Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Word for Word

My association with Microsoft Word goes back to Word 97, where I came to it kicking and screaming from the lovely DOS-based WordPerfect version 4.2.

I fondly recall the vivid blue screen with “doc 1 pg 1 Ln 1” on the status line. Subsequent versions of WordPerfect appealed to my visual sense as certain aspects became more customizable. Ah, the fun I had changing the color schemes in order to achieve that perfect high-contrast view. I never modified the beautiful blue screen, though. At the time, I was using Telesensory’s Vista screen magnification program. The combination was magical, even though the letters would break up at larger magnifications. I used WordPerfect 5.1 on my first job. All features worked quite well, with the exception of tables. The most frustrating part was that once you wrestled your brains into making them and began filling them in, the lines would shift all over the screen and the entire table would be out of alignment.

My first (and most beloved) MS Word audio tutorial was entitled “Speaking of Microsoft Word” by Krista Earl, whom I believe still heads the accessibility department at the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). Let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that several key formatting features remain in MS Word 2010. Control-B to Bold; Control-U to Underline, Control-I to Italicize and shifting methods still work to this day, and I expect they will even in the latest version–MS 2013.

In thinking about last week’s article, I’m reminded of the constant learning curve we as instructor’s go through each time a new version of an application is released. Mail Merge was already a stressful feature I would teach at the end of each MS Word class. Only students with fortitude could handle it, but we did have several success stories. Dan Clark, Training Manager for Freedom Scientific, conducted an excellent session on the now hair-raising, step-intensive mail merge. I listened to it and took copious notes. Towards the end of the seminar, he casually offered that several participants had left the chat room. Gee, I wonder why? My tutors and I will definitely have our work cut out for us once we resume teaching this advanced feature.

One hurdle I had to overcome was creating a basic Word 2010 table, so I’d like to share the steps with you. Tables can be used for myriad projects. Simply press Alt-N, T, I to open the Insert Table dialog box. Next, type in the number of columns, then tab; type the number of rows, and press Enter. You are placed in the first column, first row, of your table. Use the tab and Shift-Tab combination to navigate the columns and the up and down arrows to navigate rows. Not too bad, right?

I hope you’ve enjoyed relatively smooth-sailing during your own MS Word journey, but feel free to share your stories in the Reader’s Forum.

One Comments

  1. RT @matildaziegler: New post: Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Word for Word http://t.co/oTxNPALFVm