The first few weeks of college can be a daunting experience. You have a whole new place to learn and there seem to be mazes of corridors everywhere; classes are bigger and you have to meet new people, some of whom you’ll have to work with and be dependent on for a good grade; and the days can be much longer than they were in school.
Just when you get your head around all that, you get landed with your first assignment. Suddenly, you have to worry about researching, referencing, and coming up with thousands of words. And this may be the first time you’ve used a computer for writing up an assignment. Here are a few tricks to help you put together your assignments in Microsoft Word; the research and writing is all yours though.
Making a cover page:
College assignments frequently require a cover page that lists things like your name, student ID, date of submission, and the title of the assignment.
The easiest way to create a cover page is to type out the required headings one line after the other. Then bump up the font size and insert a few lines of space to make it look good. You can either centre these headings using the dedicated shortcut on the Home tab, or play around with margins using the indents.
Alternatively, clicking the Insert tab and selecting Cover Page presents you with some defaults that you could tweak as required.
Microsoft has a useful video that outlines how to create a cover page and how to ensure that there’s a blank page immediately after.
Adding headers and footers:
Why might you need a header or footer? Well, headers can be used for items such as your name or ID number, while the most common usage of footers is to include page numbers. It’s very easy to do. To add a header, double click in the blank space on a page above where you can type.
For footers, scroll down to the bottom of a page and double click. To add page numbers, simply select the Page Numbers option from the default menu. There are a few advanced tricks that you can make use of as shown in this video.
Whether you’re working in groups, reviewing someone’s work, or simply toying with different ways to phrase something, the track changes tool can be invaluable. This lets you edit a document without making anything permanent. And changes can be accepted or rejected at a later date. These videos provide a comprehensive guide to this powerful tool.
Performing a spell-check:
Never hand up an assignment without spell-checking. To perform a spell-check, click the Review tab and then Spelling & Grammar. If you only want to check a particular segment, highlight the relevant piece of text and follow the same method.
Make sure you review before accepting suggested changes, as Word is not always correct. Once Word has checked your document, you should give it a once over yourself in case you’ve spelt a valid work, but it’s not the right word to use.