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Workplace Software and Skills

3.1 Navigating Microsoft Word

Workplace Software and Skills3.1 Navigating Microsoft Word

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Identify the most commonly used tabs in Microsoft Word
  • Use the Navigation pane

Microsoft Word is a sophisticated word processing application. It completely transformed the document-creation process, replacing typewriters and existing word processing programs, such as WordPerfect and WordStar, with a user-friendly digital interface and hundreds of options for formatting. The comprehensive features allow users to easily adjust fonts and page layouts, insert graphics, track revisions, communicate collaboratively via comments, check spelling, search for text, and much more.

Let’s get started on our market trends report. As you learned in the chapter on Essentials of Software Applications for Business, you should first open a new, blank document in Word. Using the default settings, type the following into the document:

Industry and Market Analysis

The laptop industry is growing at a rather slow rate with sales expected to grow around 1% annually. Sales in the industry currently are over $20 billion. A large part of sales comes from consumer demand. There are several key players in the laptop industry. The largest companies in the industry in terms of consumer laptop ownership in the United States (market share) are HP, Dell, Apple, Acer, and Lenovo. Individuals can purchase a laptop at various price points based on the features, speed, and storage capabilities of the laptop. These companies also compete in the tablet industry and some consumers might make the decision to choose a tablet over a laptop. There are also laptops that are considered “convertible,” meaning that they can be more like a tablet or a laptop with the screen feature that allows full rotation.

You will use this text to build the framework for the market trends report as you move through the sections in this chapter and in subsequent chapters.


Word comes with a set of default tabs (or menus), which are the interface for most of the functions and features you will use. Those tabs are File, Home, Insert, Draw, Design, Layout, References, Mailings, Review, View, and Help.

Mac Tip

These same tabs are on the Mac Menu Bar, but the menu bar varies when you are in Word. There is no File tab on Word’s toolbar in Mac. The default tabs you see depend on the settings you have selected. They usually are Home, Insert, Draw, Design, Layout, References, Mailings, Review, View, and Tell Me. You can access Word preferences and settings via the taskbar at the top of the screen.

Many of the features that are common among the tabs in Office were covered in the Essentials of Software Applications for Business chapter. In this chapter, you will learn more about how the tabs work in Word.

You can customize your menu bar by adding or hiding tabs, and by modifying the tools that appear on each tab. There are hundreds of commands you can choose from; the Word interface is highly customizable. Customization of the tabs was covered in the chapter on Essentials of Software Applications for Business. The next sections introduce some of the most important default tabs and their overall function, as well as the most-used commands, as Figure 3.2 shows.

Word Home tab options: File, Home, Insert, Design, Layout, References, Mailings, Review, View, Help. Each tab includes various command groups.
Figure 3.2 Notice there are several tabs, such as Home and Insert, that are common to all Office programs, as covered in Chapter 2. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Home Tab

The Home tab is where you will spend most of your time, as it contains the formatting of fonts, alignment, headings, numbering, and lists, as well as the Find commands. It is also the default tab that displays when you open your document. We will go over the Home tab commands in detail in Formatting Document Layout in Microsoft Word.

Insert Tab

The Insert tab is useful for adding certain material into your document. The Insert tab also allows the user to include elements such as headers and footers, page numbers, page breaks, and bookmarks. We will review using these features in more detail in the chapter on Document Preparation.

Knowing how to use the Insert tab is particularly important for designing business documents, such as your WorldCorp market trends report. Your report will contain many pages and sections, as well as a table of contents and page numbers. It will also likely contain charts, graphs, and images, all of which need to be inserted into the document. For example, you could insert a chart of the top-selling TV screens (by using the Charts drop-down menu), then add a callout or label explaining the chart (by using the Shapes drop-down menu).

Layout Tab

The Layout tab is where you will configure your page setup. It includes commands for adjusting margins and the paper size, as well as options for shaping the text on the page with columns. The Paragraph command group is for adjusting the alignment of lists, body text, and objects such as pictures in your document. This tab also gives the user options for adding page breaks and line numbers.

Review Tab

If you are working with a team on your documents, you’ll likely use the Review tab. This tab has a commenting function that allows users to add comments to a file, and to respond to each other’s comments, as also discussed in the Essentials of Software Applications for Business chapter. As Figure 3.3 shows, the Review tab contains the Track Changes feature, which is helpful when many people are taking turns reviewing and contributing to a document. When Track Changes is turned on, edits to the document appear underlined and in colored text. Each user’s edits will be colored differently to easily distinguish input from multiple people. This is particularly helpful when documents go through several revisions and are reviewed by many people. The market trends report for WorldCorp is a team effort, requiring several people to contribute to the final product. You can expect that as the document is created and revised, comments will be used to help reach the final version of the report.

