site and you cannot understand because you don't "have" that menu item or toolbar button. Well, you DO have it, but you might not see it right away.

To fix both of these problems at the same time, go to Tools-Customize and hit the Options tab. Get rid of the checkmarks in the top two checkboxes. That's it!

NOTE: Word XP is just a bit different for this particular feature. In Word XP, you will want to have both options CHECKED.

Single-Document Interface

What the heck is that? You already know--even if you don't think you do. It's the way Word now has one window and taskbar button for EACH document instead of just one Word window with many documents. There is a template floating around on the internet that supposedly fixes the beast. Don't bother. The interface provided by the template is, in Dreamboat's humble opinion, no better than learning how to live with it.

Microsoft provided a setting in Excel to change the interface, but not in Word. Ho hum... The option for Word has been added in Word 2002 (XP).

Autocorrect Settings

Microsoft just keeps forcing beginners, again and again, to use the features provided by the software. Unfortunately, if you don't know what's happening, it makes Word so much harder to use. Dreamboat recommends these settings under Tools-Autocorrect, Autoformat as you type Tab. Remove the checkboxes from the top and bottom sections. Leave the middle section alone, unless you know what you want to do differently.

In Word XP, the Autoformat as you type tab is different. In this case, remove the options from the 2nd and 3rd sections, leaving the top section alone or setting as desired.

Intruders and Troublemakers

Dreamboat offers the following. She didn't quite have time to go into the details of WHY these settings ought to be changed, but recommends you change them anyway:

Office 97 users should open their C:\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup folder and remove any shortcuts that reference FindFast.

From Word's menu, choose Tools-Options, Save tab. Remove the checkmarks from Allow fast saves and Allow background saves. Make sure there's a checkmark in Prompt to save normal template and Save autorecovery info.

Tools-Options, Printing tab--the checkbox for Background printing should NOT be checked.

Make sure the location shown under Tools-Options, File locations tab meet your needs. 

Want to change the splash screen that says something like "Licensed to Valued Customer"? Just go to the Tools-Options, User information tab.

Troubleshooting Word

Many people post their problem, then go on to explain how they have reinstalled Office. For many problems, reinstalling Office does not help. Here are the steps you should take, in order. They apply to Windows 95 or 98. Persons with other Operating Systems should adjust their Windows menu commands accordingly.

If you have lost your toolbars in Word, take only step 3. If that does not work, then take step 5, which always works.

Step 1. Ensure that Word, and not the document, is the problem.

If you experience the behavior in any file, and particularly in a new file, then you know that the problem lies with Word. If you cannot duplicate the behavior in another file, it is likely a corrupt document. The steps to troubleshoot corrupt documents can be found in the next section.

Step 2. Clean up your hard drive.

Keeping your hard drive clean is of the utmost importance, particularly when attempting to troubleshoot other problems. Click to go to Cleanup Instructions.

Step 3. Rename

With Word closed, find and rename the file on your system. If there is more than one, rename them all. To search for, double-click My Computer. Hit the Search button. Type in "" without the quotes, and hit search. See bulleted notes below for more information. To rename the file(s), right-click and hit Rename. Then rename the file(s) to,, or anything you like--as long as it is not

If you cannot find

Check under User Templates in the Tools-Options menu of Word, on the File Locations tab. If you do not have "permission" to rename, check with your network administrator or internal helpdesk (applies only on some PCs at work, not home users).

If you have Windows XP, you may need to turn on viewing of system files in order to find your To do so, open Windows Explorer, and go to Tools-Folder Options. Choose the View tab, and choose to Show Hidden Files and Folders.

After you have renamed, launch Word. If the problem is not resolved, move to step 4. is the default or global template that Word uses to create a blank document. is always in use when Word is open, even if you are using another template. It is very common for files to become corrupt. They also store macro viruses.

When you launch Word, it looks for and opens it. For more information on and Word 2000, see the MS Technet Article at

If Word cannot locate a file, it creates a brand new one. When you first install Word, is not installed with it. Uninstalling does not delete These facts explain why reinstalling Office or Word does not fix a problem with a corrupt or virus-infected file. Your newly installed program finds right where it was before.

You may have settings in your that you would like to keep. That is why, instead of deleting, it is recommended that you rename it to or Then, you can use the Organizer to copy such things as macros and toolbars from the old template to the new one.

Step 4. Check the Startup folder.

With Word closed, use Windows Explorer to find the Word Startup folder, usually C:\program files\Microsoft\Office\Word\Startup. Make sure there are no files in there that you did not intentionally put in there yourself.

