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MailChimp 4 – how to create a template for your newsletter

Welcome to Lesson 4 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts, and MailChimp 3 – Creating a sign-up form, this time we’re going to learn how to create a simple template for a newsletter.

Why do I need a template for my newsletter?

Setting up a template means that you save a lot of time each time you send out your newsletter. You can spend all the time creating a lovely template once, then just pop the text in each time you want to send a newsletter out.  It also means that you can import a branded template created for you by a designer which includes your specific brand, colours and messages.

How do I create a MailChimp newsletter template?

You can find the Templates area in the top menu on MailChimp:

MailChimp templates menu

If you haven’t already created any templates, you will find a message that You have no saved Templates and a handy arrow pointing to the Create Template button. You can always use this Create Template button even if you have previously created a template; it just won’t have an arrow pointing to it.

MailChimp create template

Starting off – choosing a style for your template

Once you’ve clicked Create Template you will be walked through choosing a design.

You can see here that you can choose Basic, Themes or Code Your Own.

Basic, seen here, gives you a range of layouts for your newsletter. You can have one or two columns,  or a combination of any number of columns and layouts. We’re going to use one of these eventually, but let’s have a look at the other options. If you click on Themes

MailChimp choose template

Themes gives you colourful backgrounds that might inspire you or might be a bit much – it’s all down to personal choice. The default view will be the Featured themes, which is presumably those that are new, but you can navigate the whole set of themes in different ways.

MailChimp choose template

For example, click on All and you can see particular themes, for example if you wanted to create a birthday or wedding newsletter, and various other categories. You can also use Search themes to search for particular colours, etc.

MailChimp choose template

To take a quick look at the Code Your Own tab, this is where you can drop in a template that someone else has coded and designed for you (there are a few companies out there offering this service) or one that you’ve designed yourself. Select the appropriate option, paste in or upload your design, and there’s your template, ready to use! (in this case, now skip to How to save your MailChimp template.

MailChimp choose template

How to create a basic template in MailChimp

OK, having had a look around the options, we’re now going to set up a basic template.

We’re back at the Basic tab, and I’m choosing the third option on the top row, as that’s how I’d like my newsletter to look. Click on the Select button to choose that layout:

MailChimp choose template

And once you’ve selected your layout, you can get on with customising it.

Customising your MailChimp template

Once you’ve chosen a layout, now it’s time to customise it. Luckily, MailChimp will walk you through the process.

You can see from this screenshot that you have the template on the left-hand side and a set of options that you can drop into that template on the right. Each block can contain anything you want it to, but you’ll see that the layout is the same as the one I chose in the previous stage.

MailChimp customise template

To add a section of text to your newsletter template, click on Text on the right, hold the mouse button down, drag it to where you want the text to be, then let to go to drop it in. Simple! (hopefully). But what if you want to add images?

How to add an image to your MailChimp template

If you want to add an image to a block of your MailChimp template, you can click the Browse button in the middle of the template (or drag an image there if you have a folder of images open at the same time – most people do it this way).

MailChimp customise template

Browse will take you to the folders in your own computer, so you can navigate to your chosen image and double click it to add it to the block:

MailChimp customise template add image

If you want to edit or replace the image, hover over it and you’ll see an Edit icon. In the right-hand part of the screen, you will have the option to Replace Edit Link Alt. Too many screen shots spoil the post, so I’ll leave you to explore these options with a guide:

  • Replace will allow you to replace this image with another one
  • Edit will allow you to resize the image or edit its metadata
  • Link will allow you to apply a link to the image, meaning that when your reader clicks on the image, they will be taken to another website – you might use this with an image of your logo (taking them through to your website) or a product you sell (taking them through to a buying page)
  • Alt will allow you to add Alt(ernative) text to the image. This is text that you can provide explaining what the image is. This is useful both for readers who have opted to receive plain-text newsletters (if they can choose this option on your sign-up form) and will see text rather than a broken link, and for readers who might have a visual impairment and be using a text-reading program – they will have this description read to them

MailChimp customise template add image

Once you’ve used images in your template once, they will be available to use in the File Manager, so if you’ve clicked Replace, you can pop there to choose a different image and Upload it.

MailChip amend customise template

How to add social media buttons to your MailChimp template

Another popular option for newsletters, and you’ve probably seen this on ones you read, is to have social media buttons on the newsletter which take readers through to your Facebook and Twitter streams or website.

