Friday, 1 July 2011

A Simple Guide to Newsletters in Word

POWERwrite

Online, On Paper or Both?

Are people going to be reading your newsletter on a computer screen?  If so any web addresses should be hyperlinks i.e. the reader should be able to click on a link to be taken to the web address. If it is to be printed you may want the number of pages to be a multiple of four especially if it is to be professionally printed. One sheet of A3 can accommodate four A4 pages (this is the advantage of the ISO system of paper sizes over the ANSI standard used in North America).

Tick TOC

If you want to use a table of contents insert a TOC field. It will make life much easier for you. Why? because the table of contents is updated Automatically. By default the TOC entries will be based on the heading styles so make sure that you use the correct heading rather than arbitrarily changing the size and weight of the font to match a heading. The page number will be a hyperlink to the item and you can add the \h option to make the entire entry a hyperlink (this is the default in newer versions of Word).

As an alternative to mapping the TOC to headings you can set the \f option to use TC fields.  This means that you insert a TC field before any item that you wish to appear in the table of contents.

Add Your Own Style

You may wish to add a style for a particular purpose for example a byline style might use right-justified paragraphs and bold text to display the author of an item.

Columns

Columns can complicate the layout of your newsletter but you may prefer this style of presentation. Use section breaks to separate collimated parts of the newsletter from non-collimated parts.

At the Drop of a Cap

If you leaf through a magazine you will notice that the first paragraph of an article and possibly some of the other paragraphs start with a large capital letter. This is a dropped capital or "drop cap". In word you can format the first letter of a paragraph as a drop cap. Do not use it on every paragraph and especially avoid it on short paragraphs. You might want to use drop caps as a way to break an article into sections.

Pull Quote

That eye-catching quote in your magazine highlighted in large print is known as a pull quote. You can add a pull quote in Word by inserting a text box and choosing a large font style. Format the text box to allow text to flow around it.

Format Painter

If you incorporate a submitted article into a newsletter you can use the format painter to copy the paragraph style from elsewhere in the document. The format painter is a brush found on the home ribbon or standard toolbar.  Select a piece of formatted text and then click on format painter. Select the text to be formatted and when you release the mouse button the format is applied. If you want to apply the format to several places you can use a double click to activate the format painter. It then stays active until you press the escape key.

An alternative to format painter is to use Ctrl-Shift-C to copy the formatting and Ctrl-Shift-V to paste formatting to other places.

Take care with formatting paragraphs containing hyperlinks. The hyperlinks will still be active but will have the appearance of the surrounding text.


Compatibility Issues

Somebody’s just got a brand new shiny computer and suddenly you cannot swap files. What’s wrong? The chances are that the recipient is using an earlier version of Word. If you are the sender you can fix the problem by ensuring that you send files in Word 97-2003 document format (Instead of “Save” choose “Save As” from the file tab and find said format in the pull-down list for “Save as type”). If you are the recipient of a “docx” file and your version of Word can only load “doc” files, do not despair; you can download a compatibility pack from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/open-a-word-2007-document-in-an-earlier-version-of-word-HA010044473.aspx


Pictures

Insert your picture and experiment with the different formatting options until you are satisfied that it is presented the way you want it.

The Devil

… is in the detail so they say and the detail will depend on the version of Word you are using. Use what I have said above in conjunction with the help system to add a little sparkle to your newsletters.

Distinguished Communicator

Congratulations to Liz Duncan who has joined the elite band of POWERtalk International Distinguished Communicators (DCs). In order to complete Level 5 - the highest on the Accreditation programme - Liz had to pass an oral examination. This she did at the Great Britain Region Conference. There are only 40 DCs worldwide and Liz's award is a well-deserved recognition of the quality of her communication skills. It's also a mark of her diligence and dedication. Well done Liz!