Category Archives: Word

Insert a Watermark on Selected Pages in Word

A Watermark is inserted on all pages by default but sometimes you want it only on selected pages or only on one page. The steps below will accomplish both these tasks. For steps to display a text or image watermark on all pages, see the link to a previous blog for watermarks below.

Example of transparent Word Watermark

Add a Watermark Only to Selected Pages

By default, Word documents are all in the same section (Section 1), regardless of the number of pages you create. This applies the same page layout, margins etc., across the board. If you want different headers or footers, margins or layout for one or more of the pages, the trick is to create section break(s)

Add a watermark only to particular pages by creating a section break. You can then apply a watermark only to that section. Sections are linked by default so you need to unlink them, before inserting the watermark or sections will automatically copy each other.

Place the cursor on the page (after the section break) where you want the watermark to appear:*

  • On the Design tab, in the Page Background group, choose Watermark

Insert Watermark from Word Ribbon

  • Select a watermark from the displayed gallery or create a custom watermark (covered in previous blog, link below).

Add a Section Break

There are several choices when creating a section break but they are all located in the same drop down list:

  • Click the Layout tab, and in the Page Setup group, choose Breaks.
  • Choose the type of section break you want:

Word Section Break Options from Micosoft

If you are not familiar with the details of section breaks, they can vary with the different versions of Word. See this Microsoft web page for excellent steps for each:  Microsoft support for section breaks in Word

Add a watermark to a single page

You can add an image or a text watermark such as Confidential to a single page in a document:

  • Place your cursor on the page that needs the watermark.
  • On the Design tab, in the Page Background group, choose Watermark.
  • Right-click on any watermark in the watermark gallery and choose, Insert at current document position.

The selected watermark is inserted only on a single page.

Remove a Watermark

  • Click on the Watermark icon (Design tab | Page Background group).
  • Click Remove Background.

It is done!

NOTE:  If you are in the Watermark dialog box, you can remove the watermark by clicking in No Watermark at the top.

For the basics of inserting custom watermarks, see this previous post:

Insert a Watermark in Word

Example of Watermark (Washout) in Word Document

What is a Watermark?

A Watermark is text or a picture placed behind the content in your document as a faded background. You can add a text watermark, such as Draft or Confidential or Do Not Copy to your document (these are already included in the Watermark Gallery), or you can create your own custom watermark, such as “Property of…”, etc., or insert a picture or company logo for your document.

Not only is this a great way to protect your intellectual property, it is also a good way to “brand” the document with your company logo or any desired text or graphic.

Add a Text Watermark from the Gallery

In the beginning, the steps are the same whether adding text or graphic:

  • On the Design tab, in the Page Background group, choose Watermark

Ribbon Page Background group for Word Watermark

  • The dialog box will display with built-in text options:

Built-in Word Watermark Text Gallery

  • Choose one of the built-in watermarks in the displayed gallery or add one of your own by clicking Custom Watermark… (see below for steps).

Word automatically applies the watermark to every page (except a designated cover page).

Add a Custom Text Watermark

  1. Click the Design tab, Page Background group, Watermark.
  2. Choose Custom Watermark.
  3. Select Text watermark and the options will change to allow you to type your custom text, choose the font, size and color, and if you want it displayed diagonally or horizontally. (Tip: Leave the size on Auto as Word will adjust to appropriate size for page).
  4. Semi-transparent should be auto selected but if not, check it.

Custom Text Watermark dialog box

Add a Picture Watermark

  • Click the Design tab, Page Background group, Watermark.
  • Choose Custom Watermark.
  • Select Picture watermark, and then choose Select Picture.

Picture Watermark dialog box

  • Select the picture that you want, and then choose Insert. (Note the options to search for an image online or use an existing image from your storage sources).

Insert Picture Options for Word Watermarks

  • The Washout box should be checked automatically but, if not, click it to lighten the picture so that it doesn’t interfere with your document content.
  • You are back in the dialog box where you can choose Apply to see what it looks like on the page and make changes, if needed. Note the Scale box that is set to Auto. If you want to increase or decrease the size of your graphic, choose from the 0% to 500% options in the drop down list.
  • When satisfied, click OK and Print Preview your document to see it WYSIWYG (Geek speak for: What you see is what you get).

NOTE: You can turn any picture, clip art, or a photo into a watermark that you can use to brand a document.

Remove a Watermark

This one is simple pie:

  • Click on the Watermark icon (Design | Page Background).
  • Click Remove Background.

Done…Don’t we wish all of life were this easy!

