Category Archives: tutorials

The Ribbon In Word 2013

All the functions and commands that you could possibly want to use on your document can be found in the ribbon. The ribbon is the collection of commands, groups and tabs that you can see organised across the top of the workspace. Commands that perform similar operations are grouped together in groups and similar groups appear on the same tab. The ribbon was introduced in Word 2007, and replaced the old style menu and toolbar system found in previous versions of Word. Many Word users resented the replacement of the old File > Menu system and thought that the ribbon might disappear quietly. That didn’t happen, though.

Let’s have a closer look at the ribbon now.

Here are the tabs.

Word 2013 The Ribbon

Highlighted above are the Home tab (1), Insert tab (2) and Design tab (3), but you can see that there are more tabs available to cater to other like-grouped functions. Within each tab are groups. Here is the Table of Contents group, Footnotes group and so on.

Groups In Tabs

And within each group are the commands. So, highlighted above you can see the Tables and Illustrations groups, within the Insert tab.

Let’s have a go at using a command in the ribbon right now – join in at home if you want. First of all, let’s get some random text.

Note: to get random text, type in =rand(5, 5) and press Enter. This will generate 5 paragraphs of 5 lines each.

Now let’s select a couple of words (1), go to the Home tab, and make that text bold by clicking on the bold button (2).

Make Bold

Some groups have dialog launchers which, when clicked, open up a new dialog containing more commands. These dialog launchers are usually found in the bottom right hand corner, so let’s just click the dialog launcher for the paragraph group. Now we can see more commands related to fonts in the Paragraph window.

Dialog Launcher

Let’s close this down by clicking on the “X” in the top right of the window..

The ribbon can also contain contextual tabs, which pop up when you’ve selected certain elements in your document.

To demonstrate, let’s insert an image. I’ll place the cursor at the end of a paragraph and press Enter to make some room for the image and then go to the Insert tab, click on Pictures, double click on the “Happy Penguins” here, and notice the Picture Tools tab has appeared in the ribbon because we have the picture selected.

Contextual Tabs

If we click anywhere else in the document to deselect the image, the Picture Tools tab disappears, and then reappears again when we reselect the image.

Generate Lorem Ipsum Text In Word

If you have read how to create random text in Word, then you will already be familiar with the process of generating lorem ipsum text. Instead of using =rand(), you will use =lorem(). Type in


… and press Enter to generate five paragraphs of random lorem ipsum text. If five paragraphs aren’t enough for you, you can use something like this:


to generate 10 paragraphs. You can even control the number of sentences each paragraph contains with commands like this:

=lorem(20, 5)

The above will generate 20 paragraphs of lorem ipsum text, each of which contains five sentences.


What Is Lorem Ipsum Text?

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text. Lorem Ipsum has been the printing and typesetting industry’s standard dummy text ever since the 16th century, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type sample book. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing Lorem Ipsum passages. Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Its use infiltrates every discipline where the inclusion of dummy text is useful – like web design. An empty web page doesn’t test a design, so coders will generate dummy content using lorem ipsum text.

The advantage of using lorem ipsum text instead of random text in the native language of the reader is that the latin text is likely to distract the reader from the content’s layout. It’s more or less normal distribution of letters gives the illusion of readable English.

Create Random Text In Word

Sometimes it’s useful to populate your document with some random text to get an idea of how it looks. Typing out paragraphs of text yourself would be a pain, but thankfully there is a tool that creates random text for you. You can create as much or as little random text as you want with


Type the above in, press Enter and Word will create five paragraphs of random text. It’s not actually random; it’s take from Microsoft Word’s help files. You can control how much random text gets created by typing in something like:


… and pressing Enter. This will create 10 paragraphs of random text. You can easily generate enough random text for any document you might have.

You can even control how many sentences are in each paragraph like this:

=rand(20, 2)

… which creates 20 paragraphs, each paragraph containing two sentences.

Add Page Numbers In Word 2013

Adding page numbers to your Word 2013 document is one of the more common tasks you are likely to perform. Thankfully, adding them is a doddle and there is room for a little customisation too.

The Typical Page Number

The usual place for a page number to appear is at the bottom of your document, beneath the content. You can get such a page number by going to the Insert tab > Page Number (in the Header and Footer group) > Bottom of Page, and then select from the gallery. The gallery is actually quite large and offers different positions and styles of page numbers.

Insert Page Numbers

Click to enlarge

When you select the style you want, the page number will appear on every page of your document, incrementing automatically from one page to the next. The footer area (if that is where you chose to put the page number) remains open for you to make adjustments; you can style the number differently, add more text, even add a picture etc. To close down the footer area, double click in the main document.

If you decide to change the footer, double click in the footer area to open it up for editing and make your changes.

Customised Page Numbers

Regardless of how avant garde you are, your page numbers are going to appear in either the header or the footer of the document. Even though we are avant garde ourselves, we are going to choose the footer for our page numbers, for illustrative purposes. The process for adding page numbers to the document header is very similar.

Double click in the footer area to open it up for editing.

