NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, December 2010
Word 2010 for Dummies
A review by John Kamper,
member of the Tucson Computer Society, Arizona
September 2010 issue, eJournal

John (at) kamper.com (click to email author)

If you’re new to Word and computers to begin with, a total newbie, this book is for you. It doesn’t point out what’s new in 2010 compared to 2007 and previous versions, so it assumes you’re new to Word.

Like most Dummies books, it starts from the very beginnings and walks you through the various steps to start the computer and the program and explains the various elements of the screen, etc. It includes fundamental information such as identifying the mouse pointer and how to start and quit the program and points out keyboard uses, such as what the Caps Lock key does.

If you’ve used Word previously but only sparingly for simple memos or letters and want to learn more about how to use more of the program, this book is for you. It is an excellent help to advance your knowledge of word processing and Word 2010 in particular.

If you have a basic knowledge of Word you should probably skim the first four chapters to see if there’s anything basic that you’ve missed, such as the Ruler, Status Bar, Zoom features and the soft return (Shift+Enter), etc.

I was surprised that the author didn’t mention the use of the right mouse button/click, not to mention the right click button on the keyboard. (Didn’t know there was one? Look between the Window and Ctrl keys to the right of the space bar.)

The book has 23 chapters in 390 pages, a good Table of Contents and a 20 page Index. The Introduction tells you how to use the book. Page two suggests that you look for a topic in the Table of Contents that you want to learn more about or that you haven’t used before, find it in the Index and read about the topic. For example do you know what a table is, what its uses are and that Word can create one to begin with?

Not including the Introduction, the book is split into six Parts:

Part I, “Your Introduction to Word,” Chapters One and Two. These chapters cover fundamental information, such as starting the program and very basic things such as typing, only one space between sentences, the backup and erase keys, etc.

Part II, “Your Basic Word,” Chapters Three through Nine. More basic information such as moving around the document, editing text, paragraphs, Undo/Redo, Search and Replace, blocks of text, Spell check, saving a document, printing, etc.

Part III, “Formatting,” Chapters Ten through 17. How do you make text stand out? Want to know how to format characters, paragraph, pages, documents and columns? Do you know how to use tabs to align text/make columns? Other useful items such as Styles, Themes and Templates and Sundry Formatting are also explained.

Part IV, “Spruce Up a Dull Document,” Chapters 18 through 23. It’s more than just changing the way text is formatted, you also want to improve the entire document. These chapters cover Lines and Colors, Tables, columns, lists – bulleted and numbered – graphics, image editing, non-breaking spaces and hyphens and why you need them. Ever wonder how to get those special characters such as “ñ” or “Ñ”? See Chapter 23.

Part V, “Even More Word,” Chapters 24 through 29. As the title says, here’s where you learn even more useful stuff such as what use multiple documents provides, and how to save documents in different formats.

The book doesn’t mention it specifically, but with a little exploring I found that the Save As dialogue box, in the “Save as Type” box provides for saving in .pdf format. This saves me a couple of steps when distributing documents to those who don’t have Word.

The section “Word for Writers” provides many tips for those of us who like to write. It covers essential tips for writers such as outlines, master documents, etc. Additional items include the Quick Access Toolbar, how to customize the Ribbon, making inserts and comments, how to highlight and more. If you ever have to mail the same document to many addressees, called a mail merge, this is the place to find out how to do it.

Part VI, “The Part of Tens,” Chapters 30 through 39. As the author says, “This part of the book wraps things up with some Word Trivia, tips and suggestions.” These include the author’s “Ten Commandments,” “Ten Cool Tricks,” “Ten Bizarre Things” and “Ten Avuncular Suggestions.”

About the author Dan Gookin created the original Dummies format for DOS programs in 1991. He has authored more than 100 books and has over 11 million copies in print. Find more about him at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Gookin.

Recommendations If you’re new to word processing and Word 2010, get this book. See my recommendations at the very beginning of this article. Get this book if you are only vaguely familiar with Word and word processing and want to expand your use and learn topics you didn’t know about before.

If you’re very familiar with Word and the Ribbon, the book will be useful, but I’d suggest getting a copy from the library and skim through it to refresh your memory or pick up hints you didn’t know about before. For example, I’ve used Mail Merge in previous versions before, but seldom. I could figure it out given enough time, but it would be useful to review how you do it in Word 2010. However, depending on your inclinations, it might be worth it to get a copy just for reference. It’s available on Amazon new - $16.49; used $13 .49.

If you are a power user, this book isn’t for you. Invest in a Bible type reference book. About: Word 2010 for Dummies
Author: Dan Gookin
Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-470-48772-3
Price: $24.99, $16.49 @ Amazon

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