NOTE:  If you are in the Watermark dialog box, you can remove the watermark by clicking in No Watermark at the top.

Want to add a watermark to selected pages only or to a single page? This is a little more complex and we’ll cover that  here:

What watermarks have or will you use? Let me know in the Comments below. Thanks for reading!

Save Word Document as PDF

Save an Office Document in PDF Format

Word file as PDF

A PDF is the perfect solution for a Word or other type of Office document when we don’t know if the intended viewer has MS Office, or we don’t want them to be able to change our content. Saving as a PDF allows opening, viewing, printing and saving but not editing our original (except for last couple of versions of Word – see note). *

You can use the File | Export | Create PDF/XPS Document command from the Ribbon or the Save As dialog box to create a PDF. Both methods have the same result but use a little different path to get there.

If you want just a portion of your document to be saved as a PDF, select that section before you publish or save as a PDF. It is also a good idea to save as a regular Word document before creating the PDF. Just sayin’…

Export as a PDF Document

Create your PDF from the File tab:

Click File | Export and click Create the PDF/XPS icon on lower right

This displays the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog box:

  • Change the file name and location for saving, if desired
  • PDF is automatically chosen in the Save as type: box
  • The Open file after publishing box should be automatically checked
  • Click the Options… button for choosing to capture specific pages or a selection (if you highlighted previously) or for removing Document Properties which may contain sensitive information. Be aware it is checked by default.
  • Click the Publish button at the bottom to display the file in your default reader software (newer computers will have this automatically installed, such as Adobe Reader)
  • Close the PDF reader to return to your document

Save As Dialog Box for PDF

The F12 function key automatically brings up the Save As dialog box in all Office applications and then you can choose PDF as the format. This is the same as File | Save As but bypasses the Backstage and the extra steps:

Press the F12 function key to display the Save As dialog box

  • Change the file name if desired
  • Choose PDF in the drop down in the Save as type: box
  • The Open file after publishing box should be automatically checked
  • Click the Options… button for additional choices (same as above)
  • Click Save when completed to display the file in your default reader
  • Create Save As PDF Shortcut on Quick Access Toolbar

If you need to create PDF’s on a regular basis, put a shortcut on the QAT. This is in two steps as you’ll create a shortcut icon for multiple formats, and then use that one for making a shortcut icon just for creating a PDF:

  • Right click on the Ribbon or Quick Access toolbar (QAT)
  • Choose Customize Quick Access Toolbar
  • Choose All Commands from the Choose commands from: drop down box
  • Wheel down to: Save As Other Format: (the one with the arrow at the right)
  • Click Add button and relocate position with arrow boxes, if desired
  • Click OK

Once back in your document, you can now create a PDF shortcut with the new QAT shortcut:

  • Click the drop down arrow on your new Save As icon on the QAT to see the list of available formats
  • Right click over PDF or XPS and choose Add to Quick Access toolbar
  • You now have icons for saving as a PDF and Save As other formats 

As you can see, there are several ways to get the job done. Whether you use Publish or Save As dialog boxes is a matter of preference but I vote for the PDF shortcut on the QAT for easy peasy!

*Note:  If you (or your viewer) has Word 2013 or above, ,PDF’s can be opened in Word as Word converts them to a regular document, so just be aware if you have previously used PDF specifically for document protection!

You can save other Office files as a PDF as well. The Excel process is pretty similar to above but there are differences in PowerPoint, Access and OneNote and will cover those in a future post.

Have you saved PDF’s on a regular basis and used other methods? 

Insert a Drop Cap in Microsoft Word

Why Use a Drop Cap?

The beauty of a drop cap

A drop cap can be fancy or plain but it catches the eye. Ever wonder how that novel you are reading displays a large, decorative dropped capital at the beginning of each chapter? Yep, that’s what it is – a great way to dress up a report, book, quote, invitation card, or any writing where you want to make a visual impact.

Word makes it very easy to insert a drop cap in any paragraph to add a little drama to your masterpiece! The drop cap is two lines by default but that can be customized.

Add a Drop Cap

  • Click anywhere in the paragraph where you want to apply the drop cap.
  • Click on the INSERT tab, in the Text group, drop down arrow on Drop Cap.

  • To insert a drop cap that fits within your paragraph, select Dropped.

  • To create a drop cap that is in the margin, outside of your paragraph, select In margin.

  • To change the font or size of the drop cap or adjust its distance from your text, choose Drop Cap Options at the bottom of the list. Experiment with some of the script fonts for variety and effect.