To add social media buttons to your template, find the Social Follow section in the Content options (Social Share, by the way, allows readers to share your newsletter on their social media platforms – if you want people to click through to your Facebook etc. page, use Social Follow):

MailChimp template social follow

Click, hold the mouse button down, drag and drop it where you want to place it in your template:

MailChip  template social follow

When your buttons are in your template, the right-hand section will change to allow you to personalise these links. Add your own Facebook page, Twitter stream and website URLs to this section and press Save & Close. This will make sure that the buttons click through to your own presence on the social media platforms:

MailChip  template social follow

Now continue to add sections to your template until you’re happy with how it looks.

How to save your MailChimp template

Once you’ve finished designing your template, hit Save and Exit in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen:

MailChimp template save

You will be prompted to give your template a name at this point. Make sure it’s clear and easy to identify – maybe you’re going to create one newsletter about the fairy pictures you paint and one about the steampunk watches you make, in which case you’d label them accordingly. Then hit Save.

MailChimp template save

Now we’re back in that Templates area, but now you’ve got your new template saved in the list (note that the Create Template button is still there for next time you want to create a new template).

MailChimp template list of templates

What are those other files? MailChimp handily autosaves your templates in the background as you’re going along, so you can pick up where you left off if everything goes wrong. You can see it saved at 4.09 and 4.12. These should disappear next time you go into the Templates area – if not, you can use Edit then delete to remove them.

How do I edit a MailChimp template?

If you want to edit your template, hit the Edit button to the right of the template name and you’ll be taken back into the Template Editor screen.

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In this article, we’ve learned how to set up a simple MailChimp newsletter template that you can choose when it’s time to send out your first newsletter. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts

MailChimp 3 – Creating a sign-up form

How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 4, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

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MailChimp 3 – setting a sign-up form for your newsletter subscriber list

Welcome to Lesson 3 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, and MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts, this time we’re going to learn how to create a sign-up form to allow people to consciously and willingly sign up to receive your email newsletter.

Remember, once you set up a subscriber list, there are two ways to populate it:

1. Import members from a previous mailing list (ensuring that you have their explicit permission to send them marketing communications)

2. Offer people a sign-up form via which they can choose to sign up for your newsletter.

I prefer Option 2, and we’re going to find out how to do that now.

How do access the MailChimp contacts list area?

As a quick reminder (full details are in this previous article), when you sign in to MailChimp, you will find Create a List on your front screen, but at any time, you can click on Lists at the top to get into the Lists area:

MailChimp lists area

Once you’re in the Lists area, if you have any lists set up, they will show here, and if you are going in to do this for the first time, you will see that You have no Lists, and be pointed to the Create List button:

MailChimp create list

Once there, you have an option to click on setup a signup form (or set up a sign-up form, even), so click there:

MailChimp sign-up form

You will now find a few options on forms to create – all of them are designed in the same basic way, but some can be embedded into your website. For now, we’re going to create a General Form which will come complete with its own URL to which you can direct people from social media, your website, etc. (see top right in the top of the sidebar for what that looks like in real life).

MailChimp create sign-up form

Once you’re in the Create Forms page, you can see at the top that you have a URL or web address. That will never change, and you can use that to direct people to your sign-up form. You can generate a QR code if you want to, by clicking on the button.

You can also see two options at the top: Let subscribers pick email format and Protect your signup form with reCAPCHA – I would recommend ticking both of these.

Let subscribers pick email format will give your subscribers the option to have emails delivered in plain text or HTML format. This means that if they’re using a slow Internet connection or don’t have much bandwidth, your newsletter will be sent to them in a text-only form, without the pretty pictures (this means you’ll need to make sure to add description and alt-text to any pictures in your newsletter), and just gives them more options.

Protect your signup form with reCAPTCHA means that subscribers will have to manually click and tick a box to prove that they’re a real person. It protects you from automated signing up bots filling in your form and giving you false subscriber numbers. It’s all very accessible and offers alternatives, so I’d go for it. It shows people signing up that you’re serious and are protecting your list, too.

MailChimp sign-up form

Once you’ve filled in those details, you can go on to creating your sign-up form: let’s scroll down to have a look:

MailChiimp basic sign-up form

Now, in fact, you can just go with this form, as a very basic example. The subscriber will be able to enter their email address, first and last name and click to Subscribe to list. Simple. So you can actually leave it there.

But you might want to add more flourishes, text and options to your sign-up form – if you do, read on; if you don’t, then skip to the “What does my form look like in real life?” section near to the end.

How can I add more fields and text to my MailChimp sign-up form?

We’ve created a basic sign-up form but you might want more.

For a start, see that space where you can Click to add a message at the top? Here you can personalise the form and be a bit more friendly. Once you click in the text box, a text editor will come up – you can add all sorts of things in here, including links, images, etc. (this is the same text editor you will use when you’re creating your actual newsletter).

