Page Characteristics

MS Word for Writers Basic MS Word Skills Every Writer Needs
20 minutes
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Here in this final lesson of the basics of Microsoft Word, we're going to talk about page characteristics. And to do this, we're gonna head over to a different ribbon toolbar tab for the first time in this session. So across the top of your screen, we've been working in the Home ribbon toolbar so far. So I want you to slide over two or three items to layout toolbar. And notice when I click on the layout, that the tools on my toolbar change, and so now many of these are indeed page related and all about the layout. So we're going to work through this left hand area here of Page Setup first, all right from the left, this margins is a spot where you can quickly and easily change various characteristics of your document about the white space at the outside edges of your text.

The standard format is four One inch margin. So I just set mine back to what's called normal. Now I don't know if you have normal in your life, but I'm always customizing. So I'm just going to set this back to industry standard just start with notice it has a one inch top and bottom, as well as one inch left and right margins. So that means that the whitespace around the page right now is set to be a blank one inch, top, bottom left and right. You can change this from some of the presets.

I was first using a narrow margin which is half inch borders all the way around, but you might choose to use one that's known as moderate. It has your one inch, one inch top and bottom margins and three quarters on the sides or wide margins where you have a two inches at both the left and the right, or mirrored margins. We'll talk about this more in a minute or custom customer allows you to select each one independently. Now, let's start with that choice. So we're here on the page setup. In the margins tab of this note that there's paper and layout, we'll find other places to affect those changes coming up.

We're speaking about margins at the moment. So let's say that you would like to have these operate independently. Maybe, in fact, you're thinking of formatting your entire book, your finished edited manuscript, to do some self publishing or independent publishing at the end, you may be curious to know what some of the industry standards are. If you're looking at something like a trade paperback size for your finished book, those dimensions of the book are very commonly five by eight, five and a half by eight and a half, or maybe six by nine. So if we're just playing around for a moment, I'll talk us through this section as if we were formatting a trade paperback at six by nine So, depending also on how many pages your book is, that will determine some of the margin issues that you want to think about. Because you will want to maximize the number of words per page so that you don't pay more to print your own books.

But you also want to keep it easy to read for your readers so that it's a wonderful joyous experience for them to read your book as well. Here is a couple of common possibilities for margins. If your book is, let's say 250 pages or less, which is most novel links, 70,000 words or less or so, you might begin with half inch margins at the top and the bottom. This will allow you plenty of room to insert your headers or page numbers and still have space for your text to begin half an inch down from the top of the page and to end half an inch up from the bottom of the page. If you're formatting just for printouts for your computer from your own home printer, you may set the left and right margins to be the same. Maybe you want to start with half inch left and right margins.

However, here's an insider industry tip if you're formatting your book for print, and again, we'll talk about this way more at the end stage when we're actually doing the formatting of such a document. But for now, note that when we have multiple pages in a book, we want to use something called mirror margins, so that when you open your book, it's one on my work desk right now, when you open the book, the distance of the margin in the center. This is known as the gutter of the book is often wider than the margin at the outside edges. So we use mirror margins in order to be able to create that with a wider inside margin than the outside margin. And this can vary depending on the number of pages in your book, because that spine width will limit how the book will open without pressing it flat in the center, which your readers probably hate doing anyway, so we can help them out by increasing that center margin on fatter books there.

So for just some industry standard basics, I'll set us up with half an inch margin at the top bottom and outside edges, but seven tenths of an inch margin at the inside edge, and we'll talk again more for that later. But you do want to make sure that you're applying the changes to what you think you're applying it to. If we allow it to ride with just this section, it will only affect the area that our cursor was placed before. We opened up this dialog box. Most of the time, we want the change to affect the whole document. So you can make that selection from the apply to drop down menu, and then click OK. Notice also that there is set as default buttons here, just like the ones we found in the page in the paragraph characteristics lecture that we talked.

