A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague and I mentioned that I am a fan of the single space between sentences (rather than two spaces), because I can use the find and replace function to change two spaces to one, but “finding and replacing” one space with two is slightly more problematic (even finding a period followed two spaces and replacing it with a period followed by one space is problematic). My colleague was surprised because she had never realized that you could find an replace the number of spaces. She thought that the find and replace function was restricted only to words or alpha-numeric combinations. And I thought, how many people don’t know this?
It's true that you can find and replace almost anything using the find and replace function in a Word document: text, numbers, two spaces with one space, ASCII quotes with curvy quotes, a hard return for a paragraph return.
Other functions I am a big fan of in Word are the ruler to set my paragraph return indentations, the line spacing function in the “Paragraph” pop up menu; and the orphan/widow function also in the “Paragraph” pop up menu.
First, I just love being able to set the paragraph indent tab on the ruler and then not have to think about it. Second, I love to have standard paragraphs that are double spaced, but to have the block quotes be single spaced with the 12 font gap at the end of them without the extra paragraph return. When I click the “¶” button, I want my formatting to be as clean as possible without a lot of extra spaces or paragraph symbols.
Another thing that helps this cause is, of course, the widow/orphan function. Have you ever wanted to keep your signature block all together or the title of the section with the first paragraph of that section? Well, the widow/orphan control is your friend. In the “Paragraph” pop up menu, it is under the “Line and Page Breaks” tab. If there’s a section title that you would like to keep with the section, you put your cursor at the section title and from the menu, you click “Keep with next” and suddenly you don’t have to do anything to keep the section title with the first paragraph of the section, Word automatically keeps them together. If there’s a signature block and you want to keep all the lines together, choose the entire signature block and from the menu, chose “Keep lines” together, and voila. You never have to worry about your signature block breaking across a page break again.
There are a lot of things about Word that I find frustrating and difficult to use. If you use the Table of Contents function, or do any sort of outline-type formatting, you know the pain of trying to get text to automatically format, or conversely to get Word to stop automatically formatting text. But sometimes, Word gets it right, and these four functions are simple automatic formatting functions that make my copy-editing heart go “squee.”