I’ve just typed some straightforward text in here – once you’ve added what you want, hit the Save & Close button

MailChimp add text to sign-up form

You will be returned to your Build It area, and you can see that the text has now appeared in that top section.

To add more options, such as collecting birthday dates (great if you’re a restaurant and want to collect that info to send out a special birthday meal offer) or full address if people are also signing up to have an item sent to them. Here we’re going to look at Radio Buttons, which gives you the option to give your subscribers choices about things …

MailChimp add text to sign-up form

What things do you want your subscribers to choose, you may ask. Well, although we’re not going to go into the ins and outs of getting people to sign up for your newsletter right here and now, it is common to offer subscribers a little freebie in return for their joining your newsletter (which is really a favour to you). For example, I offer subscribers a free pdf of a sample chapter from one of my books (as you’ll see in the final screenshot in this article).

So, click on Radio Buttons and drag it across to between Last Name and Subscribe to List. There is is, in your sign-up form.

Now click on the field settings tab to personalise those choices:

MailChimp sign up form add fields

As you can see below, field settings allows you to give the radio buttons a name and to add text to those buttons, add and remove them, and generally personalise everything. Here I’ve  …

  • added help text to appear when the subscriber hovers over the buttons
  • added two choices as to whether they want to receive something
  • clicked on the minus button by the third choice, because I only want to offer two

MailChimp add fields to sign-up form

As you do this and press Save Field, there you can see just two choices, each with my text by it.

MailChimp add fields to sign-up form

You can see plus and minus buttons under this area – this allows you to delete it if you decide not to have it (note, when you press the minus, MailChimp demands that you type the word DELETE in a box – make sure you do that or you’ll get stuck in a loop of endless error messages. It’s trying to help you not to delete your careful design by mistake …).

And there we have it – it’s fine to play around a bit with the form, you can see how to drag different fields across and then delete them if you want to, so have a play around with it.

How do I get back to my MailChimp sign-up form to check the URL or edit it?

If you want to return to your sign-up form, choose Lists from the top menu, then click the drop-down arrow next to Stats and click on Signup forms:

MailChimp edit sign-up form

Once there, you can check your URL and amend your form if you want to.

What does my MailChimp sign-up form look like in real life?

You’ve created your form – what does it look like to a new subscriber? Remember that URL at the top of the page? You can find that at any time by going to the signup forms page (see above section). Pop the URL in your browser address bar and you can see what your subscribers will see:

MailChimp sign-up form subscriber view

You can see the message we added and the options for receiving a free copy of something, receiving the newsletter in Text format, and a reCAPTCHA section which asks for a tick in a box, and a Subscribe to list button.

And what happens when you get a new subscriber?

You will receive an email in your inbox which includes all of the information you asked for – this is one of my own, so the question is a little different, but you get the idea. Now I can email that person their sample chapter and they will receive my email newsletter until they unsubscribe.

MailChimp new subscriber email

In this article, we’ve learned how to access the Lists part of MailChimp and set up a sign-up form. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 2 – Setting up your list and importing contacts

MailChimp 4 – setting up your newsletter template

How to avoid two common mistakes when using MailChimp

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 19, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

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MailChimp 2 – setting up your list and importing contacts

Welcome to Lesson 2 in my MailChimp series. Following on from MailChimp 1 – Signing up, this time we’re going to learn how to set up the list of people to send your newsletter to.

There are two ways to populate your list:

1. Import members from a previous mailing list (making sure that you have their explicit approval and permission to send out marketing materials to them)

2. Offer people a sign-up form via which they can choose to sign up for your newsletter.

I prefer Option 2, but I’m going to go through option 1 with you in this article then write about setting up a sign-up form next time (if you’re reading this day by day, you will only have to wait two days, don’t worry!).

Why do I need to create a list in my MailChimp account?

Put simply, you need to give MailChimp a list of people to send your newsletters to. It’s as simple as that, and is the second stage in signing up for an account.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an email list to import – you can start off with an empty “list” and a sign-up form that will fill it for you.

How do I create my MailChimp contacts list?

When you sign in to MailChimp, you will find Create a List on your front screen, but at any time, you can click on Lists at the top to get into the Lists area:

MailChimp lists area

Once you’re in the Lists area, if you have any lists set up, they will show here, and if you are going in to do this for the first time, you will see that You have no Lists, and be handily pointed to the Create List button:

MailChimp create list

Once you’ve pressed Create List, you will find yourself in a screen that allows you to create a list. Note here that you can create more than one list, for example, maybe one for customer newsletters and one for general or prospect ones, or I might create one for my social media tips readers and one about my books. For now, we’ll just create one called “My Company Newsletter”.