So if you would like to set this up to always be identical for each new document you create that set as default button is a great trick that you can use to do so. Now, notice my document shifted from one inch margins at the top and the left are where it's most noticeable, but it happened all the way around to now having half inch top margin, half inch outside margin, and a excuse me, a seven tenths of an inch outside margin because I know This I'm looking at the ruler up here to see that this is the wider page. And this is the more narrow inside margin on the right hand side. So on the left, why it's selected that is based on even an odd numbered pages. So we're here on page one right now. And when you open a book, it may feel a little weird to think about, but page one is going to be that right hand page.

In finished printed books, odd numbered pages are always on the right, and even numbered pages are always on the back of the odd page, the same sheet of paper. Okay, all right, so our wide margin is here on the left hand side. Okay, next up, we want to know that it's possible to shift the direction of your paper, it can be portrait, which is tall shape, or landscape which is the wider shape so if you rotate the document for printing, I will say that most books are done in portrait. The almost sole exception is in some children's picture books, where you'll find a landscape orientation where you're laying out the book in a way that the pages are wider than they are tall. And I will also caution you if you're involved in creating children's picture books, that printing landscape picture books, costs about four times as much and you won't be able to use any of Amazon's services because they do not have landscape dimension options.

So watch out for that. But here in the rest of writer world, note that this note that most of us are using portrait orientation as our starting point. Next up is choosing the size of your book. Now when you're ready to publish, you will know some pretty specific choices about the dimensions of your document. You may have Think about the mass market paperback size of something like five by eight, or somewhere in the middle like a chapter book size, or a young reader might be five and a half by eight and a half is a standard starting place. Anyway, there are lots of variations, or a trade paperback size of six by nine.

You can make any of those selections here. But if your choice doesn't appear in the automated list, you can choose more paper sizes. And here, add in your custom width. I'm going to choose six by nine. We're pretending to format here for trade paperback. And then notice again, we need to go to the bottom of the screen to this apply to drop down menu and select whether we want to apply this change just to the section where the cursor was before we open the box.

Or do we want to apply it to the whole document and I want to apply it to the whole document and then click OK or if you're setting defaults. So that All of your future documents will open this way. Go ahead and click the Set as Default button first. Okay, now you'll notice it shifted a few things for us, we trimmed off that right hand edge, not like a paper cutter, but by shifting the width of the paper document and updating our ruler. So we still see seven tenths of an inch inside margin on this left hand side, half an inch margin at the top half an inch margin at the outside edge, I would say the right edge, but this was an odd numbered page. So it's going to be the paper that would be the outside edge of a book if we're formatting that way, and then half an inch margin at the bottom of the page.

Note that this is one of those lists I was talking to earlier about things that I wanted to alphabetize lists and oops, I also in this area, I want to show you about putting into columns, because that may be an element of page characteristics that you could see yourself using in the future. So, what this list is, in particular, is a verb that comes on my desk very frequently, especially in the work of first time authors. I will see characters on the page talk, they've talked, they've spoken, they've shattered, all the words that are associated with the verb to talk. And sometimes, there is a more specific and more powerful verb that could replace that text. So I've broken down all these verbs into either the cliches, the verbs that have somewhat positive associations, the verbs that have more neutral associations, and the verb that have negative associations, chin chin, wagging isn't A particularly nice way to talk about someone talking or speaking, digging, you dig into someone else, that means you're trying to get the best of them.

So all of these verbs are in lists here. And let's say, for example, that I wanted to use the columns feature to lay out my page more elegantly. Here's a nice easy way to do that. Remember, we're on the Layout tab now. So if you're still on the Home ribbon toolbar, swap over to the Layout tab so that you see the columns control. First thing I want to do because I don't want to put my header into the column, I'm going to just select those verbs that are in my list by highlighting, clicking and dragging to select them.

And from the columns feature, I'm going to toy around because I'm not sure exactly how many columns will fit and how beautifully it will look But first I'll start by splitting it up into two columns. And let's see how that looks. Already. That seems much more useful to me because now I can see the list. At a glance A to Z, I start to notice Oh quicker, I can see there are going to be positive associations as well as neutral. And that leads my brain to jump to the conclusion.

