Ever since Word Perfect 5.1 for Dos went out of style, (yes I'm old, leave me alone), I've never really had the sense of editorial overlordnesship (yep, it's a new word), of my documents. Microsoft Word 2007/2010 just seemed to have all of these hidden secrets and booby traps that it felt like entering the world of Tomb Raider. Sure, there were online tutorials and forums to go to, but who has time for such things? Okay, I'll admit, I've been a bit lazy in the last few years, but recently, I had the advantageous opportunity to attend one of Karen McCall's classes. Who is Karen McCall you may well ask? Well, she's the equivalent to accessibility to what Lara Croft is in Tomb Raider. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but she knows her Microsoft Office stuff. She's an MVP for them, (Most Valued Professional), and she knows her screen reader and large print technology. You can find more about Karen McCall here.
Without further ado, let's go through creating an accessible document, complete with Table of Contents.
First off, let's open Word. It should be on your desktop. Press WINDOWS+M and then M until you Hear Microsoft Word x. Where X can be 2007 or 2010; or perhaps even 2003 for those who don't like to upgrade.
Alternatively, you could Press WINDOWS+R for the run command and type in "winword" (without the quotes), and press ENTER. In a few anxious seconds, you will find yourself on an empty Word document.
We're going to be creating a document with a Table of contents. Therefore, let's leave the first page blank. To do this, press CONTROL+ENTER. You should here your screen reader say, "page 2".
Now, for the fun stuff. Hold on, you weren't having fun yet?
Let's create a few headings. If you're creating a document with some intended purpose, you'll know what to write as headings. Otherwise, just make them up as a practice. Here are the steps in creating a heading via the keyboard.
Type your text and press ENTER.
Press CONTROL+UP ARROW to move up to the appropriate line. This also brings your cursor to the start of the line. This keystroke combination moves you by paragraph. Pressing CONTROL+DOWN ARROW will navigate down by paragraph,
Press SHIFT+END to select the whole line.
PRESS CONTROL+ALT+1 to create the heading.
Press ENTER and you're ready to write your content.
Congrats, you've created your first level 1 heading. Headings go from level 1, (biggest) to level 6, (smallest). So CONTROL+ALT+1 to CONTROL+ALT+6 will produce the different levels and sizes accordingly.
Most commonly used headings are level 1 for main headings, level 2 for sub headings and level 3 for sub-sub headings. I know, pretty technical jargon.
Typing in text
Now that you've created the heading, you can go ahead writing your document. If this is just practice, you can easily throw in randomly generated text into your document. Type the following on a blank line and press ENTER.
"=rand(5, 5)" (minus the quotes).
This will put in 5 slightly random paragraphs of 5 lines each. You could type in "=rand(2, 10)" (minus the quotes) in order to create 2 paragraphs with 10 lines each. For more information on the =rand command, you can visit this web page.
Now, let's force a new page, (see above for instructions), and let's drop in another heading level 1, again, covered above. Let's put in some more random text with the =rand command. This should become quite familiar to you now. Once you have a fair bit of material to work with, including a few headings, proceed to the next part in this oh so riveting blog entry of mine.
The Ribbon Quandary
I need to talk to you about those ribbons. No, not the ones that you find on that bouquet of flowers you awkwardly received at work and all your colleagues are wondering who sent them to you. These are the ribbons that have now replaced the menu bar in most Microsoft Office products. Fear not however. These ribbons are just as cuddly and cute as the old menu bars and they're just as easy to use.
Pressing ALT by itself will give you access to the ribbon.
You can navigate through the ribbon by pressing LEFT and RIGHT ARROWS.
If you escape from the ribbon and come back inyou will be brought to the last ribbon position.
Pressing TAB will navigate the ribbon sections. You can TAB through all of that section and it will bring you seamlessly to the next one.
That can be disorienting. I would suggest paying attention to the shortcut key sequences listed on the command that you use the most.
For example, I like to change the font to 14 point. To quickly get there, I would press: ALT+H, F, S. That's ALT+H for the home tab, F for font and S for size. Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Table of Contents
So, we've got a document with headings and some text. How do we get our Table of Contents created? Let's first go back to the top of the document. You can do this by pressing CONTROL+HOME. Incidentally, CONTROL+END will bring you to the bottom of the document, but I digress. Remember that blank page that we had added? Well, that's where we're going to drop our Table of Contents into.
By accessing the appropriate command in our ever friendly ribbon, you will have a snazzy looking Table of contents within seconds. You can find this command by pressing ALT+S, T, I and then ENTER.
Let me break this shortcut sequence down for you:
ALT+S brings up the References TAB from within the ribbon menu.
When followed by the letter T, this brings up the automatic tables list.
The letter I is to bring you to the "insert Table of Contents" options window. You have all sorts of bells and whistles, but we'll keep it simple for the sake of this blog entry.
Finally, pressing ENTER will create the Table of Contents at the cursor position.
Well, there you have it. Creating a Table of Contents in less than 1000 words. My English teacher would be proud.