You can fill in the list title and your email address to show in the “from” section of your readers’ email clients, and you will want to pop a name in to show who it comes from – I always advise using a real, human name, not just a company name.

Remind people how they got on your list gives you a place in which to reassure people that they have signed up for this newsletter and they are not being spammed (you’ll see that I’ve filled this in on the final screenshot – it won’t let you proceed if you don’t).

MailChimp list details

Then we reach the Contact information area. MailChimp is gratifyingly careful to stop you spamming, and this is an important area. If you click on Why is this necessary, you will see this explanatory screen all about spam laws:

4 why they need address

Note here that I haven’t put in a home address, because this is an example, but you should include your full business address here. A disclaimer for anyone who’s on my own list – I haven’t got my exact, pinpointed address on here, because I work from home. But if you’re running a business with a business address, you should include your full address. MailChimp pulls this information from your sign-up information, so you can see there’s an Edit button to allow you to change this if you need to.

Scrolling down to the bottom of the screen. We have an opportunity here to choose how we see our sign-up notifications. I’ve ticked one-by-one because I want to be notified of sign-ups and unsubscribes as they happen, but as your list gets busier and more active, and especially if you don’t have an action you need to perform when someone signs up, you might want to go onto a daily summary.

MailChimp list details

Time to press the Save button – and now you’re returned to the List screen for your list “My Company Newsletter”, which now usefully tells you that you have no subscribers:

MailChimp list subscribers

You can see that under the You have no subscribers message there are two links to click: import subscribers or setup a signup form (or as I prefer to say it, set up a sign-up form). We’re going to learn how to import subscribers now, so we’ll click on that link:

MailChimp import subscribers

The Import Subscribers function allows you to import from a huge range of sources, including all sorts of programs that exist to capture subscriber lists. You can create a list in Excel or export a sub-section of your email list into a .csv or .txt file, or just connect to your email program.

I’m not going to go into detail on all of those options here, that’s something that’s separate from MailChimp (Google or YouTube is your friend if you want to know how to do these things) and I’m really advising newbies to create a sign-up form here. We’ll take a quick look at what happens when you import your email contacts, then next time we’ll do it the sign-up form way.

Here, I’m going to choose Import from Google Contacts:

MailChimp import subscribers

Note here the message from MailChimp – people who you add in this way are not going to receive confirmation emails that you’ve signed them up for your newsletter. When you use a sign-up form, they will receive a confirmation and an extra step to confirm they want to receive the newsletter, which is another reason I prefer that method.

MailChimp also warns you that you must already have permission from all people on your email list to send them newsletters. Do you have their explicit permission? If not, it’s best not to use this method.

9 import subscribers

You can see from the above screenshot that clicking on Authorize Connection will take you through to the service in question, in this case your Gmail, and will ask you to log in in order to populate the list. This will also happen if you click on any of the other buttons with service names on them (if you click on excel or .csv, it will just ask you to go and find the file). I didn’t go through with this because I didn’t want to import people who hadn’t given permission into MailChimp, but it will walk you through the steps to import the contacts and end up with a list.

What you really want to do is create a sign-up form, right? If you’re reading this when it’s published, you’ll need to wait two days for that (if you’re a new visitor, do add this blog to your RSS reader or click for email subscriptions). If you’re reading this after 19 February, you’ll be able to click here to find out how to create a sign-up form.

So, in this article, we’ve learned how to access the Lists part of MailChimp and how to import contacts. The other MailChimp articles will be listed below as I add them to the blog. You can find a growing set of articles on blogging, social media MailChimp etc. in my resource guide. Do click on the share buttons below or comment if you found this article interesting or useful!

Other relevant posts on this blog:

MailChimp 1 – Signing up

MailChimp 3 – setting up a sign-up form

MailChimp 4 – setting up your newsletter template

How to avoid two common MailChimp errors

 
3 Comments

Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Business, Marketing, New skills, Newsletters

 

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How do I insert clip art in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 and other Microsoft Office applications?

I have to admit to being a little surprised when I was asked to post about clip art. I hadn’t used it for years, and I was taken back to the old days, when you used to buy a computer magazine with a free floppy disk full of clip art pictures …

However, the very useful point about clip art is that it’s copyright free and so simple to use: you can pop a MS Office clip art image into your presentation or document and know that you’ve not stolen someone’s work of art (although there are copyright rules about using them in commercial publications).

