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Top Ten Word Annoyances
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

6. Word 2003 Runs Slowly

The Annoyance: I've upgraded from Word 2000 to Word 2003, but Word 2003 runs so slowly that I wish I hadn't upgraded.



The Fix: Word 2003 is much more demanding than Word 2000 and typically runs more slowly. Choose Tools -> Options and try the following suggestions for improving performance:

  • On the Spelling & Grammar tab, uncheck the "Check grammar as you type" box. If you can do without on-the-fly spell checking, uncheck the "Check spelling as you type" box as well.
  • On the View tab, uncheck whichever of the following you can dispense with: the Highlight box, the ScreenTips box, the Smart Tags box, and the Animated Text box. You may want to leave the ScreenTips box checked if you use revision marks in your documents.
  • On the General tab, uncheck the "Provide feedback with animation" box.
  • On the Save tab, uncheck the "Embed smart tags" box. If you save your documents diligently, uncheck the "Save AutoRecover info every" box as well.
  • On the Edit tab, make sure the "Mark formatting inconsistencies" and "Auto-Keyboard switching" boxes are unchecked. Depending on your editing preferences, also consider switching off the "Use smart cursoring," "Use smart paragraph selection," "When selecting, automatically select entire word," "Keep track of formatting," "Show Paste Options button," "Smart cut and paste," and "Enable click and type" options. If you're not clear what these options do, see Chapter 3 of my book.

Word may also be suffering from a surfeit of fonts. If the Font drop-down list or Font dialog box includes fonts you never use, consider removing some. Choose Start -> Control Panel -> Appearance and Themes -> Fonts to open the Fonts folder, select the fonts you don't need, and drag them to another folder for temporary storage. (You can delete the surplus fonts if you prefer, but it's usually better to keep them in case you need them later.)

Warning: Don't remove any of the fonts that Windows requires for its interface: Arial, Microsoft Sans Serif, Tahoma, Marlett, Times New Roman, Courier New, Symbol, and Wingdings. Windows protects Marlett and doesn't display it in the Fonts folder.

7. Change Word's Default Folder for Saving Documents

The Annoyance: Word always wants me to save my documents in the My Documents folder. I suppose this folder makes sense for many users, but I've got other ideas.

The Fix: You can change the default folder easily. Choose Tools -> Options, click the File Locations tab, select "Documents" in the "File types" list, and click the Modify button. In the Modify Location dialog box, select the folder you want to use, and click the OK button.

Note: From the File Locations tab of the Options dialog box, you can also change the default folders for clip-art pictures, user templates, workgroup templates, AutoRecover files, tools, and startup files.

8. Create a Work Menu

The Annoyance: There are a handful of documents I need to be able to open easily. Sometimes they appear on the most recently used files list on the File menu, but I work with many other documents, so they're not always there.

The Fix: Microsoft provides a Work menu that you can add to the menu bar so that you can keep up to nine documents readily available.

To add the Work menu to the menu bar, choose Tools -> Customize, click the Commands tab, and make sure that the Save In drop-down list shows the document or template you want to affect. (Usually, Normal.dot is the best choice.) Select the Built-in Menus item, and drag the Work menu to the menu bar or a toolbar you keep open. Shift-click the File menu and choose Save All. If Word prompts you to save changes to Normal.dot, click the Yes button.

To add the current document to the Work menu, choose Work -> Add To Work Menu. To remove a document, press Ctrl+Alt+–, click the Work menu, and then click the document.

9. Save All Open Documents at Once

The Annoyance: I've got a stack of documents open. Why must I save changes to them one by one? Where's the Save All command when you need it?

The Fix: It's hiding. Shift-click the File menu, and then click Save All. Don't press Alt-Shift-F to display the File menu--that doesn't work, and the key combination might be assigned to a command or a macro.

If you find shift-clicking the File menu awkward, put the Save All command directly on a menu or toolbar. Choose Tools -> Customize, click the Commands tab, and verify that the appropriate template is selected in the "Save in" drop-down list. With the File item selected in the Categories list box, scroll down the Commands list to the Save All item, then drag it to the menu or toolbar of your choice. Shift-click the File menu and choose Save All to make sure that the changes to the template get saved.

Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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