Tag Archives: Word

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!  http://gaylelarson.com/word-styles-make-formatting-easy-peasy/

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?