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The next step after identifying the required information and knowing the different techniques and use of tools to create a document is, to study the required structure and layout for the document, then look through the available styles and templates available, get an idea of using tables and other information required for the document and finally apply them to the document.
The information here is written based on the Word processing software unit for candidates who are working towards a Level 2 or Level 3 diploma in Business and administration or IT. Candidates are expected to have word processing skills at an intermediate level, if they are an IT user.
As I have mentioned previously in Section 1, most parts of this unit are assessed based on tasks that you will be asked to complete. You will have to evidence knowledge and skills that you possess for using the software by completing these tasks, and you will be assessed through observation and presenting documents that you have created before.
We will look at how to identify the document requirements for structure and style, what templates and styles are available and how and when to use them, create and modify tables and forms to organise information and also how to select and apply styles to text.
If you have not already looked through the first section of this unit and wish to have a glance before proceeding, please follow the link below.
Section 1 - Enter and combine text and other information accurately within word processing documents (Word Processing Software, Questions 1.1 to 1.7)
The next section of this unit is found on the link below
Section 3 - Use word processing software tools to format and present documents effectively to meet requirements (Word Processing Software, Questions 3.1 to 3.6)
Create and modify layout and structures for word processing documents
A document, cannot be just written with some text and images scattered here and there. All documents need a neat presentation with a standard structure and layout. In order to accomplish this, one needs to know how to structure the document, what techniques and tools are necessary for this and where to find them.
2.1 Identify the document requirements for structure and style
Any document that has been created needs to adhere to certain standards for ease of readability and to maintain professionalism. If we look in general at the standard structure of any document, it will have a title page, a table of contents, introduction, a body for the document, and so on.
Each part of the document has its own style and structure.
For example, the title page of the document will have the title of the report, date, document status, etc., the table of contents will have all the sections and sub-sections of the document, with the relevant page numbers and so on.
Depending on the type of document, you need to set up a standard page layout for the pages on word processor. Some of the basic settings include paper size, type of paper, paper orientation, base font, language, date settings, justification of the contents in the document, margins, line spacing, columns, headers, footers, page numbers, paragraph titles, tables, and so many others depending on purpose.
Apart from these, we need to look into the graphics part of the document. The graphics that you use in a document will also have to be in accordance with certain standards. They need to be simple and go with the contents of the document (be meaningful), be captioned appropriately, be labelled if necessary with legends if any.
The next important aspect to be considered in a document is the grammar, readability and style of the document. Spell check and check for any errors in grammar. Some basic standards are to avoid underlining text, using single quotes instead of double quotes, leaving space between sentences and paragraphs, checking for punctuation marks, etc. Also, it is better to use active voice while writing a document, rather than passive voice.
After all the styles and structure of the document are taken care of, the page set up needs to be adjusted so that the document looks neat and presentable for printing and reading.
2.2 Identify what templates and styles are available and when to use them
A collection of specifications like size of a page, orientation of the page, the margins, fonts, line spacing, etc., is called a template. Every single document that is created in Word is based on a template.
For example, when you open a new document on Word, word uses a default template with some normal or default settings and this is called a Normal template.
A template also comes with styles for the document.
For example, for a normal template, the default style is normal style. It will have the default font, font size, line spacing, margin and so on. There are various other styles available within word itself (Format -> Styles and Formatting) from which you can choose one, or you can modify an existing style, or create your own style.
Depending on each organisation and department where you work, you may already have different templates that have been previously designed for specific purposes taking into account the needs and requirements of the organisation and its standards. The templates may have different formats for the page, different styles and some standard text, all depending on the needs and standards of the organisation.
For example, a letterhead which every organisation has is an example of a template. It may have basic information and contact information about the company on it. These templates can be modified, or you can create your templates and save them in an easily accessible location in your hard drive. The appearance of a document is determined by the styles and specifications of the document.
Templates can be normal default templates or templates with macros. If you need to create a template for documents that you will be creating quite often, then what you have to do is: Create a template with the required style and specifications and add the text that will appear each time when a new document is created, then save the template with a meaningful name. If you want to modify an already existing template according to your needs, then open an already existing template, make the required modifications and save it with a different name.
Word 2003 Tutorial Using Templates
There are two types of templates: built-in templates and custom templates.
Built-in templates come with a pre-set structure that has been designed for various types of documents.
For example, fax, memos, letters, resumes, reports, etc.
Custom templates are templates created by the user, when a built-in template for their purpose and requirement is not available or the one available is not satisfactory. The user creates a template using their own formatting and styles and saves it along with other templates so that they are available for future use.
In cases where you wish to reformat the styles of an existing document to the styles that you have created in a new template, you can achieve this by attaching the newly created template to the document that requires reformatting.
To attach a template to a document,
File -> Templates -> Check the ‘Automatically Update Document Styles’ option -> Click Ok
Word will overwrite the styles that have matching names in the old document and new template and new styles are added to the style list. In this process, only the styles change and other specifications like margin, headers, footers, etc. do not change as they are document level settings. Document level settings always supersede template level settings.