Footer Area

At this point we can add absolutely anything we want, including text, images, SmartArt, tables, etc. Anything you can add to the main area of your document, you can add to the footer. But we are interested in adding page numbers so try and stay focused.

We need a number, but not just any number. If you type in a number, for example “1”, that will work perfectly for page 1 – but no other page. We need to add a system variable. We need to add what Word 2013 knows as a Page Number. So, make sure you are on the Insert tab and click on Quick Parts (in the Text group) > Field, type in “page” to position the list and select “page”. Click OK.

Page Field

Now the page number appears on every page, and its value is correct. We can select this number and style it as we wish. For example, we could change the font size and text alignment very easily. All the styling features we have in the main document are at our disposal. Really. Go ahead and colour the page number red. Go on.

Headers And Footers In Word 2013

A header appears at the top of each page of a Word document, and a footer appears at the bottom of every page. They both lie outside the main editing area of a document and you can’t amend them simply by accident. You have to take a very deliberate action to insert or change them.

Headers typically contain information like the title of your document or the company you work for, whereas footers often contain page numbers. It’s up to you what you put there though.

Adding Headers And Footers To A Document

If you want to quickly add or amend a header, double click in the header area. This area is above the main editing area of the document:

Double Click Header

It’s pretty obvious once the header is open for editing because the main content of the document goes a little transparent, it becomes protected, and you can start typing out your header. You can style the content in the header, just like the rest of the document, and you can insert images, etc.

Header Area

To close down the header and return to the document, double click anywhere outside the header.

The same process is used to edit the footer: double click in the footer area, add some text, images, etc, and then double click in the main document area.

Alternatively, you can use the ribbon to open up the header: go to the Insert tab and click Header in the Header & Footer group.

Ribbon Header

If you use this method, you can choose a pre-made header template to insert; on ethat is already styled for you. Just click on the one you want to insert. If you insert a header this way, you can still edit it by double clicking in the header area.

Whilst you are editing the header, you will notice the Header & Footer Tools tab appear in the ribbon. Here, you can control header related properties, like whether the first page of your document has a different header, whether odd pages have headers that are different to even pages etc. You can also clos the header by clicking on the big red “X” to the right of the tab.

Add Page Numbers To A Word Document

Adding page numbers to a Word document is a common task. You can add them quickly and easily by going to the Insert tab, then click on Page Number in the Header & Footer group.

Insert Page Numbers

Usually page numbers are displayed at the bottom of the document, but not always. Hover over the option that you need, and you will find an appropriate gallery of options from which to select.

Page Number Gallery

You can amend the footer added this way by double clicking in the footer area.

A common task to perform once you’ve added page numbers is to change their position. Open up the footer (or header, if that’s where you added them), place the cursor where the page number is and then select the text alignment option you need (Home tab > Paragraph group).

Text Alignment Options

Word Cannot Open This File Because It Is Larger Than 512 Megabytes

Actually the maximum size is limited to 32 MB for the total document text. This limit does not include graphics. A document that contains both text and graphics is limited to 512 Mb.

Do you know how hard it is to create a document that big though? We were trying to test Word 2013’s text only limits, so we “only” needed a document that totalled 32 Mb, but it took an age to create one. We went for the brute force approach of creating some random text with = rand(100, 10), then we copied that text and pasted it a bunch of times, copied that text and pasted that a bunch of times, etc. The laptop did complain! And at the 8,000 page mark, Word 2013 started to really slow down, too!

What we did run into, before the maximum size limit, was the maximum page limit that word imposes. We got the “You have exceeded the maximum number of pages supported by Microsoft Word” message. We had to give up at the 1.7Mb mark but we don’t know how many pages the document had because Word messed it up.

Anyway, onto the solution for opening a file that is larger than 512 Mb. Assuming that the vast majority of the document’s size is accounted for by graphics or other media, we have a way to separate out this hefty content. Rename the document to have a .zip extension. This doesn’t mean compress the document, it just means change the file extension. No compression is necessary. Then, in Windows Explorer, open the zip by double clicking on it, then open the Word folder. Inside the media folder you’ll find all the images etc. that were used in the document.

Media Folder

You can either delete these files if you don’t need them, or move them to a different location if you want to keep them. Next, rename the document’s file extension to .docx and you’ll be able to open the document in Word again. Whenever you get to a location in your document where an image used to be (before you deleted it), you will see a placeholder.

Image Placeholder

You can leave it as it is, select it and delete it, or replace it with another image. To replace it, select it and then on the Format tab in the Picture Tools tab, click Change Picture (in the Adjust group). Navigate to a new picture, or search for one, select it and click Insert.

Note that Word will take a long time to open up a large document. Don’t reach for ctrl + alt + delete just yet, though. Word provides a progress report and will open the large document eventually.

Opening A Large Document

Remove Bold From Numbered List

Not many people know that you can format the numbers or bullets in a list differently to the list items themselves. This means that you can have a list that looks like this, for example:

Differently Formatted Numbers

To format the numbers separately from the other text, select any of the numbers in the list. You will see all the numbers selected.

Select A Number

Then use the standard formatting commands to format the numbers.

You can also format just one number in the list, too. For this, you will need to select the carriage return at the end of the desired list item.