Word has the STARTUP folder and Excel has the XLSTART folder. Files in either of these folders are automatically opened when you launch the respective program.

Step 5. "Dump" the registry key.

Ensure that Word is closed. You'll be opening the Windows Registry Editor. You may have read that this is dangerous, and that can be true. Normally, we would backup your registry to be safe, but we're going to rename only your Word key. The new Word key that gets created in the registry can be deleted, and the old one renamed back to its original name if necessary, but this is highly unlikely. If you follow the instructions exactly, you will not have a problem.

Start-->Run and type:


Hit your Enter key. As you might browse folders in Windows Explorer, browse to the appropriate path:

For Word 97:

For Word 2000:

For Word XP:

If you are unable to find this folder, or do not understand how to find it, then you should stop here and get support over the phone or in person.

Once you have found the path, right click the Word folder, hit Rename and rename it to OldWord. Hit Enter, and then exit the Registry Editor; and then relaunch Word. If this still has not resolved the problem, move on to Step 6.

Step 6. Uninstall, Erase, and Reinstall Office.

Uninstall using Add/Remove programs in the Control Panel. Start-->Settings-->Control panel. Select Office, and then choose Remove.

Run Eraser 97 or 2000, as appropriate. Instructions and downloads can be found at:

Office 97:

Office 2000:

Prior to reinstalling any program, make sure that there are no programs running in the background that could interfere with the installation. Hit ctrl-alt-del to bring up your task list. One by one, end task on all items EXCEPT Explorer and Systray.

Reinstall the program using the disks.

Troubleshooting Files

Office and other files can become corrupt for any number of reasons. Some can be explained and some cannot.

General Tricks for Many/Any File Types

One trick that might work with any type of Office file is to hold down the left shift key while you double-click to open the file. Why? This keeps automatic Visual Basic code from running and certain other auto-commands, which may be causing the error. (Similarly, this sometimes works if you’re getting an error starting a program; hold the shift key down while you launch the program.)

Another trick that works is to open them from a higher version of a SIMILAR program. You might not always get the results you want, but you’ll be able to edit it and save it back. Sometimes, a different program doesn’t interpret the corrupt portion of the document. For instance, try opening a Word 97 file with Wordperfect 8; try opening an Excel 97 file with Lotus 1-2-3 Millenium. Both Office 2000 and Office XP have improved performance working with troubled files, and can often repair the files.

If you’re at work, and store your files on a network drive, you can always retrieve a copy of your file from the previous network backup. Depending on the size of your company and the response time of your helpdesk, this can take anywhere from 10 minutes to twenty-four hours or even longer.

If your file resides on a floppy, always try the following, no matter how ridiculous it sounds: take the floppy out and blow on the areas (don’t spit on it!). If that does not work, try copying the file from the floppy to a location on the hard drive. If that does not work, try running scandisk and defrag on the floppy drive. Lastly, take it to another PC and attempt to open it. If the latter works, you might want to have your floppy drive checked out.

Troubleshooting Word Documents

Open the file and hit the show/hide button on your standard toolbar. With your cursor at the beginning of your document, hit ctrl-end. Then, hold down the left shift key and use the left arrow key to deselect any extra paragraph markers at the bottom of your document. If there is only one, you may want to go ahead and deselect the last sentence of your document-—you can always retype it. Hit the copy button or ctrl-c to copy the document. Paste it into a new, blank document, and save it. Generally, if the file size has reduced considerably, you’ve probably gotten rid of the corruption. (You may need to reset certain formatting, such as landscaped pages.) Hit File-Properties and then the General tab to view the file size in the original document, and then in the new document; or just go to Windows Explorer to compare sizes.

Try saving the file to Rich Text Format (RTF). Close the file. Reopen it and save it back to a Document (DOC) file again. This trick is particularly helpful with files that contain tables.

If that doesn’t work, most likely there is a graphic or other object in the document that is corrupt. You can copy and paste pieces of your document to a new document, saving the new document each time, until you get the error. Then you can copy the rest of the document—all but that portion, into the new document.

Another trick is to open a blank document, hit enter at least once, then hit Insert-File and insert your "bad" file into the new file. This method also removes protection from a document that has been protected using Tools-Protect Document, even if it's got a password. You will lose tracked changes if there were any in the document.

If all else fails, you can always try the “Recover text from any file” option under the file types in Word when you open the document. You will then have to reformat the document. However, if the document was primarily text, you may find yourself grateful to have it.

Normal Dot What?

Understanding is important when troubleshooting Word. (endearingly referred to as Normal Dot Dot) is the default or global template that Word uses to create a blank document. is always in use when Word is open, even if you are using another template. It is very common for files to become corrupt. They also store macro viruses.