There are two types of styles available in word; the paragraph style and the character style. To look at the different styles available,
Format -> Styles and formatting.
You will see a list of all the styles in the Style pane that opens.
Paragraph styles: These styles are indicated by a paragraph symbol (¶) next to the style name. You can apply this style, by placing the cursor anywhere in the paragraph in front of the paragraph marker and then clicking on the style name that you like.
Character style: These styles are indicated by the letter ‘a’ next to the style name. In order for you to apply the character style, you need to select the text to which you want to apply the style and then click on the style name that you like.
You can also create a new style or modify an existing style.
To create new style: Format -> Styles and Formatting -> New Style -> Type a name for the style -> Make the changes you want -> Click Ok
To modify an existing style: Format -> Styles and Formatting -> Place cursor over a style name (do not click) -> A box appears with drop down arrow -> Click on the arrow -> Modify -> Do the necessary changes.
For all these actions, see screenshots attached above.
2.3 Create and modify columns, tables and forms to organise information
What is a table? A table is a set of values that are arranged or organised in a model of horizontal rows and vertical columns.
A table is used to arrange data neatly in rows and columns. The table has two or more rows and columns and the columns and rows may have a name to identify them. The place where a row and column intersects is called a cell. The first row in a table that contains the names of the columns is called the header row.
What is a form? A form is a document that can be created to input data gathered from a survey or questionnaire, or other means. It can have a variety of fields and can be created to be interactive with check boxes, drop down lists, labels, etc.
Tables are used in various types of documents for various purposes and there are different types of tables. We will look at the different settings and features that are available to modify a table and to organise information in it.
Create or insert a table - Table -> Insert -> Table -> Set the number of rows and columns -> You can use Autofit to contents which will adjust the table according to contents or select auto fit to window, which will stretch the table up till the margins of the page.
Add and amend table structure - You can always right click on a table and go into table properties and make so many changes to the properties of the table. You can also add and delete rows and columns, change the width, borders, shading and many other properties for a table.
Merge cells in a table - Select the cells that you need to merge, right click on them and select, merge cells
Convert text to table - When you have some text that you wish to convert to a table, you can do so by
Table -> Convert -> Text to Table.
The text that you have to convert to table should be separated by a comma or a tab at the place where you want to start a new column. Then, in the Convert text to table dialog box, you can choose tab or comma under ‘Separate text at’
Insert and delete cells in a table – right click on the table, click insert -> insert cells -> choose the option "insert cells"
Insert and delete rows and columns in a table – Right click on the table -> click insert -> choose insert rows or insert columns
Adjust row height and column width in a table – Right click on the table -> table properties -> you have various tabs that will help you to change the row height and column width of the table.
Merge and split cells in a table – to merge cells, select the cells you need to merge -> right click on them -> click on merge cells.
To split cells -> right click on the cell that you need to split -> click split cells -> set the number of rows or columns you want the cell to be split into
Align text horizontally or vertically in a table – Select the cells in which you want to align the text. Right click on them -> click "Text direction" -> then choose the alignment that you need
Cell margin, Borders and shading in a table – Right click on the table -> click on Borders and shading -> change the settings for margins, borders and shading
How to create a form?
We will also look at how to create and modify a form. Forms are text documents that have form fields that you fill in when necessary. These forms can be used on the computer or printed and filled out. Similar to other documents, the forms can also be saved as a template. To create a form,
MS Word -> New -> Blank document -> You can type in the necessary title and other details as necessary. You can also use a table to give the form a professional layout.
View -> Toolbars -> Forms -> This will display the forms toolbar.
Click Text form field button each time you wish to insert a field for users to fill in. Fields can be shaded or plain. For lists, use a combo box and for options, use check boxes. The video here explains clearly, how to create and use a form in Microsoft word.
Protect the form button on the forms toolbar so that users fill only the parts of the form they are supposed to fill in and not make any other changes to the form. This can be saved as a template (.dot)
One important point to keep in mind is that, a form should always have instructions on how to fill the form. And also instructions on what to do when the form is completed. It is best to label the items so that it gives the user an idea of what they need to fill in.
2.4 Select and apply styles to text
Applying or changing existing styles to a word or a set of words is called character styling. These styles do not change the format of the paragraph. In the list of styles in the side pane, character styles are distinguished by an ‘a’ in the end. Character styling can also be applied to a line.
To apply character styling, select the characters that need to be styled, then
Format menu -> Styles and Formatting -> You will see a list of styles open up in a pane to the right hand side. Choose a style from the list and when you click on it, word applies the style to the selected characters.
Apply or change existing styles to a paragraph
To apply a style to a paragraph, place the cursor inside the paragraph that you wish to change the style of. Then
On Format menu -> Styles and Formatting -> You will see a list of styles open up in a pane to the right hand side. Choose a style from the list and when you click on it, word applies the style to your paragraph.
To apply styles to more than one paragraph, select all of the text that you wish to format and then apply the style.
Apply or change existing styles to a section
There are many different styles for different elements in a document. Applying the relevant styles to the document saves one time and makes the document look good.
When you consider headings, the headings style gives the heading a font that is different and looks out compared to the text in the body.