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Formatting text

From: Computer Literacy for the Mac

Video: Formatting text

Now let's take a look at how to format text you've entered into a word processor. By formatting, I'm referring to the task of changing the appearance of paragraphs, sentences, words, or even individual characters in your word processing document. For this exercise, I've copied the file 08_02_Current Policy.rtf to my desktop, and I'm going to open this in Microsoft Word by dragging it to its icon in my Dock. If you don't have Word and you want to follow along, you can use TextEdit, which again is a free basic Word processor found in your Applications folder.

Formatting text

Now let's take a look at how to format text you've entered into a word processor. By formatting, I'm referring to the task of changing the appearance of paragraphs, sentences, words, or even individual characters in your word processing document. For this exercise, I've copied the file 08_02_Current Policy.rtf to my desktop, and I'm going to open this in Microsoft Word by dragging it to its icon in my Dock. If you don't have Word and you want to follow along, you can use TextEdit, which again is a free basic Word processor found in your Applications folder.

And everything I'm going to show you here will apply to other word processing programs as well. So now the file is open, and when it comes to formatting text, all word processors follow the universal rule that the item you want to format must be selected in order for it to be changed. Selecting text usually means taking your mouse cursor and dragging across the text you want to select. That tells the word processor that you want to affect only the text you've selected. After you've selected the text, find your formatting tools. Here in Word, you've some formatting tools in the toolbar going across the top of the window as well as the toolbox where Formatting palette. Other word processors have Formatting Inspectors or panels. Wherever they are, they should be fairly apparent.

So with my text selected, I'll come over to my Formatting palette, and I'll click the B button to make this text bold. We also have other formatting options here like I for italicizing and U for underlining. This is also where you'll find the menus to change the font of your selected text. So I can browse through all of my installed fonts, and just pick another font. And you'll find other options in Word's Formatting palette such as Strikethrough, Superscript, Subscript, Small Caps, All Caps, coloring your text, highlighting your text, changing your text size and so on.

So another universal feature of most Word processors these days is multiple undos. This lets you experiment with formatting without having to worry about ruining the appearance of your document. So if I didn't like that last change I made, which was the font size change, I'd go to the Edit menu, and I can choose Undo Size Select. Notice the keyboard command for this is Command+Z, and that's definitely one you want to commit to memory. I can keep tapping Command+Z to remove the changes I made in reverse order. And I'll just click anywhere in my document to deselect that text.

So that's the basics of text formatting, and again, it works the same in all word processors. Just select your text and make your changes. Most word processors also let you make non-contiguous selections, in case you want to apply the same formatting to multiple chunks of text. Just make your first selection, like I've done here, then hold down the Command key - again, that's the Apple key on your keyboard - and drag to select another piece of text. And you can continue doing this until you've selected everything you want. Once you've made your selections, click the buttons for the formats you wish to apply. And you can see they are applied to all the selected text.

And this can be a big time saver. Next, I'm going to go into Alignment and Spacing. Again, depending on your word processor you might not have a section called Alignment and Spacing, but you should at least see these four buttons that look like this. These are the Paragraph Alignment buttons, and they really determine how paragraphs appear on your page. To apply paragraph alignment, you don't have to drag to select an entire paragraph. Just click anywhere in that paragraph and then click an alignment button. Left is the default, but we also have Center, Right, and Justify. Justify spaces out the words in the paragraph to both the left and right sides of the text align straight with the margins of the page.

In this case, it has a little too much space between words for my liking, so I'm going to switch it back to left-aligned. So again, as long as your cursor is in the paragraph, you can use the Alignment buttons to affect the entire paragraph. If you want to change the alignment of multiple paragraphs though, you do have to select them, or at least select portions of them. You can see, for instance, I only have a portion of the first paragraph selected, but if I make this center- aligned, it affects both paragraphs. I'll set that back to Left. And lastly, I want to talk about Copy, Cut and Paste. We've touched on these commands in a previous chapter, but I want to give you a practical example here.

These commands are found in the Edit menu of all word processors, and just about any other type of program in which you can type or create content. Let's say I want to make this third paragraph of the section the second paragraph instead. First, I'll highlight the paragraph to select it. Now a quick way to do this is to triple-click the paragraph. Notice a double-click selects a single word, but when you triple-click, it selects the entire paragraph. Then I'll choose Edit > Cut. The keyboard shortcut is Command+X. That removes or cuts this selected text out of my document, but its contents are now in a special part of my computer's memory called the Clipboard.

Now I'll click in front of the second paragraph, because pasting text requires you to place your cursor wherever you want that text to appear. Now I'll choose Edit > Paste. The keyboard command is Command+V. And now I have successfully moved that paragraph. So use Cut when you want to move text to another location of your document. And it's also pointing out that cut or copy text can be pasted into any other documents or applications that accepts text. So, for example, if I had selected this text and chosen Cut or Copy, in this case I'll just choose Copy, and open up TextEdit, here in TextEdit I can choose Edit > Paste, and the text will appear here.