They’re also not as ‘cartoony’ as they used to be, including photographs as well as drawings, and there are some really good images: I found this great one when I searched for “editor”, for example!

clip art of editor holding book

From MS Word Clip Art

This article applies to Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Examples are taken from Word, but the process works in the same way in all applications.

Of course, choosing and inserting your clip art varies between Word (Excel and PowerPoint) 2007/2010 and Word (Excel and PowerPoint) 2013, so if you want the latter, please scroll down a bit to the relevant heading!

How do I use clip art in Word 2007 and Word 2010 and other Microsoft Office software?

Clip art is found in the Insert tab, in the Illustrations area (this is an image from Word 2010; the button in Word 2007 has a slightly different, but recognisable, icon and is in the same place):

Word 2010 insert clip art

Making sure that your cursor is at the point where you want the clip art image to appear, click the Clip Art button:

word choosing clip art

A clip art search area will appear in the right-hand margin. It’s pretty simple: you can enter a search term, and you can also choose which kind of media you are searching for (useful for PowerPoint presentations, for example, or if you only want photographs to illustrate your document):

Word clip art choose format

Leaving this on all media, let’s search for “teapot” – pop the word in the search box and click the Go button:

Word clip art search

You should then see a grid of clip art images:

clip art search results

Stop press – you might only find you have the option to search online now – as Microsoft have withdrawn the copyright-free clip art they had offered for so many years. I believe that if you have a standalone version of Word that doesn’t receive updates, the clip art will stay, otherwise you’ll just now have an option to search Bing. Very annoying!

clip art find more

Anyway, back to our 57 teapots (which is surely enough for anyone!). When you’ve found an image you want to insert, double-click on it and it will move into your document:

clip art insert image

You will also notice here that the image is selected and can be enlarged and reduced using the little blocks around the image outline. It can also be moved, if you hover inside the box until an arrow appears.

For more on placing images in text, please see this article.

How do I use clip art in Word 2013 and other Microsoft Office software?

For Office 2013, Microsoft went all online-based, and as a result, the way in which you access clip art changed. Note that these instructions work for both the standalone version of Word 2013 (and other software) if you bought it once, and the subscription version through Office 365 which downloads updates periodically.

You access clip art from the same menu, on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations area, but it’s now called Online Pictures:

clip art office 2013

Making sure your cursor is in the place where you want your picture to be, click on Online Pictures:

Word 2013 clip art search

You now have the option to search royalty-free illustrations on the office.com clip art website or do a Bing Image search for general images.

Note Unless you have a completely standalone and isolated version of Word 2013, you will not now have the option to use clip art based within Word itself – you will probably just see Bing search. If you don’t get updates on your version of Word, it’s likely you will still have them, because Word can’t update itself to make them go away. Grrr, frankly.

Because I’m not logged in at the moment, I have the option to sign in with my Microsoft office account. If you are logged in, or do subsequently log in, you will get these additional options – OneDrive, Facebook and Flickr:

Word 2013 image search options if logged in(thanks to Laura Ripper for this screen shot)

To search in clip art, enter the search term “teapot” into the first text box and click on the magnifying glass icon:

Word 2013 clip art search

This will bring up the same results as for Word 2007 and 2010 (interestingly, you can’t differentiate at this stage between different kinds of file to insert, as you can with earlier versions):

Word 2013 clip art resultsDouble-click on the image you want to insert, or single click and click on the Insert button

Word 2013 clip art inserted

Note that in Word 2013, not only do you get the frame which allows you to change the image size, but the Layout Options dialogue box also pops out, allowing you to choose where the image sits in any text you might have.

For more on placing images in text, please see this article.

Related posts on this blog

How do I make pictures go where I want them to in Word?

How do I stop the pictures jumping around when I edit a Word document?

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This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. If you’ve enjoyed the post or found it useful, please use the sharing buttons below to share it via your social media networks – thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013 and other Office software for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Find all the short cuts here … and see the full resource guide here.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

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How do I hide the toolbars and taskbars in Word 2007, 2010 and 2013 and other MS Office applications?

In this article we’re going to learn how to (temporarily) hide the toolbars, taskbars, rulers and whatnot in Word.  Note that these processes will also work for other Microsoft Office applications such as Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

Why would I want to hide the taskbars in Word?

There are various reasons why you might want to have just a blank white screen in front of you when using Word. If you’re trying to write, write, write, you might want to remove all distractions. If you’re displaying Word on a large screen using a projector, there are many reasons why a plain screen with no additional information might be useful.

In fact, the second reason, wishing to display just some text and images via an overhead projector, is why I was asked to write this article in the first place.

How to hide taskbars and toolbars in Word

This works for Word 2007, 2010 and 2013: I’ve used Word 2010 in the example because it’s what I use most of the time, but the principles remain the same.

