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Word 2013 cheat sheet

Preston Gralla | July 1, 2015
The buzz today may be all about Office 2016 for Windows, which is due to be released this fall, but many business users are still getting acquainted with Office 2013 and will continue to use it for some time. Use this Word 2013 cheat sheet to help take advantage of all it has to offer.

Not happy with the templates you see? Microsoft has a sizable template repository with plenty more. Up at the top of the screen, type in what you're looking for -- for example, "letters," "resume" and so on. You'll come to a list of templates that match your search. Click one and you'll see the same kind of screen that you do when you use a template from the Start screen. As with those templates, click Create to use it.

Note that the templates -- both those listed on the Start screen and those you search for -- aren't on your local machine. They're on a Microsoft template repository. So when you choose one, you'll first download the template before you use it. The download size is listed on the template's description screen.

Incidentally, if you hate the Start screen, you can easily get rid of it. Just choose File --> Options, and in the "Start up options" section of the default General screen, uncheck the box marked "Show the start screen when this application starts."

The Design tab

The Ribbon has largely stayed the same from earlier versions of Word, but there's a very nice new addition to the right of the Insert tab: the Design tab. This tab gives you, in one location, access to the most important ways you can change a document's design.

You can choose from a variety of pre-designed templates with different title and heading sizes, paragraph formatting and so on. There's also a new set of themes you can apply to your document that include different font styles, sizes and colors. From the Design tab you can also customize colors and fonts, adjust paragraph spacing, add watermarks, change the page color and page borders, and more.

Each theme and template has a thumbnail, so you have a good sense what you'll be getting before you make your choice. When you click a thumbnail, the changes are immediately applied to your document. In this way it's simple to click through many of them until you find the one you want.

Note that if you're working on a .doc file rather than a .docx file, you won't be able to select themes. It's simple to convert a .doc file to a .docx one, though. Just select File --> Convert.

Use Read Mode

You use Word not just to create documents, but to read them as well. And to make that more pleasurable both on traditional computers and tablets, Word 2013 introduces Read Mode, which displays documents and eliminates distractions, including most of the Ribbon. In Read Mode, you've got a largely clutter-free screen -- although as you'll see, there are a few tools that have been put within easy reach. You can't edit documents in Read Mode; as the name implies, you can only read.


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