When you launch Word, it looks for and opens it. If your is corrupt, it can cause Word to crash upon launching Word.

If Word cannot locate a file, it creates a brand new one. When you first install Word, is not installed with it. Uninstalling does not delete These facts explain why reinstalling Office or Word does not fix a problem with a corrupt or virus-infected file. Your newly installed program finds right where it was before.

The location of the file that Word is looking for can be found by opening Word, and using Tools-Options, File locations tab. Double-click User templates. The location is in the lower area of the window under Folder name. If you're unable to see the whole path, hit your Home key on the keyboard.

You may have settings in your that you would like to keep, such as customized toolbars and macros, while getting rid of may be necessary due to corruption. So, instead of deleting, it is recommended that you rename it to or Then, you can use the Organizer to copy such things as macros and toolbars from the old template to the new one.

For more information on and Word 2000, see the MS Technet Article at

Mail Merge

Mail merges are used when the same printed matter or email needs to be sent to multiple people. When you receive those prize-winning envelopes in the mail and wonder how it was typed just for you—they have surely used a mail merge feature from some piece of software.

When you need to create labels for your holiday card list, mail merge is just the ticket.

Mail merges can be used for other purposes. Suppose you keep track of all the personal computers at your company, and you need to put a label on each one that contains its specifications. You can create a data file containing that information, and then create a mail merge that places that information in a standard format on a large label to place on each machine.

Using mail merge, you can easily create any number of products:


Mailing labels

File folder labels

Name tags

Place setting tags

Product tags

Price tags

There are three documents for a mail merge. The final product or merged document that is created, the main document from which the final product is created, and the data source that is merged into the main document.

Data Source Files

For a mail merge, you need a data source file that contains a record on each item. For instance, a record might be one person's name and mailing address, or a part number with its dimensions and price.

This data file can be in one of many different formats. It may already be in a Word table, an Excel file, an Access database table or query, a comma-separated file (CSV file), or other file. The data may already exist in your Outlook address book or Contacts folder.

You do not need to use all of the information in your data file to perform the mail merge. You may have an employee list that contains addresses, but also contains social security numbers and salaries. Your data file can be left intact and information that isn't used can be ignored. You can continue to use your data source files for other purposes; using it to perform a mail merge in no way affects your existing file.

The data source file must be formatted so that the column headings (also called labels or field names) are the first line or row in the file, and the first record is the second line or row in the file.

Once you are certain that your data source file meets this criteria, you can continue with the mail merge.

Main Document

The main document is the label, letter or other product that you are producing. It always begins as a Word document. If you need to perform the mail merge more than once, you'll want to save the main document as a template prior to performing your first merge.

For our purpose of describing these steps, we are using a data source file that contains six columns of data: First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, Zip.

If you have already typed your letter, open it. To create mailing labels or envelopes, just have a blank document open.

Mail Merge Steps


From Word's menu, choose Tools-Mail Merge, which invokes the Mail Merge Helper. In Word XP, you'll choose Tools-Letters and Mailings-Mail Merge Wizard. From this point, the steps are virtually the same, except that Word XP's wizard is a bit more helpful.

Hit the Create button and choose the type of document that you want to create. If you've already opened your letter, or if you are creating mailing labels or envelopes, then choose the Active Window button when you are asked what document to use.

Get Data

Hit the Get Data button and you are asked about your data source. Choose the appropriate option.

NOTE: If you choose Create Data Source in Word XP (2002), you will be taken to an Access database by default. We believe most users will be working with their previous setups. For previous versions, continue reading.

If you choose Create Data Source, a form pops up into which you can enter data. Follow the steps to produce the data file. Once you have created this type of data source file, Word saves it in a file in table format. If you plan to use the data again, it is very important that you save this data file and know where on your computer it has been saved. Any time you want to edit it, you can use the mail merge option, or you can open the file directly and edit the data directly in the table.

If you are getting your data from an existing data source file, such as an Excel file, you need to choose Open Data Source, change the Files of type to the type of file in which your data resides, browse to your file, and then open it. When you have provided Word with a data source file, you are prompted to Edit Main Document. Choose this option. The mail merge toolbar appears; and will appear whenever you open the main document unless you choose to turn it off.

Edit Main Document

The Insert Merge Field dropdown on the mail merge toolbar provides a list of the headings, labels, or field names in your data source file. For our example, place your cursor in the document where you would like the Name to appear and hit Insert Merge Field and choose First Name from the dropdown. Insert a space in your main document so that there is a space between the First Name and Last Name. Hit Insert Merge Field and choose Last Name. You'll want to hit Enter now to get to the next line. Insert the rest of the merge fields as appropriate, remembering to type in punctuation such as a comma and space after the City field and two spaces after the State and before the Zip code.