How to minimise the ribbon in Word

You might just want to minimise the ribbon. If this is the case, first right-click anywhere on the actual ribbon, then select Minimize the Ribbon from the menu that displays:

Word minimise ribbon

How do I reverse minimize ribbon?

To reverse the minimize ribbon action, you can either …

1. Right-click anywhere on the small ribbon headings that will appear and click again on Minimize the Ribbon: the tick will disappear and the ribbon will reappear:

un-minimize ribbon2. Click on the small down arrow that appears at the top right of the screen when the ribbon is minimised:

reverse ribbon minimise

How do I remove wording and symbols from the lower task bar

If you’re fed up of seeing your word count or document language in the lower task bar, you can right-click on the taskbar, at which point a list of all items you can display pops up, and you can untick the ones you don’t want:

remove items from lower task bar

You will see the displayed items at the bottom start to disappear until you’re left with just one:

remove from lower task bar

How do I reverse clearing the lower task bar?

To add items back on to the task bar, right-click on the taskbar and click on the features you want to see – the tick will reappear next to the items you select, and the information will display in the lower task bar.

How do I hide the rulers?

For instructions on hiding the rulers in Word, please see this article.

How do I hide all of the toolbars in Word and other Office applications?

If you want to go further and just have a blank screen, you can use the shortcut Alt+V, U

Note that you must follow this process to do this:

  • Press down the Alt key and keep it pressed down
  • Press the V key and release it (keeping Alt pressed down)
  • Press the U key and release it (you can then release the Alt key)

Pressing both letters together does not have the same effect. Once you’ve pressed this key combination, you will have just the document, no toolbars, taskbars, menus, etc. However, you are still likely to have the Windows taskbar showing.

Just a document, no toolbars

So you’re not quite there, but first …

How do I reverse Alt+VU?

The first time I did this, I got a bit panicky because I assumed that you needed to press AltVU again to get back to the menus, but that’s not what you do.

To reverse Alt+VU and get back to seeing your taskbars, hit the Escape key on your keyboard. Phew!

How do I hide the Windows taskbar?

You’ve got your lovely clean document showing but you want to get rid of that Windows taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Here’s what you do:

First, unlock the taskbar (if it is locked) by right-clicking on the lower task bar and seeing if Lock the taskbar is ticked. If it is, click on it to untick it.

unlock task bar windows

This dialogue box will disappear, so right-click on the taskbar again and this time choose Properties:

Windows taskbar properties

This will give you a new dialogue box:

Windows taskbar properties

Making sure that you’re in the Taskbar tab, click on the tickbox to Auto-hide thie taskbar.

The taskbar will now disappear, leaving you with a lovely clear screen containing only your document.

How do I reverse hiding the Windows taskbar?

To show the Windows taskbar, move the mouse to the bottom of the screen (assuming your Windows task bar is usually there), at which point it should appear. Then right-click at the bottom of the screen and select Properties, then untick Auto-hide the taskbar.

———————

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. If you’ve enjoyed the post or found it useful, please use the sharing buttons below to share it via your social media networks – thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007, Word 2010 and Word 2013 for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Other useful posts on this blog

How to display and hide rulers in Word

How to add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Find all the short cuts here … and see the full resource guide here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

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How to use spell check in Word 2007 and Word 2010

In this article we’re going to talk about using the spell checker function in Word, including how to find it, how to use it, and when not to believe it. This article works with Word 2007 and Word 2010 – screen shots are taken from Word 2010. I have written about Word 2013 separately as it’s a bit different.

What is Spell Check?

Spell check is a function in Word that will check both the spelling and appropriate word use in your document. It’s not perfect, but it will pick up all sorts of errors and typos that you might not realise you’ve made.

Spell Check will go through your document and highlight any words that it thinks are spelled incorrectly. If it can, it will offer alternative spellings for you to choose from. You can then choose to change the word to one of its suggestions, change all instances of that word to the suggestion, or ignore the “error” once or always.

We usually run a spell check after writing a document, although you can ask Word to check spellings as you go along (I personally find this distracting). It’s worth running it even if you think your writing is perfect and you’ve read through the document finding no mistakes – there’s always something, and that’s why, even though I’m an editor, I use spell check on my own posts and as a final check on documents I’ve edited, and why I have an editor for my books!

How do I start Spell Check?

We run Spell Check from the Review tab in Word:

How to start spell check

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the same icon in the Quick Access Toolbar at the very top of the document. I’ve added the Spell Check button there because I use it a lot. If you want to learn how to add buttons to the QAT, read this article.