There might also be a negative association section down below if I look so already adding comment column columns to our document allowed us to increase readability and usability I think. Now, there's plenty of space here between the columns. Let's experiment to see if three columns would add or decrease the readability. Well, because there's three and my total number of words was not divisible by three, it does still lay out It fits things in more closely no Have my words in the columns runs over to a second line. So this might be a way that I'd like to move forward. However, if I had lots of long entries to columns might be the best bet for this one.

So just note, make decisions based on the text that you have that you're working with. And note that there are a lot of automated features there. But if you don't find a choice that suits you, just right. Now, you can always come to the more columns area, and select the total number of columns that you'd like to create, and also influence the amount of spacing between those columns. If you notice in the preview pane of this top dialog box, as I change this number for the spacing, the distance between these fake columns increases and decreases. It also allows the width of the column to change, but for now, I'm going to keep that spacing between them at half an inch Cuz I think it does fine for the eye, and allows us to scan the list very quickly.

One thing if you have multiple columns, however, you may want to toy around with using different column widths rather than having all three or more of your columns be the same with. So note the little checkbox here down below, that would allow you to change the width and spacing independently. So for example, if you have narrow columns in one narrow column in the middle, but two wider columns on the outside edges, you can accomplish that by unclicking. The equal column width box makes sense. Or you may want to experiment with the left or right auto column features where there's a narrow column automatically set up to the left with a width based on your total margin that's available there and a wider column on the right or vice First of all, like me, you may want the three equal spaced columns because I have words in each one that are of varying lengths.

But the last thing you might notice here is that you can add a divider line between those columns. If you prefer. totally up to you, let's go out and look at what that might look like in our real text. Now, we have to ask ourselves as creators and designers, does this, increase readability or decrease readability. And for me, those lines just get in my way visually, they separate things a little too much. So if you want to turn off any of the features you've just enabled, highlight your selection, go back to the columns button, click more columns, and then make the choices that you want to update.

Or you could always use that Undo button. If you've made a column choice that totally didn't work for you. Remember, undo is your friend and you If you're a keyboard shortcut junkie, that keyboard shortcut for undo is Ctrl or Command key, hold those down and then type the letter Z, like Zed. Okay? Now, if we want to duplicate those columns throughout, just note that if you add a little space after anything that you want to remain in one column, you can do this simply by highlighting, clicking and dragging just the items you want to be together and your columns and turn this on. Maybe I want this one to be two columns, but note that it kept one column for my header area.

This is all totally up to you. However, if you select all of these, including the header and change it to two columns, do note that it's going to possibly bring the next column first item up into the same line with your header. Pay attention. There are some ways around this Known as continuous breaks, continuous section breaks that we find here on the layout area. So if you're getting a response on your screen that isn't what you want, you may need to add a continuous break after your header or more space between your header and the beginning of your list before you enact those columns, we'll talk more about page breaks and section breaks in a later class. All right, two last things before we Buzz off of this basics, line numbers.

Some of you may be poets and you may want to, or even be required if you're submitting your poetry for contests to add line numbers to your document. So if you just have your cursor beside one line, it will number only that line. However, if you highlight or select all member control is your keyboard shortcut there. You cannot Every line in your poem or document, depending on your needs there, and you can read, have it restart on each page, or restart on each section, or suppress. suppress means it won't show up for a certain paragraph if you highlight that. So these are some of the choices you may not know have known where to access or that they were available.

If you have deeper, more specific needs than that line numbering option would give you all the choices that you need to help define your sections and where each of those line numbers may begin. So the line number button to really dig in, is down at the bottom of the layout dialog box. Okay, hope you enjoy. I'm looking forward to seeing you in our next section where we learn more of the intermediate so you can really turn up the jazz on your documents and get you back to writing which was the thing you wanted to do all alone. Thanks

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