After you have inserted all of your merge fields, you can test the data by hitting the <<abc>> button on the mail merge toolbar. Turn the button off after testing.

At this point, save your file. It can be saved as a document or as a template. If you save it as a template and want to perform the merge now, close it, and then hit File-New and choose the template. Saving as a template ensures that you won't overwrite your main document.


Finally, to perform the merge, you can choose the appropriate button from the mail merge toolbar, or from the Mail Merge Helper. Choose to mail merge it to a New Document, Email, or to the Printer. Because printers can sometimes cause problems, Dreamboat suggests not to use the To Printer option. If your merged document is more than about 100 items, Dreamboat suggests you save the newly merged document--at least temporarily--until you have completed printing it. This allows you to print some now, and some tomorrow.

If you have not already done so, you now want to save the data source file (if created in Word) and the main document. Dreamboat's reminder: if you intend to use the same main document again, save it as a template.

Mail Merge in Word 2002 (XP)

When they made Word XP, Microsoft took one of their best features and made it impossible to use: The Mail Merge Wizard. Although the basic steps are all accounted for, they seem obscured by the items that are new with XP.

Here are the steps you need to take to get through a Word XP mail merge without missing anything:

Merge a Letter Already Created

  1. Open your mail merge letter or a blank document.

  2. Go to Tools-->Letters and Mailings-->Mail merge wizard.

  3. You are now on Step 1 of the Mail merge wizard. Choose Letters at the top and hit Next: Select Document at the bottom.

  4. You are now on Step 2 of the Mail merge wizard. Choose Current document at the top and hit Next: Select Recipients at the bottom.

  5. You are now on Step 3 of the Mail merge wizard. Choose Use an existing list at the top. Hit the Browse button to get your list, making sure you change the Files of type to the type of file in which your data resides. Hit Ok. You may also need to choose which spreadsheet, table, or query you want to get your data from, depending on the type of file. Hit Ok. Now your data list comes up. All of the records in your data should be checkmarked. If you only want to choose certain records, uncheck the others. At the bottom, choose Next: Write your letter.

  6. You are now on Step 4 of the Mail merge wizard. Write your letter if necessary. On the task pane at right, choose More. (More is generally used in software to describe items that might be seldom used. In this case, this is where we find the mail merge fields that we always use.) Insert your merge fields in the appropriate places in your letter. If you want to repeat a merge field, for instance, a person’s name, throughout the letter, insert the merge field at each location you want it to appear. Hit Next: Preview your letters.

  7. You are now on Step 5 of the Mail merge wizard. You can use the left and right arrows on the task pane to see what your merged letters will look like. Hit Next: Complete the merge.

  8. You are now on Step 6 of the Mail merge wizard. At this point, you have the option to Print your letters or to Edit individual letters. If you’re familiar with previous versions of Word’s mail merge, you should hit Edit individual letters, then choose All. This gives you a document that contains all your merged letters—which is what we’re used to from previous versions. We all know that when printing a bunch of documents, we could easily choose the wrong tray, the wrong paper could be in the tray, or some error could occur. We suggest saving this file and THEN printing it, especially if it contains more than a few letters. You can easily delete the file after you’ve successfully printed it.

Easy Guided Forms

If you have used the fax cover sheet and other templates in Word, you have used guided forms. Guided forms is Dreamboat's term, for lack of another. You might call them macrobutton forms, but some people get scared when they hear *macro*.

There are no restrictions on these forms, they just help the user complete the form with the necessary information. Unlike protected, fill-in forms, guided forms can also be edited and changed by the user in areas other than the *form* area. A guided form field looks something like this in print or page layout view:

When you view the code behind it by hitting Alt-F9, it looks rather different:

Macro Buttons

Macro buttons are used here, but not with their original purpose. You can easily copy these fields from existing templates, and paste them into your document. Hit Alt-F9, change the instruction between the brackets and hit Alt-F9 to turn off the code view.

They're rather simple to create manually, however. Just choose Insert-Field, choose the Document Automation category, then choose Macro button. As shown in the dialog below, simply type in your instruction as shown:

When you're done creating all of the fields you need, you can save it as a template. Choose File-New and double-click your template whenever you want to use it.

Fill-in Forms

Fill-in forms are so misunderstood! They're one of the easiest things to create. What are they good for? How many times have you received a form to fill out, and then, when you type in the information, the underlines move over and your text isn't underlined anyway? It works great if you print it and fill it out by hand, but how do you get it back to the sender now? Well, you *could* scan it with a scanner, but why did they send you this kind of form anyway?

