Getting the most from your word processor

First and most importantly, back up every bit of writing you do in all classes. Purchase a stick drive for a few bucks. Use online storage for backup. Google Drive, One Drive, DropBox all provide free storage for backing up files.
  • The default spell/grammar settings for MS Word checks next to nothing, making it useless for serious writers. Make the following adjustments to get your money's worth from the software.
    • Open a document in Word
    • Click File, then Options
    • Click Proofing
    • Change check grammar only to check grammar and style
    • Add check for punctuation inside quotation marks
    • Click on readability statistics
    • Beside Writing Style, click settings
    • Have Word check everything on the list, except perhaps use of first person (I).
    • Save the changes by clicking OK in the lower right box.
    • I also suggest letting the display settings help you. Displaying paragraph and space markings helps eliminate extra spaces and weird formatting. Write first; format later. It's easiest to format your document correctly toward the end of the process. Select all of your text. For documents to be printed, use Page Layout for double spacing, indent paragraphs .5 inches, and include page numbers.
    • Finally, make certain to set the software to autosave every minute or so. That way when (not if) a glitch arises, you lose a minute of work--not hours.
    • Need some extra tutoring on grammar issues? Here's a link to 6 websites full of grammar tutorials and assistance.

    Formatting online discussions

  • When you cut and paste quotations from online documents, you will get some odd formatting (fonts and paragraphing). It is your job to submit a well-formatted discussion.
  • Once you've written your discussion, use the select command all at the right-end of Word's Home menu. (Older Word versions, hit Edit/Select All.)
  • Next select a standard font and size (I suggest Arial or Times Roman 12.) from the boxes on the Home menu (Older versions, hit Format/Font and select accordingly.)
  • Next click the Paragraph command in the middle of the Home menu. From the options, select single-spaceing, alignment=left. Do not indent paragraphs. (Older versions, hit Format/Paragraph and enter the needed options.
  • You need to manually enter a blank line between paragraphs to indicate paragraph breaks [hit the return key twice].