CPS100 • Introduction to Computers

Lakeland College • Japan Campus


Versions of MS Word

There have been many versions of Microsoft Word, going back a decade or two. In this class, we will use Word 2010, so the pictures you see from MS Word will be from that version. However, you might use Word 2007, Word 2013 or even Word 2003 (in Office XP) at home. Additionally, an older version, Word 2000, is still used on some LCJ and NIC computers.

While you should not yet switch to Windows 8, MS Office 2010 is an acceptable upgrade. You probably don't need 2013, but you won't suffer if you get it. Keep in mind that in the U.S., the English "Home and Student" version of MS Office 2010 (with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) costs only about $100—That's currently about ¥10,000.

The differences between Word versions 1990 and up to Word 2003 are not too great; if you learn about one of them, the other will still be familiar. However, Word 2007 became significantly different. Users can still understand the basic ideas and functions, but the layout of the program (menus and toolbars, for example) might be confusing to those used to the older version. Finally, Word 2010—the current version—is very similar to Word 2007, but has a few changes and improvements.

Here is a comparison of the seven different versions. First, Word's early version, from the early 1990's:

Word took on Windows 95's look and feel in Word 95:

Not very much changed in Word 97:

Microsoft Word 2000 changed almost not at all:

Microsoft Word 2003 advanced somewhat more. Notice the task area at the right, and the more 3-D appearance of the toolbars. Otherwise, it is ver similar to MS Word 2000.

Next, there is Microsoft Word 2007. Notice that it has been completely redesigned. The Menu Bar has been replaced with the "Ribbon," a kind of super-toolbar. The "File" menu was replaced by the circular MS-Office-logo button at the top left. In this version, you will recognize the functions of the buttons, but you might have some trouble at first finding out where things have been changed to.

Then there is Microsoft Word 2010, what we use in this class. Notice that it is very similar to 2007, but notice the Office Button—instead of a separate button with a drop-down menu, it is now a special tab which will take over the entire window when you select it. There are also some new graphics features and other little improvements here and there.

Finally, Microsoft Word 2013, released for Windows 8. The fonts, icons, and color schemes are designed to match the Windows 8 design. There are some improvements, but mostly it's similar to the previous version.

Since early 2013, Microsoft has begun to move Microsoft Office to a subscription service; instead of buying the software package outright, customers may now pay a yearly fee (at least $80 for the "Home Premium" version, more for businesses) which has a lot of extras (install on up to 5 Macs and/or PCs, cloud storage, mobile versions, etc.), but also costs much more over many years of use.


With 2007, New File Formats

Keep in mind that starting with Word 2007, Word saves documents in a new format. This cannot be opened by previous versions, unless you install a special Compatibility Pack—a free download from Microsoft (Japanese version is here). Otherwise, you have to "Save As" a Word 97-2003 Document.

The new Word 2007 document format is denoted by the ".docx" filename extension. It's an "XML" format, and is actually a kind of "package" with several files inside it. If you decompress a ".docx" file, the interior looks like this:

As you can see in the image above, the document is divided into many parts, with the ".docx" being a container; decompressed, it is like a folder. The one called "document.xml" is where the text you wrote is saved. Other files save various parts (e.g., the header, with your name and the page number), settings, previews, etc. It is all structured a little bit like a web page.


The Ruler

An important part of the MS Word window is the ruler:

The ruler has several functions. If you use the ruler instead of ribbon buttons or dialog boxes, you can save a bit of time. The parts listed above include:

  • Tabs: These allow you to set special markers which the "Tab" key will jump to (see below)
  • Margin: The bluish side areas show the left and right margins. If you wish, you can change then by clicking and dragging the border of the margin and the typing area.
  • Left Indent Buttons: These important buttons allow you to set indents (see below)
  • Right Indent: Sets the right-most border of typing. This is not used so much.
  • Split Page: Allows you to split the screen into two parts, so you can view different parts of a long document at the same time.
  • Show/Hide Ruler: Turn the ruler on and off.

Note that the ruler as shown above is set to inches. You can change to centimeters and back in the Options (Office Button menu).

Near the left side of the ruler, you will see the hourglass shape shown above. This controls the left margin and indent.

  1. First line indent. Move this button, and it will set the starting point for the first line of the selected paragraphs. For a typical academic paper, this should be set to 0.5 inches (@1.25 cm.).
  2. Hanging indent. This will set the starting point for all lines in a paragraph except the first line. Usually this is set at 0, but in the Bibliography, it is set to 0.5 inches. The hanging indent and first line indent can move independent of each other.
  3. Left indent. This square button will move both the first line and hanging indents at the same time, by the same amount.

In the illustration below, notice that the First Line Indent button is at 0.5". When you do this, all selected paragraphs will get a first line indent of 0.5". If you did not select any text, then only the paragraph with the blinking cursor is affected.

Note the "Automatic Tab" marks below each half-inch mark. You will also notice the "Tabs" button at the far left of the ruler. What are these?