Download the Sample Fill-In Forms File

To prepare your Word settings to work best with creating forms, go to Tools-Options, View tab, and choose Field Shading [Always], and open a new, blank document. Go to View-Toolbars and choose the Forms toolbar.

Form Fields

Form fields are the area in your document where your user will be able to enter information. When your form is complete, the fields are the ONLY areas of the document that can be changed.

Text Form Fields

Click on the ab| button to insert a text form field. Double-click the gray form field that appears, or click on the form field and hit the Properties button (the icon with the hand on it) on the Forms toolbar. You now have a Properties window for that text form field. Suppose that you are creating a contract form, and this particular field will be used for the contractor's name. Give this form field a bookmark name of "Contractor". Bookmarks may only be one word, so if you use "Contractor Name", you must put "ContractorName" as the bookmark. Later in your document, where ever you want the Contractor Name to appear again, you insert a cross-reference to this bookmark and it has a name you can understand instead of Text1 or Text2. I hope this is easy to understand.

Suppose you want to use this text form field for an account number, and suppose that your account numbers are something like ABC01, ABC02, etc. You will want to restrict the size of this text form field to 5 characters, as the default you can enter LLLNN to indicate the *syntax* of the expected entry. You can use Uppercase text formatting to ensure that your account numbers are all uppercase. You'll note that you can add help text as well.

Check Box Form Fields

This one is fairly straightforward. Insert a checkbox, and then double-click it to view the properties. Suppose you have a checkbox for Yes and one for No. Perhaps you already know that 60% of the responses will be Yes. You could have Yes default to checked. To have the ability to only allow one checkbox to be selected requires custom Visual Basic for Applications code that can be provided by Oz, our resident VBA expert, for a small fee.

Dropdown Form Fields

These form fields are much easier than you would think! Insert one and double-click it. You can add items to the list, organize them alphabetically or by the most popular to least popular. A field like this can be used for choose from a list of specific items. This avoids mistakes from typos, particularly if your list is limited. There's a 25-item limit! If you find yourself needing more, label each drop-down form field with some kind of criteria. For instance, suppose you've got 73 department names. Make three drop-down form fields, one each for department names that begin with A through J, K through R, and S through Z.

Consider using the drop-down form field instead if, for instance, you have a limited number of accounts as described under the Text form field options.

If you do not want your drop-down form field to appear as if the first item is selected, create an item with no text, but a dozen or so spaces. Even though you cannot see it, you can move it to the top of the list in the properties box. When the form is viewed, that item shows *nothing* selected.

Creating Forms in Tables

If your form is, for instance, a subcontractor agreement that is fairly standard, you will just want to insert form fields as described above.

However, if your form is something that needs to mostly be completed, you may want to use tables. Forms with tables are especially nice because they can be filled out electronically and by hand. Using table borders to underline your form field can make it look like it was a form that was put into a typewriter and completed.

Tips for creating forms in tables:

Begin by creating a table that twice as many columns as it does entries (check box form fields only require one column). Suppose you have name and date on one line. Make four columns. The first cell will contain "Name:", the second will contain your form field and will have a bottom border on it (unless you are keeping all of your cell borders). The third will contain "Date:", and the fourth will contain a text form field formatted as a date, and can have a bottom border.

Again, begin the table by creating a table that has twice the number of the most entries you have on one line. Suppose you have 5 dollar values on one line. Start your table with 10 columns. One cell for each label (description) of the dollar value and one cell for each dollar value amount.

Protecting the Form

Form documents must be protected for the form fields to work. The last button on the Forms toolbar, which looks like a padlock, allows you to quickly protect the form while you are creating it to ensure that your form fields work as planned. However, to truly protect your form prior to actually using it, go to Tools-Protect document, and choose Forms. Give it a password if you like.

Warning: When you protect the form, fill it out, and then decide to change something in the form, you must unprotect it. If you unprotect it, fix that item, then re-protect your form, all of your filled-in form fields will be empty again! Word 2002 (XP) retains the information, lesser version do not.

In order to unprotect the form in Word 2000, you must use the following code before and after your procedure:


ActiveDocument.Unprotect Password:=""


ActiveDocument.Protect Type:=wdAllowOnlyFormFields, NoReset:=True, Password:=""

Warning: You may have protected your form, but anyone can create a new document from it simply by opening a blank document, and hitting Insert-File, and inserting your form document. Your form is now unprotected. The good thing is that if you forget the password for your form, you can use the same method to unprotect it and then re-protect it.

