Crucial Microsoft Word Skills That Just Don’t Get Taught

By Deane Barker

My church is building a huge new addition, and part of it is going to be a computer lab. This means that I’ll finally have a nice spot to teach some free computer classes, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

I got to thinking the other day what I’d teach, and I think there’s really a need for a class on Microsoft Word. I could call it, “The Things They Never Taught You About Word That Have Been Driving You Nuts Ever Since.”

Here’s what I’d teach:

  1. How styles work. How to create them, how to derive them, and how to apply them.

  2. How to strip the formatting from existing text and start over.

  3. How to paste unformatted text.

  4. The different between a paragraph break and a line break. (This is one of the most overlooked things in any text formatting program.)

  5. How to use tabs or tables to line up text columns (instead of spaces, which is what normally happens).

  6. How templates work, including how to modify the template to carry styles through to every new document you open.

  7. How to do “Select All.”

It sounds simple, but knowing these things would improve most users’ experience with Word a hundred-fold.

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