METM23 Chronicles: Jenny Zonneveld

Interactive session on MS Word: your questions answered

Heading up a Saturday post-lunch session is not always easy, but Jenny Zonneveld’s interactive session on MS Word ensured everyone remained actively engaged.

Based on the premise that, as language professionals, most of us work on our own and don’t have access to productivity resources provided by employers, the session was structured as an open forum where queries regarding MS Word could be addressed and discussed. Ensuring there was both substance and spontaneity to the session, Jenny had invited conference delegates to submit queries in advance and the time was spent working through these.

The session kicked off with a discussion about ALT codes and whether it was possible to insert special characters using the numeric keys at the top of a laptop keyboard when there is no alphanumeric keyboard available. Although this is not possible, Jenny emphasized that special characters can be inserted via Insert / Symbol / More Symbols and then went on to discuss ALT codes in more depth, suggesting the following useful link:

The next question asked why the last line of a paragraph is often justified with the words spread across the whole line. Jenny explained this happens when there is a soft return in the text (Shift+Enter) and can be addressed by replacing the soft return with a hard one (Enter). A top tip is to check the document formatting by entering Control+Shift+8 and altering the type of return accordingly.

Moving on to a question about how the source language of a document could be changed to the target language for proofing purposes, Jenny showed us how an entire document (except text boxes and footnotes) could be selected using Control+A. Then, by clicking on the document language displayed at the bottom left of the screen, it is possible to change it to the target language.

A common issue raised by several people was how tables and images could be positioned in the surrounding text without “everything moving around”. The answer here is to be found in the Layout Options icon for an object (or via Page Layout / Wrap Text), which gives various alternatives for positioning objects within text. Jenny also suggested setting a default style by going to File / Options / Advanced / Cut, copy and paste / Insert/paste pictures as.

The next few queries asked for advice on converting PDF documents to Word. We were shown three ways of doing this: Adobe Acrobat, ABBYY FineReader and by opening the PDF document as a new document in MS Word. Jenny also recommended cleaning up the Word document formatting before putting the document into a CAT tool. Another question regarding unexplained blank spaces appearing in some forms in Word documents was addressed by explaining how paragraphs could be linked together.

With a quick aside on adding and removing footnotes (References / Insert Footnote), the final few minutes of the session were spent looking at Heading Styles and Tables of Contents. Jenny walked us through the ways of setting up and applying heading styles to text, and then explained how tables of contents were generated and updated.

The hour passed quickly and there was the distinct feeling that such an interactive session would be well suited to a three-hour workshop. Most people came away with some new tips and solutions for using MS Word and, although the main auditorium wasn’t the ideal venue for an informal, interactive session, Jenny quickly succeeded in creating a collaborative environment where questions and answers were easily exchanged. Jenny’s ability to keep cool and find answers to technical questions in real time in front of an audience was also much admired!

This METM23 session was chronicled by Helen Spottiswoode.

Featured photo by METM23 photographer Leonardo Rizzato.

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