Spellchecking a Form

After completing your form, your users may want to spellcheck it. The spellcheck option is grayed-out and unavailable. The form must be unprotected, spellchecked and then re-protected. You will not want to let your users do this because they may lose the entries they've made. Visual Basic for Applications code is required to work around this. This is available for download on our Free Downloads page!

Uh oh! Hyperlinks Don't Work in Protected Forms!

That's right. So here's your workaround:

You will need to have a form field to which you want to hyperlink or you can create one. (If you want this to be a *hidden* form field, particularly if you are protecting your document but not for form purposes, select it and make it one point in font size and one character length.) Give the bookmark a friendly name for you to refer to.

Record a macro that does an *Edit-Go to* the bookmark for that form field.

Insert a command button next to what you *would* have clicked on for your hyperlink.

Have that command button run your macro.

Envelopes & Labels Tricks

The purpose of labels and envelopes is pretty self-explanatory. But when you choose Tools-Envelopes and Labels, you can get pretty lost. You're not alone.


Dreamboat has spoken with many people who have difficulty figuring out how to *save* the envelope feeding option for their printer. Here's her workaround:

Create a new document. Go to File-Page setup. For the paper size, choose Com10 or business envelope, choose Landscape. Choose the paper source (the envelope feed tray or manual feed tray, whichever the case may be). Set the margins at approximately the following:









Ignore the header, footer, and gutter settings.

Hit Ctrl-A and change the font to desired. Save the file as a template called Now, whenever you want to create an envelope, just hit File-New and choose it. You can create many by hitting Ctrl-Enter (to insert a page break) after each address is complete.

If you want a return address, simply use a text box (from the Drawing toolbar) and type it into there. Place the textbox on the upper-left corner. Working in Page layout or Print layout view is best for these purposes.

Under label options and in addition to mailing address labels, you'll find business cards, Rolodex cards, index cards, and file folder labels. Dreamboat uses the term *labels* when, in fact, you may be creating business cards or some other type of product.

You may want to find the Avery or Avery-equivalent number of the product you have purchased on which to print your labels. This makes your job easier. Many generic brand labels refer to the Avery-equivalent number on their packaging.

Blank Labels

To create a blank sheet of labels into which you can type labels on-the-fly, simply choose Tools-Envelopes and Labels, and choose the Labels tab. Hit the options button to choose your label layout and hit OK. Then hit the New Document button. Go to the Table menu and ensure that the bottom item says Hide gridlines. This indicates that you can see the outlines of the labels. If it says Show gridlines, click it to see them.

If you want to change the font type or size in this new labels document, do so by hitting ctrl-A on your keyboard and selecting them now. Likewise, if you are creating name tags or similar products, you may want to also center the text now. Ctrl-A selects the entire document. Ctrl-E centers it.

All About Tables

This one is so definitive, Dreamboat felt it would be far easier for you to read if you print it out. You can open or save the file below by clicking on the file name or save it by right-clicking and hit Save Target as or Save Link as.

Page and Section Breaks

When dealing with page and section breaks and, for that matter, at all other times, Dreamboat suggests you get used to having the show/hide button on at all times. 

You can also activate this setting by going to Tools-Options, View tab, and choosing to view All formatting marks.

Page Breaks

Okay. Page breaks are simple, right? But so many people still hit the Enter key to get to the next page. Just hit Ctrl-Enter instead. Page breaks don't do much of anything but break to the next page. You can insert breaks by using the menu Insert-Break, and choosing the type of break you want. Read on...

Column Break

These are not table columns, these are page columns. They serve as page breaks if you haven't set your document up to have multiple columns. If you have columns, they break to the top of the next column.

Text Wrapping Break

A text wrapping break begins the next paragraph beyond the text-wrap area.

Section Breaks

There are several different section breaks, and some rules that Dreamboat recommends you follow when using them. The most common use of section breaks is changing the headers and footers from one section (chapter, if you prefer) of the document to the next section. Suppose you have a manual on electricity. You might have sections on Theory, Components, and Wave Forms. You might want those sections to have their own titles in the headers or footers. In order to have different headers and footers in different areas of the document, you must insert section breaks. You can then turn off the *same as previous* option on the header and footer toolbar, and change the text in the header.

Next Page

Use these most of the time. This is ideal in the situation of the manual on electricity. You might have a cover page and a Table of Contents in the first section; the Theory, Components, and Wave Forms will each have their own sections; and you might have an appendix or index, with their own sections. So you can see how easily a document could end up with seven or eight sections.

A next-page section break simply combines a section break with a page break, without having to insert them separately.