You know about the Tab Key on your keyboard. You are probably used to the fact that when you hit the Tab Key, the cursor jumps half an inch. You probably have become used to it as a kind of "super-space" key. But the Tab has a long history, starting with manual typewriters, which used metal keys to make marks on paper via an ink ribbon.

With those old typewriters, tabs were a way of easily making columns for lists. One would set "tabs" for the distance you want each column to start. Hitting the "Tab" key would jump to the next tab setting.

Today, we have tables, which make tabs somewhat obsolete. It is much easier to make a list using a table. However, tabs still have their uses, and some people still prefer them.

First, there are the automatic tabs. These are set to one-half-inch each, and are automatically included. They make the cursor jump to the next half-inch mark each time you press the "Tab" key. They will not jump a half-inch each time—they only go to the next mark, even it it is 1/10th of an inch to the right.

Next are the manual tabs:

These can be selected by clicking the Tab Select button at the far left of the ruler. There are many different settings, but the four above are the most commonly used. From left to right:

  1. Left Tab
  2. Center Tab
  3. Right Tab
  4. Decimal Tab

Clicking the "Tab Select" button will cycle through these choices.

When you click somewhere on the Ruler, a manual tab will appear. Note that all the automatic tabs to the left of the manual tab disappear! For example, if you make a new manual tab at 1.25 inches, then the automatic tabs at 0.5" and 1" disappear, while all the automatic tabs to the right of the manual tab are still there.

Now, if you hit the tab key, the cursor will jump to 1.25", where you set the manual tab.

You can set as many manual tabs as you like. But what is the difference between the four types of tabs I listed above? Well, they are different in how the text is aligned after you hit the tab key:

  1. Left Tab: text will act normally, starting at the left and moving out to the right.
  2. Center Tab: text will spread out to the right and the left, so it is all centered underneath the tab.
  3. Right Tab: text will start at the right and move out to the left, so that the text is aligned to the right over several lines.
  4. Decimal Tab: text will move out to the left until you tye a decimal (period), after which it will move out to the right, as normal. In this way, all the decimal places will be aligned under the tab.

To erase any manual tab, click and drag the tab down below the ruler, then let go; the tab mark will disappear.

Finally, there is the Split Screen feature:

At the far right side of the ruler, you will see a small "minus" sign, above the right scroll bar. If you hold the cursor over this, the cursor will change to a double-arrow. If you then click and drag down, you can split the screen into two parts:

This allows you to view two different areas of your essay at the same time. For example, if you are writing an academic essay and you need to make citations, you can view both the area of text with the parenthetical citation, and the Works Cited list, both at the same time.

The Status Bar

On the left of the Status bar, you will notice indicators showing which page you are on, how many pages there are in your document, and a running word count. There is also a spell check indicator, to show when the spell checker is active.

On the right, you have the same zoom slider that you saw in PowerPoint. To the left of the slider are the View Buttons.The five small View buttons on the Status Bar are the View Buttons They are, in order:

  1. Print Layout View. This view will show you what the actual printed piece of paper will look like, with margins and the edge of the paper. It is also best for doing special formatting, such as with tables and images.
  2. Full Screen Reading View. This view expands the viewing area to include the whole screen, making everything except the Task bar and a small toolbar at the top of the screen disappear.
  3. Web Layout View This view is for making web pages with MS Word. However, I would recommend you use Mozilla or another program for that purpose; MS Word is not the best web page editor. In fact, it can be a terrible web page editor. We will not be studying this feature in this class.
  4. Outline View. We will not be studying this feature in this class.
  5. Draft View. This used to be called "Normal" view. This provides a view of the text only, without showing margins or the edge of the paper. This view gives you the best arrangement to look at the text if you have a very small screen. In the past, when everyone's screen were smaller, this was the most-used view, therefore the old name "Normal" view. It is not good for viewing the format of the paper, however, and some features—such as tables and images—cannot be changed very much in this view. Most people won't use this because screens are so large today. However, if you have a notebook computer with a 12" or 13" screen, this view might still be useful for you.

Terms Used in Word Processing

Computers look at the world differently than we do. When we look at text, we see units of meaning. When a computer looks at text, it sees numbers, mathematical values. As a result, some computer terms are defined slightly differently than normal human terms. Here are a few you should remember:


A character is any letter, number or symbol—essentially, anything you type. For example, "k" is a character.


A word is a group of characters, separated by a space and/or punctuation on both sides.


A sentence is a group of words followed by a period, ?, or !.


A line is simply a row of characters / words. You can select a line, but it is not a special separate entity.


Every time you hit the "Enter" key, you begin a new paragraph. The computer sometimes shows you this with the character "".

Each paragraph is separate from each other paragraph. For example, if you select only one paragraph and make a change in the paragraph style, the other paragraphs will not be changed. This is very important when you make changes in indents and tabs, which we will study later.


A section allows for document-level changes to be applied between paragraphs or pages. For example, changing from one-column text and multiple-column text on one page requires new sections. Another example would be changing paper size or paper orientation between pages; this also requires sections.


When you type something in MS Word and then save it, it is called a "document."

Font / Typeface

This is the style of the characters you type. Times New Roman is the standard font in academic writing.

