Before Catch Up Training’s Heather Wickham and her TCANZ workshop Word 2013 Intermediate Level, I had no idea how versatile Word could be. Up until recently I’d used it for school, work, and the occasional short story; but hadn’t really poked about under the tabs, so to speak. Under Heather’s guidance, the true Swiss-Army knife-like qualities of MS Word were brought to light as we spent a day going through template-making, ribbon customisation, creating your own Autotext, and a world of other features that will make anything I write from now on stand out above the rest.
I can honestly say that I never appreciated Microsoft Word’s Styles functions until now. Heather showed us how to make our own Styles, and using the Navigation pane, how we could flit from section to section within a document. If I had known how to do that when I was writing my Honours thesis my life would have been so much easier! Also creating forms with embedded drop-down menus and selected fields is something that I’d never thought of doing before. And dressing up my paragraphs with drop caps! The ribbon customisation tool was by far the most useful feature for me. Having everything from Accents for when I’m working in other languages, to the Show/Hide function for my documents, and all the Office programs that I use for both school and work in button form at the top of my page instead of being hidden under tabs and drop down menus is brilliant.
Speaking of tabs, if you haven’t discovered the functions hidden beneath the Developer tab, you’re missing out. Making your own templates is not only fun, but incredibly useful if you want to make your own newsletters, invoices, calendars etc. but don’t want to use the rather homogenous-looking templates provided with the MS Word suite.
I never thought I’d say this, but MS Word is actually pretty cool. I can now do far more with it than I was able to before learning from Heather Wickham. As a writer I can now deliver a better product because I can now utilise MS Word in all its glory. Also, with my newfound knowledge I’m going to be of immeasurable value to my employers both present and future. With the MS Office suite used (sometimes solely) in most organisations as a document creation device, being able to wield my industry’s weapon of choice as a creator and maintainer of templates, multi-page multi-section documents with images and more, is going to make me a highly valued and appreciated team member.