With your cursor at the beginning of the document, click on the Spelling and Grammar button. Word will highlight each word that it thinks is incorrect, starting with the first one:

spell check in action

Here, I started at the beginning of the text, but you’ll notice that it’s missed out “peace of txt” even though that is clearly wrong. We’ll look at that in a minute, but let’s concentrate on what happens when it gets it right.

What options does Spell Check give you?

Spell Check has highlighted “misteaks” and you can see in the Suggestions box below that it’s suggested the closest word first, then a few other options. “Mistakes” is highlighted, but if I did mean “mistake” or “mistreats”, I can click on one of those.

To the right, we have some buttons – Ignore Once / Ignore All / Add to Dictionary are to be used when we know what we typed is correct and we want to keep it; Change / Change All / AutoCorrect will allow us to make that change:

  • Ignore Once will ignore just that instance of the word in question
  • Ignore All will ignore that exact word throughout the rest of the piece
  • Add to Dictionary will add that exact word to the Spell Check dictionary so it will never ask you ever again if you’ve miss-spelled it. I have used this for my name in the past, which is why this Spell Check process won’t pick up “Broomfield” or “Dexter”, and I also add in commonly used technical terms and jargon that comes up a lot in the texts I work with.
  • Change will change just that instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”. Any other examples will stay as they are
  • Change All will change every instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”.
  • AutoCorrect brings up the AutoCorrect screen (see this article for more on AutoCorrect) which allows you to set up an automatic correction for the future, so whenever you type “misteaks” it will change to “mistakes”. This is really useful if you notice that you’re mistyping a word regularly.

I’m going to click on Change All, and this will automatically change all examples of “misteaks” to “mistakes” in the text. Note, however, that it will not change “misteak” – it only looks for the exact same word. This includes capital letters, so it will now flag up “Misteaks” as a new error and make some new suggestions, the second of which is the correct one. I do tend to click on Change All, so that I save time and mouse clicks correcting the same form of the same word over and over again.

Now, let’s see what else Spell Check will look at.

It will notice if you’ve missed out an apostrophe, even if the word “wont” is a word in itself:

spell check apostrophe

And it will check incorrect punctuation, too:

spell check punctuation

Finally. you can ask Spell Check to check your grammar, too. Here, it’s picked up that I started a sentence with a lower-case letter:

spell check grammar check

There’s a caveat here, though: I find the grammar checker to be quite rigid and a bit odd. The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that I have Check grammar ticked in the above image but not in the others – this is because I tend to turn off the grammar checker when I’m working on my own texts and other people’s. It’s up to you whether you do that, and instructions for tweaking the Spell Checker will appear in a later article.

What if I change my mind or make a mistake?

If you make a misteak, oops, sorry, mistake when you’re changing words in Spell Check, there’s a handy button that will take you back.

Here, I’ve clicked on the first suggestion for “Misteaks” which was “MI steaks”. Oops. I only see it when I’ve already hit Change All. But I can click the Undo button to take me back to that set of choices, and you can click the Undo button more than once.

undo spell check

Having pressed Undo, we’re back to looking at “Misteaks” instead:

spell check undone

Does Spell Check ever get it wrong?

In our example, Spell Check has missed the obviously incorrect phrase “peace of txt”:

spell check in action

It does sometimes notice when you use an incorrect but valid word (i.e. it is actually a word in itself), but not always. I’m guessing that it’s ignored “txt” because that’s a file extension (like .doc) which is used when saving documents. So Spell Check hasn’t picked that up, and you or your editor will have to notice it yourselves!

It also uses rules which don’t match standard common usage. Right up until Word 2013, it thinks that proofreader is two words, hyphenated:

Spell check getting it wrong

This makes it quite embarrassing when I’m checking a client’s acknowledgements, they thank me for proofreading, and then have spell-checked their work, so I have to change it back to proofreading.

Word is also not keen on swear words, and can give amusing alternatives if you try that …

Help – my Spell Check’s making everything go into American English!

Your Spell Checker will work with whatever variety of English (or any other language) that your text is set to. So if you have your text set to be in American English, that’s the language your Spell Check will use. Learn how to change the language of your document and your editing language  – and watch out, as your comment boxes might appear in another language, too, which will upset your Spell Checker – use this article to make sure your comment language matches the rest of the document.

Can I use spell check in other applications as well as Word?

Many applications have spell check functions. For example, the WordPress editor that I’m using to write this has a spell check button. so does my MailChimp newsletter editor, my email editor and Excel and PowerPoint. Wherever you see a button like this, you should find a spell check option:

spell check icon

In this article we’ve looked at what Spell Check is, how to access it, how to ignore and change words, and some things to watch out for. In future articles I’ll be sharing how to tweak your Spell Check settings, how to tell Spell Check NOT to look at particular text, and when to use Spell Check when you’re working with an editor. Oh, and there will be a parallel post on Spell Check in Word 2013, too!

