Microsoft Office is arguably one of the most common programs used for ministry, and for a good reason: it’s flexible, straightforward, and familiar. I’d be willing to bet that most people today have worked with Microsoft Word or its Mac equivalent at least once in their lives.
So why spend a post talking about it?
I’ll just share a few tips and tricks to make your Word process (pun intended) smoother:
- Paragraph Spacing. This one’s tricky, but it can save you a lot of unnecessary work! Highlight your text, and then right-click > Paragraph. You can leave your text single-spaced, or add a custom spacing. While double-spacing is common, 1.15 spacing is a little easier on the eyes, and a lot of default templates use weird spacing nowadays. Don’t let it trip you up! Also, for a bulleted list, check out the “Space After Paragraph” options, rather than adding an extra blank space. It’s more customizable in the long run.
- Margins. Unless you’re writing a paper for a class, 1 inch margins are unnecessary. I use .5 inch margins on almost all documents I create, because it saves paper.
- Track Changes. If you’re collaborating on a document/paper/flyer with a colleague, “Track Changes” (found under the Review menu) is very helpful. Click the Track Changes button, and then every change you make is highlighted in red. Your partner can either “Accept” or “Reject” changes, but it’s a good way to highlight them. You can also use this feature to add specific comments, which appear in the sidebar.
- Photo Cropping. Text is boring without pictures! Use photos, by all means. When you resize them, drag the corner adjustors, not the ones found on the sides, top, or bottom. This will maintain the proper ratio so you don’t have a skewed picture. Also, make good use of the “Crop” feature; it can be found under the “Picture Tools” tab when the picture is selected.
- Group. Let’s say you have a pair of images and a text box, and you want to keep them all together. Hold down the Ctrl button and click on all the images/text boxes you like, and then click “Group” (look for it under the Page Layout tab). They’ll be locked together, so you can drag them around as you wish, in one little clump. Click “ungroup” if you need to make any changes.
- Send Backward/Bring Forward. Again, with layering. If you have two items that don’t play nicely together, try using the “Bring Forward” or “Send Backward” features. This can help bringthe proper image / text box to the top of the metaphorical “pile” of items.
- You’ve Got it, so Run it! And by it, I mean spell check. Because you never can be too careful.
Thanks for stopping by! You can check out all my Technology in Ministry posts here.