Modifying documents

When you open a word processor, the program creates a new blank document for you. You can start writing in it immediately.

Text line breaks

When you are writing in a document and come to the end of a line, the cursor will move to the next line automatically. In this way the program creates a paragraph with text on several lines. This means that you should only press Enter if you want to start a new paragraph or add some empty lines. If you want your text to remain in one paragraph, but want to move to the next line, you can press on the key combination Shift+Enter. The program will then make a manual line break, and will not interpret it as a new paragraph.

Page breaks

Text moves from one page to the next one automatically in word processors. If you want to specify a page break manually, move the cursor to the start of the paragraph you want the next page to start with, and then press Ctrl+Enter. This manual page break may be needed if you want to start a new chapter in your document, for example, and want the heading to be at the top of a new page. Please note that you can also change the settings for page breaks using styles (this will be described more closely in the chapter on styles).

The Find and Replace features

As the number of pages increases, it becomes more difficult to find a certain passage in the text, or it becomes difficult to modify many similar passages. With the Find feature, you can locate a passage easily, and with the Replace feature, you can make as many corrections as you wish in one fell swoop!

Using the Find feature

  • In Microsoft Office, you can access a simple Find function on the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  • A more advanced search function can be accessed by clicking the triangular button next to the text and then clicking Advanced Find.
  • In most other word processors, the Find feature can be found in the Edit menu.

Type the word or bit of text you wish to find in the provided space and click Find next to search for the next instance of it.

Using the Replace feature

  • If you want to replace a word or character string in a document in Word, select the Replace function on the Home tab.
  • In other word processors, the feature is started from the Edit menu.

Type the original word(s) and the replacing word(s) in their respective boxes. When you click on Replace, the program will find the first of the words and replace it/them. if you click on Replace all, it will find and replace all the search words in the document.


Word count of a document

Sometimes, it may be necessary to check the number of characters or words in a document you are working on. You may need this information, for instance, to keep the text within the limits of a maximum length given for the assignment.

The word count of the document is shown in the blue bar in the bottom of the Word program. By clicking on it, you will see the following window which also lists the word count and other specifics.