Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How to adjust Table of Contents (TOC) Page Margin in MS Word

A table of contents (TOC) in MS Word is a useful tool that helps to easily navigate a document. It is especially useful when writing books and ebooks. However, if you have ever tried to adjust the page margin, then you know how problematic it can be; I am referring to the specific situation where you want to adjust the page margins of your table of contents but you don't want to change the margins in the rest of the document. This may become necessary if you find that your TOC page numbers are too far aligned to the right such that when the document is printed, the page numbers appear too close to the ebook/book margin.

One way to remedy this is to adjust the margins on the entire document as the Word 2010 example below shows. 

However, this may end up increasing the page count significantly, which may end up as a disadvantage especially when you intend to publish the book. A higher page count translates to higher printing costs, thus, the above fix may not work for you.
The best solution is to adjust the margins of the table of contents without affecting the rest of the document. This is how to do it.

Step 1 - Navigate to the "View" tab and select "Outline" view.
Step 2 - Create section breaks at the top and bottom of your table of contents. In essence, you want to confine your TOC to a different section so that you can adjust the page margins in this section without affecting the rest of the document. Navigate to the "Page Layout" tab. Place your cursor at the point just above the table of contents title. In the "Breaks" drop down menu, click on "Next Page" as shown below.

Again, place your cursor at the end of your table of contents in Outline View and create a section break as described above. You should end up with section breaks above and below your TOC as shown below.

Step 3 - Close the Outline view and return to Print Layout view. Click anywhere on the table of contents page then navigate to the "Page Layout" tab. Adjust your page margins normally. If the TOC page numbers were too far aligned to the right, adjust the "Right" margin to your satisfaction. Ensure that the "Apply to" field is set to "This Section". This is very important because failure to do so will effect changes to the entire document. See below.

Click "OK" and check to confirm that the page margin changes have only been effected on the table of contents...and that's it!

Also learn how to create a clickable table of contents.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

How to use the MS Word (2007 and 2010) Styles Feature

Microsoft Word has a couple of nifty tools that save you lots of time when writing and editing documents. One of these features is the Styles feature.  This article details how to use styles in Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. The simplest way to format your MS Word documents is by making use of the inbuilt predefined styles. On your Home tab there are a number of styles listed. You should have something similar to the image below:

Below is some sample text for the purposes of this tutorial. We want to format this text and as you can see, the default style is the Normal style.

The first thing that you would want to do is to change the headings so that they stand out from the rest of the text.  Select each of the headings on your document and click on ‘Heading 1’ option on the tab. You should then end up with text as shown below:

As you can see the heading ‘Post’ stands out from the rest of the text in the document.
Let’s say for some reason you need to change the color of your heading to red. Right click on the tab you used to set the Heading styles as shown below:

Click on the ‘Modify’ option and change the settings to your preferences and then click ‘OK’.

You should then end up with text as shown below:

As you can see, we have changed the color of the heading from blue to red. It really is that simple!
Now that you know how to format your headings, let’s look at how to format the main text in your document. Let’s say you want to italicize the main body text and change the font color to blue. Here is how to do it:
On the ‘Styles’ tab, click on the ‘Modify’ option as shown in the earlier example. Right click on the option ‘Normal’ and select your preferred formatting you will end up with something like this:

As you can see it’s all quite easy to do and saves you a lot of time having to go back and format every small detail in your word document.

What is the importance of the styles feature?

MS Word Styles improve the appearance of your document and make it more appealing to your readers in the following ways:

  • Headings in a different font from the rest of the text
  • Indented bulleted lists
  • Adequate white space separating paragraphs
  • Emphasized text in a contrasting color.
  • Styles also save you lots of time.
  • It is easy to identify important aspects of a document that has been formatted using styles; a reader is able to quickly navigate a document.
  • Styles also give your documents a professional look.