And you generally use Copy when you don't want the selected text to be removed. As another example, this is Section one of the document I'm currently working on. Maybe I'm ready to start working on Section two. Since this text in this header is already formatted the way I want, with the heading bold and the text below it in the font I want, I'm going to select the heading and the first paragraph, and then I'll choose Edit > Copy. And again, notice that it stays just where it is. Now I'll scroll to the end of my document and place my cursor where I want the next section to begin, and I'll paste my text with the keyboard command of Command+V. So now I've a copy of the first heading and paragraph.

I'll change this to Section 2, by highlighting number 1 and typing in 2. Then I'll highlight the word Introduction, and I'll call the section Employee Rights. So anytime you start typing with text highlighted, the text you're typing immediately replaces that highlighted text. And doing it this way lets me keep the same appearance of my previous heading. The same goes for the body text. I can just highlight it, knowing that I want to delete it all because it's just a copy, and I can start typing to get rid of the original text, but maintain the formatting appearance.

So there is one practical use of the Copy and Paste commands. Again, I highly suggest learning the keyboard shortcuts for Cut, Copy and Paste. The reason they are Command+X, Command+ C, and Command+V, is because all those letters are right next to each other on your keyboard and can be easily invoked with your left-hand. This lets you control your mouse and text selections with your right-hand, and cut, copy and paste with your left. Also, bear in mind that once you've copied or cut some text, you can paste it indefinitely until you copy or cut something else. So if necessary, I can place my cursor at the end of the document and hit Command+V again to paste, and the most recent text I copied gets pasted in again.

And I could just keep hitting Command+ V to make as many copies as I want or need, until I cut or copy something else, and then that most recent selection becomes the item on my clipboard. So there you've some basic formatting and selection skills that will apply to whichever word processor you're using.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Computer Literacy for the Mac
Computer Literacy for the Mac

55 video lessons · 24628 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
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  1. 2m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the assessment files
      1m 7s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 9m 51s
    1. What's a computer?
      1m 49s
    2. What's inside a computer?
      2m 46s
    3. Laptop vs. desktop computers
      1m 59s
    4. Special considerations when using a laptop
      3m 17s
  3. 20m 58s
    1. Understanding the operating system
      3m 3s
    2. Understanding files, folders, and directories
      4m 49s
    3. Understanding your home folder (your user folder)
      5m 21s
    4. Using your desktop
      3m 11s
    5. Taking out the trash (recycle bin)
      2m 21s
    6. The right click
      2m 13s
  4. 24m 8s
    1. Understanding applications
      4m 24s
    2. Opening and saving files
      4m 10s
    3. Choosing the right tool
      4m 44s
    4. How to learn any application
      3m 53s
    5. Five things that work in all applications
      6m 57s
  5. 36m 22s
    1. Understanding computer ports
      2m 59s
    2. Setting up a printer
      3m 7s
    3. Printing your documents
      4m 30s
    4. Setting up a scanner
      2m 27s
    5. Scanning a document
      6m 15s
    6. Setting up a projector or second monitor
      5m 56s
    7. Using a projector
      3m 43s
    8. Portable storage devices
      3m 53s
    9. Pairing with Bluetooth devices
      3m 32s
  6. 17m 27s
    1. Understanding networks and internet access
      2m 58s
    2. Connecting to wired network
      2m 36s
    3. Connecting to wireless networks
      4m 4s
    4. Working in a networked environment
      6m 15s
    5. Staying protected from viruses
      1m 34s
  7. 19m 31s
    1. Understanding email servers and clients
      2m 11s
    2. Setting up your email application
      4m 15s
    3. Receiving and reading email
      2m 21s
    4. Composing new email messages
      5m 52s
    5. Reply vs. Reply All
      2m 11s
    6. Dealing with spam
      2m 41s
  8. 8m 24s
    1. Understanding search engines
      1m 24s
    2. Conducting basic searches
      3m 51s
    3. Conducting advanced searches
      3m 9s
  9. 24m 21s
    1. Using word processors
      4m 22s
    2. Formatting text
      7m 7s
    3. Using spreadsheets
      3m 36s
    4. Creating a simple data table
      7m 37s
    5. Formatting a data table
      1m 39s
  10. 18m 53s
    1. Importing images from a digital camera
      4m 46s
    2. Storing and organizing digital images
      5m 11s
    3. Basic image manipulation
      4m 10s
    4. Tagging images
      2m 32s
    5. Sharing images
      2m 14s
  11. 10m 52s
    1. Common obstacles in sharing files
      1m 37s
    2. Creating PDFs for document sharing
      5m 35s
    3. Compressing files
      3m 40s
  12. 1m 3s
    1. What's next?
      1m 3s

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