There are several types of fonts:

  • serif — there are small "serifs" at the end of lines; for example, Times New Roman and Garamond;
  • sans serif — the letters are very plain; for example, Arial and Helvetica;
  • script — looks like handwriting; for example, Comic Sans and Signature;
  • display — used for special stylized titles, such as Algerian and Papyrus, and
  • dingbat — pictures instead of characters; examples are Wingdings and Webdings.

What's a Serif?

A serif is a bump, tab, curl, or line placed at the end of a stroke in a character. For example:

See examples of these types on this page.

Each category is used in a different manner.

  • Serif fonts are used for normal paragraph text, especially in print.
  • SansSerif fonts are used for important text—warnings and instructions, for example. Sometimes snas-serif text is preferred for web page paragraph text.
  • Script (cursive) fonts are used where handwrtiting is called for.
  • Display fonts are used for titles on posters or other places (you will recognize many of them from movie posters).
  • Dingbat fonts are used for placing drawings in text, or easily using such simple one-color images; for example, Lakeland College uses a special dingbat font to add its logo and seal in documents.


"Points" is the standard measurement for font sizes. 12 is standard for regular text. The MLA format requires all text to be 12 point, in a serif font such as Times New Roman.

Selecting Text

The Cursor

It is important to know that the cursor changes appearance according to where it is. When you usually use the cursor, it is an arrow pointing up and to the left. When You are using MS Word, and the cursor is over the text you are typing, the cursor changes shape and looks like a capital-letter "I" (this is called the "I-beam"). But when you move the cursor to the left of the text (beyond the left magin), it changes to an arrow pointing up and to the right.

 Normal cursor:    Over-the-text cursor:    Left-of-margin cursor:  
Using the Mouse

There are many different ways to select text in MS Word. You can click, double-click and triple-click. You can do this inside the text, or you can do it to the left of the margin. You can click-and-drag, drag-and-drop, and combine mouse moves with keyboard keys


"Click and Drag" means that you click the left mouse button and hold it down, then you move the mouse to another location, then you let go of the button. This mouse action is used to "pick up" something on the computer screen and "carry" it to another location. Usually you use "click and drag" to move icons on the desktop.

In Microsoft Word, you can use "click and drag" to move selected text. After you have typed a lot of text, you may want to move one word from one sentence into another. First, you select the word. Then, click and drag the word to a new location, and let go of the mouse button. The word will disappear from the original location, and then appear in the new location. You can do this with any text of any size.


"Drag-and-Drop" means that you click-and-drag on something, until you have brought it to a special place where you want it. You then let go of the mouse button, then the item goes to the place you brought it to.


Here are a list of text-selection maneuvers:

single-click (over the text) places the cursor
double-click (over the text) selects a word
triple-click (over the text) selects a paragraph
single-click (to the left of the text) selects a line
double-click (to the left of the text) selects a paragraph
triple-click (to the left of the text) selects all text in the document
click and drag (over the text) selects text between click and let-go
double-click and drag (over the text) selects text word-by-word
triple-click and drag (over the text) selects text paragraph-by-paragraph
click and drag (to the left of the text) selects text line-by-line
double-click and drag (to the left of the text) selects text paragraph-by-paragraph
CTRL + A selects all text in document
CTRL + click selects sentence
CTRL + click and drag selects text sentence-by-sentence
ALT + click and drag selects rectangle of text
SHIFT + click selects text between original cursor position and new click
SHIFT + arrow keys selects more text character-by-character or line-by-line, in the direction of the arrow
CTRL + click and drag + click and drag + ... selects non-contiguous text (MS Word versions 2003 and later)

In order to practice them, let's use a special Easter Egg:

If you start on a new line and type the text above ( =rand() ) and then hit the Enter key, you will be rewarded with three paragraphs of sample text. If you want different amounts of text, try typing this:

In this case:

the first number is the number of paragraphs you want, and
the second number is the number of sentences for each paragraph.

This will let you easily create a lot of text, with which you can practice the text selection moves listed above.

Terms to Know

.docThe 1997 ~ 2003 Microsoft Word file format
.docxThe 2007 ~ 2013 Microsoft Word file format
rulerthe measure tool near the top of the window
marginblank space around the borders of a document
indentwhen text is shifted inwards from the margin
first-line indentwhen the first line of text only in a paragraph is indented
hanging indentwhen all lines except the first line of text in a paragraph are indented
status bara bar at the bottom of the window showing the page numbering, word count, spellcheck, and view options for the document.
characterone glyph (letter, number, punctuation, symbol, etc.), including whitespace characters (space, tab, enter)
linea string of characters extending horizontally
sectiona part of the text where all formatting can be interrupted, including document-level formatting such as paper size, margins, and page orientation
serifa shape of some sort at the end of a stroke in a character
scripta font similar to handwriting or cursive
click-and-dragwhen you click on something, hold down the mouse button, and move to a new location
drag-and-dropwhen you click and drag on a selected object and move it, then let go
the "rand" functionan Easter Egg which can create meaningless filler text.
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