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Welcome to Microsoft Word Tips & Tricks

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The Format tab of the Drawing Tools toolbar provides a plenty of options for customization of the shape outline, background and text settings. Also, here you can change spacing and size for multiple shapes at once.

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Business process charts like employee routines, document preparation and approval, or online user navigation path on a website or a Web store are different from academic flows of algorithms. Usually academic applications use a limited number of standard shape types, but in business, different shapes give a better look and simplify understanding. However, it is hard to decide which shape is appropriate for the specific block.

In Microsoft Office in general and in Word you don’t need to plan the flow design because you can easily change the shape outline at any stage.

To change flowchart shapes in Word, do the following:

   1.   Select the shape you want to change:

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   2.   Under Drawing Tools, on the Format tab, in the Insert Shapes group, select Edit Shape dropdown list:

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   3.   In the Edit Shape list, select Change Shape dropdown list and then choose the shape you prefer:

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   4.   Adjust the format of the changed shape:

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See also how to change format of diagram shapes in Word.


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When you type numbers or some special symbols (see examples below) in your document, Word automatically creates numbered or bulleted lists. Sometimes you spend a lot of time to remove automatic changes in your document. However, you can easily stop creation of bulleted or numbered lists in your document.

Microsoft Word by default automatically changes some special symbols with the followed space, if you type them in the first position of the line, to the bulleted lists. Some examples:

Symbol with the followed spaceBulleted list
- 2
* 3
> 4
-> 5
=> 16

Microsoft Word by default automatically changes some symbols with the followed point or closing parenthesis and space, if you type them in the first position of the line, to the numbered lists. Some examples:

Symbols with the followed point or 
closing parenthesis and space
Numbered list
1. or 1) - any digit 6   or   
7
I. or I) as Roman numeric 8   or   
9
i. or i) as Roman numeric 10   or   
11
A. or A) - any capital letter 12   or   
13
a. or a) - any letter 14   or   
15

To turn off automatic creation of the bulleted or numbered lists in Word, do the following:

   1.   On the File tab click Options to open Word Options dialog box:

2016

   2.   In the Word Options dialog box, choose the Proofing tab, and then click the AutoCorrect Options... button:

2016autocorrect

   3.   In the AutoCorrect dialog box, on the AutoFormat As You Type tab:

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  • To turn off automatic creation of bulleted or numbered lists, uncheck the appropriate checkboxes,
  • To turn on automatic creation of bulleted or numbered lists, check the appropriate checkboxes.

See also How to use AutoCorrect substitutions for fast typing of Greek alphabet and mathematical symbols.


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Most process flow diagrams and workflow charts use elbow connectors for connecting process stages and elements, but too many connecting lines of the same type give your chart a messy look. Fortunately, you can combine different connector types that represent semantically different transitions.

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When you create the process flow chart, process map, business flow diagram or data flow diagrams and UML activity diagrams you often need to add some text or labels to the connectors. Unlike many other free and commercial diagram drawing packages, Microsoft Office shapes provide extremely rich text formatting features.

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Every time you add, move or resize shapes (e.g., flowchart shapes), and very soon it becomes tedious to align them. Fortunately, Microsoft Word proposes Gridlines that can help to organize shapes and other objects in your document.

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When you work with complex document such as project documentation, book or diploma, you need to insert several pages that should be excluded from the total number of document pages. For example, if you have one document of 27 pages where 4 first pages with recommendations should be excluded from the total number of pages:

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