To access your options in Microsoft Word 2010, click File > Options. (Note: While the File menu is open your document will seem to disappear, but don’t be confused. It’s still there. To get it back, just click File again.)
Once you click Options, the following dialogue will appear. All dialogue boxes have an OK and Cancel button in the bottom right corner, but to save room I trimmed it off. The first screenshot contains your General Options:
Look over each set of options carefully. For example, in this one you’ll note that I’ve unchecked the block that says Show Mini Toolbar on Selection. If this were checked, when you select a word or sentence or paragraph, a mini toolbar would pop up asking whether you want to cut, copy, paste, hyperlink, etc. the selected information. You might find that useful, but it drives me nuts, so I unchecked the box.
On the left pane in Figure 10 you can see each of the categories: General, Display, Proofing, Language and Advanced. The next several screenshots will illustrate those categories. We’ve already talked about customizing the Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar, and you can explore the Add-Ins and Trust Center on your own. They’re of no consequence to writers that I’ve ever seen.
Here’s the Display dialogue box:
When you aren’t sure where your paragraph marks or tabs or extra spaces are, you can come to this dialogue box and select Show All Formatting Marks, then click OK at the bottom. When you return to your document, you’ll see all of the normally hidden formatting marks. This can be a very useful tool.
Here’s the Proofing dialogue box. Note that you can set your preferences for correcting and/or checking spelling and grammar. Be sure you check the Use Contextual Spelling option. Doing so will save you a lot of headaches later on:
You’ll notice the AutoCorrect Options button in the upper right of Figure 13a. The following five screens illustrate the various settings you can affect when you click that button. The last one, Actions, is more for business use. I’ve never used it and can’t imagine a use for it in creative writing.
Here’s the Save dialogue box. Usually, you can set this one once and forget it:
Here’s the Language dialogue box. Again, it’s pretty much set and forget:
Below is the Advanced Options dialogue box, albeit in three pieces.
With the Advanced Options box, it’s best that you just get your beverage of choice, sit in a comfortable chair, relax, and go over the possible settings one at a time.
That’s it for this time! Next up, Find & Replace. For my money, it’s the most valuable tool in Word. Until then, happy writing!
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