Remove a drop cap

  1. Click in the paragraph that contains the drop cap.
  2. Click on the INSERT tab, in the Text group, click Drop Cap | None.

Note: You can also create a drop cap in Outlook, using the same commands on the ribbon.

Might want to be a little careful with this one and not overuse it. It is a good design tool for the first paragraph of each chapter in a book. Could be applied more in other types of writing such as declarations, poetry or inspirational works, for example. Experiment with it, and your eye will tell you if you have overdone it!

How would you use this in what you create?

Balancing Column Lengths in Word Document

Do your column lengths look a little out of balance in that otherwise perfect document?

Have you struggled with creating columns in Word to get that nice, professional look only to have them display off balance, with one column much longer than the other(s)? Here’s some ways to whip that into shape!

Word allows you to give your work a more magazine or newspaper look by breaking up the document or specific paragraphs into columns. You can have Word do this automatically, or specify where you want the column breaks.

Deciding the number of columns will be based on your margins, font sizes, line and paragraph spacing, graphics and any additional settings. The fast, easy way is to let Word do the lifting.

Have Word Create Column Breaks Based on Selection

If you want specific content to be displayed in columns:

  • Select the contents that you want to display in two or more columns
  • Click the Layout tab on the Ribbon
  • In the Page Setup group, choose the drop down on Columns
  • Choose the number of desired columns

Word will automatically add section breaks at the top and bottom of the column content and make the columns as even as possible. If you add content at the end of the column(s), Word will rebalance them.

Inserting Columns with No Content Selected

If you want the entire document displayed in columns, click anywhere in the document, and follow the steps above.

The difference here is that Word does not insert section breaks so will not automatically adjust column lengths as you add content.

If the columns are not equal length, you can have Word do it by inserting a continuous section break at the end of the last column:

  1.  Click at the end of the text in the last column
  2.  Display the Page Layout tab of the ribbon
  3.  Click on the drop-down on Breaks in the Page Setup group
  4. Choose Continuous under Section Breaks section

Note: If you like the results, you are good to go but if you want to change the column widths or adjust space between columns, you can select the More
Columns… command at the bottom of the Columns drop down.

Although Word is not a full-blown desktop publisher such as InDesign or even Publisher, it can produce some pretty fine looking work just by using some built-in templates or tools. There are more adjustments you can make such as having your heading (and other content) be in one column and the rest of the document in multiple columns. We’ll look at that in a future post.

Have you used this feature in Word before? Did you get the expected results? If you haven’t experimented with columns, give it a try and let me know how it went!

Remove Formatting from a Word Document

Formatting Frenzy!

Yikes! Did you create or inherit a document that has more font formats and colors than a box of crayons and you want it gone? There’s an app for that, so to speak!

Remove Regular Font Formatting

Microsoft Word, awesome as it is, packs a gaggle of formatting behind the scenes. Often that is not an issue unless you run into a situation where it gets in the way of inserting, exporting or pasting into another document or program.

What you need to do depends on how much you want to get rid of. If you received a file that contains different font styles, sizes and colors, etc., and you want it instantly reset to the default, just press CTRL + SPACEBAR. Presto! You are all set to start from scratch.

Remove Styles Formatting

Word has built-in styles that make formatting a sophisticated document quick and easy. However, they contain a lot of underlying formatting and CTRL SPACEBAR will not remove Style formatting. Styles live on the Home tab | Styles group and have their own formatting.

To remove Applied Styles within Word:

  • Click the More button at the end of the Styles group (Home tab)

  • Click Clear Formatting command at the bottom of the Style icons

  • Styles are now removed from all selected text.

If your document has a lot of varied formatting including Styles, the best way to ensure it is all stripped is to use a text editor, and get it done all at once.

Use Notepad to Remove ALL Formatting from a Document

The above fixes work great for superficial formatting but If you need to strip all formatting, you need to send the text to a text editor such as Notepad. This is an accessory program built into the Windows operating system (along with some other handy mini-programs such as WordPad, Paint, Calculator, and the popular Snipping Tool). Notepad is available in all versions of Windows, as are most of the other tools.

Steps to strip all formatting:

  1. Select desired text or CTRL A to select entire document
  2. Cut or Copy the selection to the Clipboard
  3. Open the Notepad accessory (just click on Start button and type “notepad” to display it at top of Search. Click it to open the program)
  4. Paste your Clipboard contents into the Notepad window

All formatting for your text is instantly removed. Copy and paste it back into Word and/or you could also save it as a text file.

