After Hours

TechRepublic members tell how to make Word work for you

Even our routine training jobs need to add value to our students' experiences and make learning fun. These word processing training tips provide ways to do both.


When it comes to word processing, a little information goes a long way in saving time and frustration, for employees and for support staffs. Since we’re always looking for training tips, we were glad to receive the following suggestions from TechRepublic members.

Marie M. includes a lesson on Word’s “convert table to text” feature at the end of her Beginning Word classes to show students the importance of using tabs—not spaces—to align information in columns.

“Many new word processing users include lists in their documents using spaces or tabs to visually align data. They are frustrated when edits throw their columns out of order. A quick example where students type three lines of name, address, city, state, and zip code separated by tabs works well. It discourages manual formatting, stresses the importance of using alignment and paragraph features, and (hopefully) prevents improperly formatted documents that tech support must resolve.”

Jmlisser liked the AutoCorrect tip in Schoun Regan’s TechRepublic article, “Top the training charts with our word processing greatest hits .” This reader incorporated one of Schoun’s tips into the daily office routine:

“Our sales department uses AutoCorrect to type their initials and have their signature automatically added to documents. This way they can fax and/or e-mail the signed document right from their desktop. Works well!”

Turning routine exercises into fun
In this greatest hits column, Schoun explained how to make word processing applications fun to learn. For a “copy and move” exercise, he uses “Dilbertesque gibberish” to cut and paste into an unrelated document. In a Mad Libs-type approach, students learn to cut and paste this unrelated gibberish into a business-sounding phrase, turning a funny exercise into an effective learning tool.

In a lesson on tabs, Schoun has his students make several columns and insert fantasy ages, incomes, and jobs into the list, which is worth a few chuckles and adds a little fun to an otherwise routine exercise.

Schoun also makes a mail merge lesson humorous by listing celebrity names and making up street addresses, city names, and magazine titles to fit them.
Whatever your specialty, your training tips could certainly help your peers in presenting their classes. Write to Mary Ann with your suggestions.

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