———————

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. If you’ve enjoyed the post or found it useful, please use the sharing buttons below to share it via your social media networks – thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007 and Word 2010 for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Other useful posts on this blog

Using Spell Check in Word 2013

How to change the language of your Word document

How to change your editing language

How to change the language of your comment boxes

How to use AutoCorrect

How to add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Find all the short cuts here … and see the full resource guide here.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How to use spell check in Word 2013

Because Spell Check looks different in Word 2013, here is a special article just on that version of Word. It should be read alongside the more detailed post on Spell Check for Word 2007 and Word 2010 which you can find here.

What is Spell Check?

Spell Check in Word checks  the spelling and grammar in your document, highlighting any words that it thinks are spelled incorrectly and offering alternatives.

It’s always worth using Spell Check, even if you’re an accomplished writer or feel you can edit your own work – we all make mistakes, and this will catch many of them.

How do I start Spell Check?

We run Spell Check from the Review tab in Word:

Word 2013 spell check

Note: I’ve added the Spell Check button there because I use it a lot. If you want to learn how to add buttons to the QAT, read this article.

With your cursor at the beginning of the document, click on the Spelling and Grammar button. Word will highlight each word that it thinks is incorrect, starting with the first one:

Word 2013 spell check

Here, I started at the beginning of the text, but you’ll notice that it’s missed out “peace of txt” – see more detail in the main article on this.

What options does Spell Check give you?

  • Ignore Once ignores that instance of the word in question
  • Ignore All ignores that exact word throughout the rest of the piece
  • If you own a copy of Word 2013 outright or have a subscription and are logged in, Add to Dictionary will add that exact word to the Spell Check dictionary so it will never ask you ever again if you’ve miss-spelled it. I have used this for my name in the past, which is why this Spell Check process won’t pick up “Broomfield” or “Dexter”, and I also add in commonly used technical terms and jargon that comes up a lot in the texts I work with.
  • Change changes that instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”. Any other examples will stay as they are
  • Change All changes every instance of “misteaks” to “mistakes”.
  • If you own a copy of Word 2013 outright or have a subscription and are logged into your Microsoft Office account, AutoCorrect is available and brings up the AutoCorrect screen (see this article for more on AutoCorrect) which allows you to set up an automatic correction for the future, so whenever you type “misteaks” it will change to “mistakes”. This is really useful if you notice that you’re mistyping a word regularly.

Grammar check in Word 2013

Grammar check not only highlights where you’ve gone wrong, but gives you a little lesson in the Spell Check panel, too:

Word 2013 spell check grammar check

I find the grammar checker to be quite rigid and a bit odd. It’s up to you whether you allow grammar checking, and instructions for tweaking the Spell Checker will appear in a later article.

What if I change my mind or make a mistake?

In Word 2007 and 2010 there was a handy button in the Spell Check dialogue box that allowed you to undo previous changes. This has gone in Word 2013, so if you realise you’ve made a mistake, you will need to use the Undo button (or press Control-Z) to go back to correct your mistake.

Does Spell Check ever get it wrong?

In short – yes. See the main article for more explanation and examples.

Help – my Spell Check’s making everything go into American English!

Your Spell Checker will work with whatever variety of English (or any other language) that your text is set to. So if you have your text set to be in American English, that’s the language your Spell Check will use. Learn how to change the language of your document and your editing language  – and watch out, as your comment boxes might appear in another language, too, which will upset your Spell Checker – use this article to make sure your comment language matches the rest of the document.

Can I use spell check in other applications ?

Wherever you see a button like this, you should find a spell check option:

spell check icon

In this article we’ve looked at Spell Check in Word 2013 and how it differs from previous versions. In future articles I’ll be sharing how to tweak your Spell Check settings, how to tell Spell Check NOT to look at particular text, and when to use Spell Check when you’re working with an editor. Oh, and there will be a parallel post on Spell Check in Word 2013, too!

———————

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents. If you’ve enjoyed the post or found it useful, please use the sharing buttons below to share it via your social media networks – thank you!

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2007 and Word 2010 for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Other useful posts on this blog

Spell Check in Word 2007 and Word 2010

How to change the language of your Word document

How to change your editing language

How to change the language of your comment boxes

How to use AutoCorrect

How to add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar

Find all the short cuts here … and see the full resource guide here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 15, 2014 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
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