Your document is now clean and lean and ready to be beautified!

Tip: If you will use this method on a regular basis, pin Notepad to the taskbar. Right click on the Notepad icon and choose Pin to taskbar, and it will stay there until you “unpin” it.

Did you get to try it? Let me know!

Want more information on Word Styles? See my post on streamlining your document with the amazing Styles!

Convert Text to and from Tables in Microsoft Word

Convert Text to Table

If you have to create lists in Word and line up the text in separate columns, you have probably had a few frustrating moments! This is actually an easy fix if you have used the TAB key and only pressed it once between each piece of information. Where we usually run into trouble is when the space bar is used to create the needed space and/or the TAB key pressed more than once.

Let’s say I’m doing a simple list with names and department. I am hitting the TAB key once between each column which will look odd and not seem like the way to go but it is what works. ENTER is pressed at the end of each line. (Show/Hide is turned on to show the formatting marks for TAB and ENTER):

This looks like a dog’s breakfast but not for long. Make sure the text that is to be converted into the table contains only a single tab character between each column. (It could also be a comma for the separator).

Here’s how to have a neat, organized list in no time.

  1. Select the text you want converted into a table. (Avoid paragraph markers above and
    below the text).
  2. Display the Insert tab of the ribbon.
  3. Click the Table tool and then click Convert Text to Table. Word displays the Convert
    Text to Table dialog box.
  4. Make sure all the table settings in the dialog box are correct. (In this case, the Number of columns should be 3 and the Separate text at should be Tabs. (Word will automatically do this but always wise to check).
  5. Click OK to display a table.

Not only is this neat, you now have all the advantages of table formatting. When you click in the table, two new tabs will display at the end of the Ribbon under Table
Tools. The Design and Layout tabs give quick, professional looking formatting options. Most of them display a live preview when you mouse-over each selection. Can’t get much faster than that!

Remove Borders

Prefer to just have the text displayed as columns?  Remove the cell borders:

  1. Click in the table. Design and Layout tabs will display at the end of the Ribbon.
  2. From the Layout tab | Table group; click drop down arrow on Select and choose Select All (can also click the + symbol at upper left of table if it displays when you click in the table).
  3. Click the Design tab | Borders group and the drop down on the Borders icon. Choose No Border.

There you go, nice neat columns! (This is still a table, just without borders displayed).

Convert a Table to Text

No sooner do you get this accomplished when you find you have tables that need to be converted to text. You can convert the entire table or just specific rows:

  • Select the rows or table you want to convert to text.
  • On the Layout tab | Data group (at end of Ribbon), click Convert to Text.

  • The Convert to Text box displays. Under Separate text with, click the separator character you want to replace table cells (in this case, TAB) .

  • Click OK.

Here’s the results:

Note that the column spacing is based on your original table but can be adjusted by changing the tab stops. (These display on the ruler when the text is selected and can be just dragged to desired width).

This feature is a great trick also for a paste from Excel (and other programs), as the paste can sometimes produce strange results!

How would you use these features in your Word formatting?

Word Styles Make Formatting Easy Peasy!

Why Format with Word Styles?


Why care about using Word Styles? Because you want to work smarter, not harder. You might already know about Format Painter, that magic icon in the Clipboard group that copies complicated formatting from one place to another with a mouse click. It is awesome for a shorter document but would be crazy-making for formatting that humongous report!

Want to:

  • Create a formatted, professional document in a flash?
  • Create a fast Table of Contents in Word?
  • Use one-click navigation through that long document?

Do this and more with Word Styles!

You can use the built-in styles in Word or modify them to get the results you want and Styles are saved with your document. By default, Word applies Normal Style to all text (in Word 2007 and above, it is Calibri (Body Font), 11. In earlier versions, it is Times New Roman, 12.

Heading Styles

Any text can be changed to a built in style. Styles live on the Home tab, Styles group. You will see a limited number of styles displayed (depending on your screen size and resolution).

Click the More button at the bottom right of the group to see a bigger list and roll your mouse over each to see the effects. As you select Heading (or other) styles, they will move to the front of the list on the Ribbon.

The Title and Heading Styles are Paragraph, not Character Styles, so you don’t need to select all of the text to apply a style. Just click anywhere in the paragraph (or heading), and click on the style desired.

