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June 20th~
Hook Your Readers with Effective World-Building
Speaker: Bria Burton

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ask Sam: What does the pin do?

Today's question is about the Word 2007 Recent Documents list:
What is the thumbtack for next to each document in the "Recent Documents" list? I click it but it doesn't keep my documents where I want them.
In Word 2003, the recent file list under the File menu defaulted to four entries; you could set it to a maximum of nine. Every time you opened a file, Word placed it at the top of the list. When the list exceeded its capacity, each new file would bump the last file from the list. Word 2007 introduced a longer "Recent Documents" list (default of 20, max 50) and the pin, which keeps selected documents from falling off the list.

But that's all it does. If you have ten documents in the list, and you pin the second one, it doesn't stay at number two forever. The next time you open it, it moves to the top of the list, just like it always has. If you open a dozen documents, those documents will be listed before the pinned file. However, if you open more documents than will fit on the list, pinned documents won't be removed.

I'd expect that when I pin a document in place, it stays where I pinned it. But the pin is still a handy tool that keeps you from having to hunt too hard to find documents you work with on a regular basis.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ask Sam: How can I get rid of manual page breaks?

I had a great time attending Sleuthfest 2010, and I've written about the experience on my blog. But now I'm back to answer this week's question:
Sometimes when I type fast, Word breaks the page at weird places. How do I stop that from happening?
Most likely, you are accidentally pressing the Ctrl key when you hit Enter. That inserts a manual page break into the document. There's no way to stop that from happening other than to not press Ctrl. Your best bet is to not worry about manual breaks until you finish your manuscript, and then wipe them all out at once by following these easy steps:
  1. Press Ctrl + H. The Find and Replace dialog appears.
  2. Enter ^m as the "Find what" text. (Word 2007 users need to enter ^p^m because Word 2007 inserts an extra paragraph marker when you insert a manual page break.)
  3. Leave "Replace with" blank.
  4. Click Replace All.Word removes all of your manual page breaks.
Another common typing error is to hold the shift key down while pressing Enter, resulting in manual line breaks. To convert them to normal paragraphs, follow the same steps as above, but use ^l as the "Find with" value (Word 2003 and Word 2007).

Got a question about using Windows or Word? Send e-mail to stfalco AT