Use a next-page section break to insert landscaped pages in your document. For instance, to insert one landscaped page, insert a next-page section break at the end of the previous page. Immediately insert another one. Turn your show/hide button on, and with your cursor in front or above the second section break, hit File-Page setup. Go to the layout tab. At the bottom-right of the dialog, choose *this section only* and change the page layout from portrait to landscape. While your cursor remains between these two section breaks, you can create as many pages as you like to be landscaped by hitting Ctrl-Enter, or just continuing to create your document.


Dreamboat hates continuous section breaks and avoids them at all costs. When used properly, they are used to create a section within a page to set multiple columns (Dreamboat says just insert a two-column, one-row table instead), or to separate that areas of a fill-in form that are to be protected or unprotected.

When opening WordPerfect files, Word users may find many unnecessary continuous section breaks.


Again, Dreamboat tries to avoid using these at all costs. The presence of these as an option in Word is reasonable. The fact that people rarely use it, and particularly the people that we have print documents that might require this feature aren't capable of understanding it, make this feature almost worthless.

Most multi-chapter printed matter starts the beginning of a chapter or section on a right-handed page. Right-handed pages here in the US are always odd numbered. The even/odd section break options allow us to insert a break that will actually force the next section to start on an even or odd page. Suppose our chapter on the Theory of Electricity ends on page 29. Inserting an odd-page section break at this point will force the next page of the document to be page 31.

Now, if you take such a document to your local speedy-printer, and tell them that you want the document printed two-sided (duplex), you may just end up with page 31 on the back of page 29. Dreamboat believes you will be much safer by allowing for blank pages in your document by inserting them. It can even be a courtesy to the recipients of the printed matter to insert text such as "Page intentionally left blank."

Finally, do not confuse Even/Odd section breaks with the odd and even page layout options under the Layout tab in Page Setup.

Shortly, Dreamboat will be adding information about the different layouts, odd/even headers and footers, and the anomalies of the *same as previous* option in headers and footers.

Outline Numbering Made Easy

Many people have problems working with Outline numbering in Word. The truth is, it is so simple, that you won't believe it.

Outline numbering can include bullets too.


One problem is caused by not resetting the numbering schemes. Every time you use Bullets or Numbering, you should go through each scheme and hit the RESET button, if it is available. This resets your bullets and numbering to Word's default and in no way effects your current documents.

Formatting Specific Areas

Suppose you want to have just several pages of your document outline numbered…

If you have not yet typed your text:

Go to Format-Bullets and Numbering, choose an outline numbering that does not have headings. Hit the Customize button. Click on each level in the left-hand column and set the indents and space between numbers and text as desired. Hit Ok.

To use the first level of that outline numbering, your text must begin on the left margin. To use level 2, hit tab or use the Increase Indent button on the toolbar, and then type your text. To use level 3, hit tab again, and so on. Use Shift-Tab to decrease your indent to the previous level.

If you have already typed your text:

First select your text, and follow the directions above. Then indent your text as necessary. This works best using the increase indent button.

Formatting Headings

If you are not using other headings in your document, you can use the outline-numbered Heading styles even if you are not using them all for *true* headings. Some documents—military documents are a good example—have every paragraph numbered. This makes it easy for them to referred to later. You can also bookmark them and cross-reference them. Then, if an item's number changes because you inserted another item, the cross-reference stays linked with the correct paragraph.

To format for headings, follow the same instructions as above, except that now you should choose a Heading style outline number scheme. Edit to desired.

Warning:  Some of these numbering schemes can get quite wide in the amount of space they take up. For instance, an item numbered that is followed by a half-inch indent can take up quite a bit of the body width of your document. Your paragraph of text is now indented considerably and an otherwise short paragraph can take up a lot more page length. Using Outline numbering for your heading styles is not recommended unless it meets requirements of your company or firm, or if your document is limited to perhaps Heading 3 or 4.

Formatting Templates

Now suppose you've struggled over three or four Heading outline-numbered documents, and now you want to continue with these *better* methods. In a new document, type some sample text for heading levels 1, 2, 3, and 4, or however many levels you used in your document. Format them as outline numbered using the method above. If this is exactly how you wanted it to look the first time around, save this file as a template. Close it.

Open one of your badly formatted documents. Hit Format-Style and choose the Organizer button. Your document's styles appear in the left-hand of the window. On the right, you'll see Close with the Close button. The Close button turns into an Open button. Choose it and open your new outline numbered template. Copy whatever styles you created in your template over to your existing document. Close the template. Hit OK. All of your previous heading styles should not be replaced with appropriately outline-numbered heading styles.