The Track Changes process might feel familiar to you, as it is designed to mimic the act of marking up a paper document with a pen. You might have had someone work on your résumé or mark up a homework assignment of yours, using a red pen to make suggestions and revisions on the document itself. In a Word document, comments and Track Changes serve the same purpose as using a red pen on a paper document. This process will be covered in more detail later in the chapter.

The Review tab also has many commands that allow commenting and suggesting changes in documents that are used and edited by multiple people. Figure 3.3 shows two comments that users made by choosing the New Comment function. As people work on the document, they can read and respond to those comments, or remove them by clicking on them and selecting Delete in the Comments menu. There are also options in the Show Markup button found in the Tracking command group to display (or not display) formatting changes such as boldfacing or underlining.

Show Comments and Track Changes tabs selected from Comments command group (Review tab). Altered words are green. Deleted words have strikethrough. “Review” is highlighted. Speech bubble displays a comment followed by response.
Figure 3.3 The Review tab in Word is helpful when multiple people are working on a document. It allows them to add comments and track revisions. The second comment is the lower one and is the reply to the one above it. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Also on the Review tab, the Proofing command group contains helpful tools that you will use often when writing and editing a document. You can check your spelling and grammar, look up words in a dictionary or thesaurus, and keep track of your word count.

You will learn more about the Review tab and its features in Formatting Document Layout in Microsoft Word.

View Tab

The View tab is useful for changing how you see your document. For instance, it gives you the option of looking at your document one or two pages at time. You can also activate the zoom option from here, as well as add rulers and gridlines, which are helpful when placing objects, such as a table or picture, in the report you may be writing. You can also access the Navigation pane in the View tab. You may also use the read, print, or web viewing modes when typing, which give you different ways of seeing your document, as Figure 3.4 shows.

Zoom and Multiple Pages selected from Zoom command group (View tab). Two pages of a document are visible in a row across the screen, zoomed out to fit on the screen.
Figure 3.4 The View tab allows users to view documents in a variety of ways. The multiple pages selection, shown here, lets you see several pages at once. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Navigation Pane

The Navigation pane serves various purposes. The Navigation pane is accessed directly by checking the box on the View tab in the Show command group. You can also get the Navigation pane by selecting Find from the Home tab. With either of these options, a pane will open on the left side of the screen. There are three tabs in the Navigation pane: Headings, Pages, and Results. The first tab, Headings, is the first thing you will see when you open the Navigation pane. This tab shows the outline of your document, but only if you have placed headings for each section and subsection (which you will learn more about in the section on Formatting Document Content in Microsoft Word). The Pages tab shows a thumbnail representation of the pages of the document. The Results tab is used for searching for a particular word, phrase, or number throughout the document, as Figure 3.5 shows. You can always activate the Find function with the Ctrl+F keyboard shortcut.

Mac Tip

To activate the Find function on a Mac, press Command+F.

Navigation Pane selected (Show command group/View tab). Navigation pane offers tabs: Headings, Pages, Results. “group” typed in Search. Results displays sentences with word “group” highlighted. Document with “group” highlighted in yellow displays.
Figure 3.5 The Navigation pane is a sidebar that helps you move quickly from one section of your document to another, or locate a specific term or phrase through its search feature. (Used with permission from Microsoft)

Real-World Application

What Is a Document?

You will likely work in creating, editing, and consuming documents throughout your personal life and professional career. But what exactly is a document? Generally, a document is any type of file that contains information or transferred thoughts/ideas. While historically these documents were transferred to some type of paper or physical presentation on a chalkboard or displayed with an overhead projector, nowadays these are largely found in electronic format. However, when we are referring to a document with respect to Word, we are referring to a very specific type of file. This document file will contain primarily text and images that have been formatted and processed electronically. Hence, Word is a word processor, a type of program that contains a number of different text formatting capabilities for producing primarily text-based files and documents. This is an important distinction, as you can create any number of different text-based files in several different programs.

There will be times when you may not have access to Word or another word processing program. Many computers, and even some portable devices, will come with a preinstalled basic text processing as part of their operating system. Notepad is one example. While you will not be able to format the text (not even bold, italic, or underline), you can capture basic text information and save it as a basic text file (.txt) to your computer. This can be useful for jotting down quick notes—hence the name Notepad. Then, later, when you have access to Word, you can copy and paste the text from Notepad into Word, where you can format it and incorporate it into other documents if needed.


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