Select Paragraph Return

Format that, and you format the number. You can get something like this:

Formatted Number

This leads us on to the solution to the problem of removing the bold from a numbered list. To remove the bold from all the numbers in a list, just select one number in the list (as shown above) and press ctrl + b. Ctrl + b is the keyboard shortcut for adding and removing bold. To remove the bold from only one number in the list, select the paragraph return at the end of that list item (again, see above) and press ctrl + b.

Job’s a good ‘un.

All the above instructions apply to both numbered lists and bulleted lists.

Start Page Numbering On Page 2

Sometimes, you don’t want the first page to have a page number. The first page might be a cover page or have something on it like a table of contents. It’s common to have the page number suppressed on the first page and to have page numbering start on page 2.

If you have already added page numbering to your Word 2013 document, and you then add a cover page, the page numbering is automatically suppressed on the cover page and page numbering starts on page 2. This is what you want. But what if you are amending a document that has the cover page already numbered? You want to remove the page number from the cover page and have page numbers visible on all subsequent pages with page numbering starting at 2.

To do this, make the document’s footer editable by double clicking in the footer area. Go to the Design tab within Header & Footer Tools and make sure that Different First Page is checked.

Different First Page

Double click in the document away from the footer area to return to document editing mode and you should see that the page number from the first page (your cover page) has been removed, and all subsequent pages are numbered. If this didn’t work, it may be that the following has happened.

Beware: even with Different First Page checked, you can still add a page number to the first page by making footers editable (double click in the footer area), place the cursor in the footer area of the first page, go to the Design tab within Header & Footer Tools and click Page Numbers, and select a Bottom of Page layout.

First Page Footer

If you are editing a document where this has happened (Different First Page is checked but the first page is still numbered), then simply delete the page number from the first page.

Note that the above procedure still holds true if the page numbers are present in the header. In this case, just double click in the header area and start editing there.

Can’t Delete A Line In Word 2013

You have a horizontal line that you can’t delete in your document. How do you get rid of it? If we are working on a document created by someone else, we probably won’t know how the line was added. Even if we are working on a document created by ourselves, we may not remember how we created the line.

Get Rid

Here is a hint: borders.

If the line appears on a table, it could just be a simple case of changing the tables border attributes to get rid of the line (put your cursor in the table, go to the Table Tools > Design tab and click the Borders button).

If this pesky horizontal line is not on a table, then it may be a paragraph border. Paragraph borders can be quickly (and sometimes inadvertently) added by typing three or more hyphens and then pressing enter. The border is added to the preceding paragraph.

To remove the paragraph border, put your cursor in the paragraph and go to the Home tab > Paragraph group, and click on the Borders button. Select the No Border option (or any of the other border options that serve), and the horizontal line will be removed.

No Border

There is a keyboard shortcut for this: put your cursor in the paragraph with the border and then press ctrl + q.

Note: you can add different styles of paragraph border:

  • three or more hyphens (-) create a standard horizontal line
  • three or more underscores (_) create a bolder line
  • three or more equal signs (=) create a double line
  • three or more asterisks (*) create a dashed line
  • three or more tildes (~) create a wavy line
  • three or more hashes create a triple line

Add A Watermark To Word 2013

A watermark in Word 2013 can be a piece of text or an image. The watermark appears behind the main body of the document’s text so as not to obscure it. You might already have seen the ubiquitous “draft” or “confidential” watermarks that run diagonally across a document and identify the document’s status:


You can see watermarks in Print Layout view and Full Screen Reading view as well as in the printed document.

Let’s insert a text watermark into our Word document.

Go to the Design tab and click on Watermark (in the Page Background group on the right of the ribbon).

Watermark Command

You should see several readymade watermarks in the gallery: you can apply one to the document by clicking on its image. Surprisingly, there is no live preview here, so you really will have to click to apply and then undo to try another.

Watermark Gallery

If none of the pre-built watermarks suffice, then you can always search for more. Alternatively, you can add your own watermark using the Printed Watermark window. Click on Custom Watermark to get this window to appear.

Custom Watermark

The Printed Watermark window allows us to:

  • remove a watermark
  • add an image for a watermark
  • add a text watermark

Adding A Text Watermark

Let’s keep it simple for now and add a text watermark. Firstly, select Text watermark, and then select the language. Whichever language you choose, you will see a few commonly used phrases in the dropdown selector for Text. You can either choose something from this selector or just type your text in directly. You will probably want to keep everything else as the default, but you can actually change these details too:

  • font
  • size
  • colour
  • layout – whether the text appears diagonally or horizontally
  • transparency

Once you’ve made your choices, click on Apply to see the finished article and then click OK.

Adding An Image For A Watermark

Adding an image for a watermark is just as simple. Select Picture watermark in the watermark window and then use the Select Picture button to choose an image on our computer’s hard drive, a Clip Art image, or an image from Bing Image Search. Click Apply and then click OK.
I know what you’re wondering. “Does the watermark get applied to the current section, or the whole document?” The watermark gets applied to the whole document.

To remove a watermark, click on the Watermark command again and select Remove Watermark.