Tips and Comments from JSH

A huge amount of gratitude goes to my new friend....let's just say he's *got connections*. Unless otherwise specified, apply in all versions.

Word freezes at the splash screen, ctrl-alt-del gives a *low on resources* error means your template is likely damaged.

Error in VBE6.dll means that or are in your Word startup folder; usually occurs in Word 2000.

Error in hp****, where the asterisks can be any character, indicates a damaged Hewlett Packard printer driver.

Word freezes or causes errors when typing or scrolling generally means you have a damaged printer or video driver.

When Word says it's out of memory while doing anything that brings up a separate dialog box usually means you've contracted the Nimda virus. Prevalent in Word 97 and 2000.

Files are opening as a bunch of boxes and Word prompts for some kind of conversion, usually Unicode-8; this is common just after the 5th of the month and caused by the Klez virus.

Word 97 on Windows XP opens for a second, then closes. The next time, some other program other then Word opens up. Another indication of the Klez virus. Word 97 on Windows XP

Word 2000 closes right after opening after installing the SR-1 patch. This is caused by an invalid CD key or by multiple Word installations.

When typing, all the person gets is black bars. This is caused by the number of colors setting in the display properties. Word 2002 requires at least 256 colors.

"I have these strange backwards Ps and my spaces have dots". The show/hide button is turned ON.

Unable to move images after inserting them; usually the complaint of someone who just upgraded to Word 2000 (images are inline with text). Word 97 inserts as floating; Word 2000 inserts as inline; Word 2002 defaults to inline but the default can be changed.

How do I get back my mail merge toolbar in Word 2002? You can bring it back with Tools-Customize.

"I accidentally clicked on 'No' to saving changes. How do I get my document back?" Start retyping (Dreamboat says this is one of the worst things a technical support person is asked.)

When pasting from another document, the text looks different then it did in the other document. This is caused by styles in the two documents being set differently. Word 2002's smart tags will give you the option of reverting back to the original style.

How to copy autocorrect lists to another computer. Use or

Default location of Startup folders:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Startup (Word 97 and 2000 on all operating systems)

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office10\Startup (Word 2002 on all operating systems)

C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Word\Startup (Word 2000 and 2002 on Win 9x and Me without profiles)

C:\Windows\profiles\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\ Word\Startup (Word 2000 and 2002 on Win 9x and Me with profiles)

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\ Word\Startup (Word 2000 and 2002 on Win NT 4.0, Win 2000, and Win XP)

Default location of the Normal Template (and all other user templates)

C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates (Windows 9x and Me without profiles)

C:\Windows\profiles\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates (Windows 9x and Me with profiles)

C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\ Templates (Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP)

Secret to searching for the Normal template on Windows XP; under advanced search options, 'Search Hidden Files and Folders' must be checked.

JSH looked through Dreamboat's Word information above, and here are some of his thoughts:

Recommended settings:

I definitely agree with removing findfast. It's a resource hog, and current computers work so quickly that what findfast does is obsolete.

There is no reason to disable background saves, unless you are on a slow (486 or earlier) computer.

There is no reason to disable background printing, unless you are having printing problems. Some of the old printers did not like background printing, but that is mostly history.


I love your first step. We get many calls that they are sure it's Word, but they haven't tried other documents or creating new ones.

Have you used 'winword /a'? If word runs without problems with the /a switch, then your steps 3-5 will usually (99% of the time) fix the problem. If there are still problems when using the /a switch, usually (99% of the time) steps 3 through 5 will not fix the problem.

Step 6 should be reinstalling the printer driver. When 'winword /a' don't work, 70% of the time it's the printer driver. If it's not the printer driver, then test the video driver.

Word 2002 seems to have the most problems with video drivers, but every video driver makers have put an updated video driver on the net in (usually the cards are nVidia chipsets).

I don't like the Erasers - there have been cases where the Eraser programs have made Windows inoperable. The same thing can be done that the Eraser does by deleting the Office registry keys (under both Hkey_Current_User and Hkey_Local_Machine) and deleting the Office folder.

Word 2002 (and Office XP) does not have an Eraser utility - it actually uninstalls itself cleanly.

Mail Merge: When you create a new data source (called in Word 2002 a list) in Word 2002, it is not created as a Word document like previous versions, but as a MDB (Microsoft Data Base) file. You cannot open this in Word directly, but both Excel and Access can open it. You can still edit it in Word, but only through the Mail Merge process where it gives you the chance to edit the list.

One cool new feature of Word 2002 is with the labels. You can put a picture into the label, and then propagate the labels and all the labels will have the picture. Try doing that in Word 2000 or 97, you have to manually insert the picture into each label in your mail merge main document.

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