Modify a Style with One Click

Let’s say you applied Heading 2 to multiple areas of the document but then decide you want a different font size and color for that heading level:

  • Choose and format any Heading 2 the way you would like it to look
  • Select it and right click over that heading name in the Styles group. The icon will have a border showing it is the selected style.
  • Choose Update (style name) to Match Selection, and Yahtzee, every style with that name is automatically updated and that formatting will be applied from now on to that heading level.

Design Sets – Professional Formatting with a Click

You finished your document and then wonder if you could have a little fancier look to the whole thing without re-inventing the wheel. Again, yes you can! After applying Styles, you can change the overall look and fonts of all the styles in your document with a single click using Design Sets.

  • Click in a heading in your document.
  • Click the Design tab and the More button in the Document Formatting
  • Mouse over all the options in the group to see the effects how each of your heading styles would look in that set.
  • Click on desired Style and it is set for your whole document, and so are you!

Use the Navigation Pane to whip through a long document

Another benefit of Styles is fast navigation and drag and drop rearranging of headings and paragraphs:

  • Display Navigation Pane by clicking View tab/Show group/Navigation Pane (See below for shortcut).
  • The Navigation Pane displays at left of your document and you can click on headings to jump there.
  • Collapse and expand heading levels by clicking the arrows at left of heading names.

Change the order or paragraphs or sections by just dragging the heading in the Navigation Pane to desired location and your document is changed accordingly, i.e., You need a heading on Page 6 to be on Page 4, collapse headings and drag it there, or need your headings in alpha order…Drag and drop to the rescue!

Styles for Bullets and Numbering Lists

Don’t stop with your headings and paragraph styles, You can also create customized multiple level number or bullet styles using the drop down arrow on those icons in the Paragraph group on the Home tab and choosing Define New…, customize as desired and they will be added to the Styles Gallery.

Smart Status Bar tricks for Navigation:

In Word 2013 and above, click the Page number on the Status Bar and Navigation Pane instantly displays!

If you have Section numbers displayed on the Status Bar, clicking that displays the Find and Replace dialog box at the Go To tab. (Word versions prior to 2013, display this also when clicking the Page number).

Remove Style Formatting

There may become a time when you want to totally remove all those styles from your document (or from the one that you inherited from a style-crazy person), and return it to Word’s default font and size:

  • Press CTRL A to select the entire document.
  • Click on the Normal icon in the Styles group on the Home tab and all your text will now be Calibri (Body text), 11.

Note:  if you have formatted text without Styles,  just press CTRL + SPACEBAR to convert to default text.

See, I told, you easy-peasy. Now go out and take control over that Word document!

P.S. All that being said, be aware that Styles are very powerful but also complex. Keep it simple if Styles are new to you because a lot of playing can produce some confusing results as Word tracks every change you make to a style as an additional style. Start with using the built in Styles and using the various benefits as outlined in this post. That might be all you ever want or need.



The New Start Screens

2013 Office applications sport a new color-coded start screen:

  • blue for Word,
  • green for Excel
  • orange for PowerPoint
  • green for Publisher
  • burgundy for Access

They all look and behave the same way as this example for Word. Launching the program displays a list of recent documents. A blank document is the default option or instead you can select a template, search online for templates by clicking the Category links or typing key words in the Search Box.

Click Open Other Documents to search for a document on your computer or in a OneDrive folder. The top right of the screen shows details of the OneDrive account that you are currently logged in to use and you can Switch User or access Account Settings with the drop down arrow next to the login name. This is accessible in the same area in all your Office programs, and inside of each of your files.


Start screens help new users find their way around more easily, and experienced users may like having all of their options in one place at startup but not everyone is doing the Snoopy dance here. Turning off the Start Screen will display a blank document when you open the program (just like the old days)!

How to turn off the Start Screen

Word is open:

  1. Click File tab, then Options at the bottom of the category list on the left
  2. The General tab will display
  3. Scroll down to the Start up options section
  4. Remove the check mark from Show the Start screen when this application starts
  5. Click OK and you are good to go.

Test by closing Word and re-opening. The blank document awaits!

Restore Direct Response to Open and Save As

Several 2013 programs display the Backstage when you open or save a file. If you want to bypass it for direct access to the Open and Save As dialog boxes, you’ll be glad to know you can get that control back also. (This applies to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher).

  1. Back to File tab, Options
  2. Click the Save category at left
  3. Click in the checkbox so that the Backstage does not display
  4. Click OK

Test your Open or Save As commands and you have instant dialog box.

Make this process even faster

Press F12 function key for instant Save As (all Office programs except Publisher)

Use CTRL O for Open (all Windows programs)

If this was helpful to you, please leave a comment!